With golf now an Olympic sport, set to make its debut in 2016, the game is experiencing phenomenal growth in emerging markets particularly amongst the young, so where better than the home of golf, St Andrews, to act as a key destination for European and international youngsters to hone their skills. Emerging World’s St Andrews Youth Golf Camp offers young golfers this opportunity to learn, play and compete at the game’s historical birthplace.
In 2009 the International Olympics Committee (IOC) included golf as an Olympic sport in the 2016 games for the first time in over 100 years: “It was an historic moment when the IOC decided to include golf in the Olympics for the first time since 1904. Europe is amazed at the rate at which the game has grown in emerging golf markers such as Asia,” said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of the R&A. “There is a need to stimulate this growth, whilst ensuring the historic and traditional values are not lost as a result of this growth.”
Initiatives such as the Emerging World Youth Golf Tour’s “St Andrews Youth Golf Camp” could help bring Dawson’s vision to life.
Emerging World gathers prospective elite amateur and professional players of the future to help foster their interest in golf and improve them as players. The organisation aims to provide a comprehensive golfing education for international junior golfers over its two-week residential programme.
Widely recognised as the home of golf, St. Andrews offers the perfect training ground for up-and-coming talent from all over the world: “St. Andrews is the cradle of golf making it the ideal place for young international golfing talent to experience ‘a golf finishing school’” said Ken Schofield, PGAs of Europe Director and co-founder Director of the Tour.
The St Andrews Youth Golf Camp launched in 2012 with former European Tour Chief Executive, Ken Schofield, and ex-PGA captain, Alan Walker, supervising plans for the programme of events, which aims to educate and inspire budding young golfers aged 11-18. The programme content, driven by Alan Walker, focuses on the history and traditions; rules and etiquette; and technical and mental aspects of the game; with elite attendees receiving tuition from Simon Holmes, former coach to Nick Faldo; and the 2006 European Ryder Cup team’s psychological performance coach, Jamil Qureshi. Groups are split into Elite, Silver and Gold based on handicap, and all juniors benefit from the St. Andrews Links Golf Academy’s expert team of PGA professionals who use advanced technology and analysis to help them understand their swing, biomechanics and putting.
In addition, they tackle several of the Links Trust’s renowned courses as well as playing and staying at the five-star Fairmont St Andrews resort or the St Leonards boarding school. The juniors learn the specialty of Links golf and undergo a number of skills challenges and competitions at the St Andrews Links Golf Academy.
Other highlights of the programme include a tour of the R&A clubhouse – for both boys and girls; visiting the British Golf Museum; a session at the R&A’s equipment test centre; playing on the Himalayas putting course; and a final-night awards dinner in the Swilcan Restaurant, overlooking the Old Course and Eden Course.
The inaugural event in 2012 saw juniors travel from as far afield as Eastern Europe, South America Asia and the Middle East to the historical home of golf, giving them an excellent opportunity to further their education and passion for the game.
In 2013 the organisation’s main focus in on the inclusion of more European juniors in the programmes scheduled for 8-19th July and 29th July-9th August. The first programme coincides with the Open in Muirfield, which some of the youngsters will visit with their families after the camp.
Emerging World is delighted with the support received from the Middle East for their juniors in 2012 and hope this will be replicated in Europe. Golf federations and corporations in the Middle East recognise the need to develop young golfers in the rules, traditions and etiquette of the game. This as well as developing the juniors in qualities such as social and cultural awareness, respect and integrity, underpin the programme at St Andrews.
Find out more about the Emerging World Youth Golf Tour visit the Project page here.