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Centre for Excellence for Pitlochry Golf Course
March 13, 2012

Pitlochry Golf Course is being tipped to produce international players after sportscotland investment allowed it to press the green light on a major development.

Plans to create a new £200 000 Centre for Excellence at the scenic course were dependent on support from the national sporting agency.

Directors have now received confirmation of assistance from sportscotland.

And work will get underway this Autumn on a 7-bay covered driving range and short-game practice area, which will give it the best facilities in Highland Perthshire.

Pitlochry Golf Course has produced Ryder Cup star John Panton and Walker Cup player, Cecil Bloice in the past.

With these two elements of a major plan now in place, officials believe it is only a matter of time before the club is producing new stars of tomorrow.

"Pitlochry has always produced very good young players. Cecil Bloice, for example, went on to play Walker Cup and successive committees deserve credit for emphasizing youth," said Club Captain Jeff Carter, a respected individual within golf.

"With what is happening here now, though, with all the development, I have every confidence we will produce more Walker Cup players.

"Having good short game practice areas is vital for developing players but most clubs can't provide this. This will bring people here because there is nothing similar within striking distance."

Club Directors hope this element of the blueprint will be operational by Spring 2013.

A further nine hole course is planned at the club, which is undergoing the biggest improvement in its history.

Currently, youngsters are taught three nights a week at the club and the successful junior membership amounts to almost 20 per cent of the town's youth.

However, young players have traditionally had to travel to Perth or Gleneagles to get specialist practice facilities.

And officials believe that standards and levels of participation can only rise now in the whole of Highland Perthshire.

"We have some real young ones here and, in winter, they cannot practice. With covered bays it won't be a problem. They will soon see the benefits," said Junior Convenor, Bert MacKay.

Pitlochry Golf Limited Director Stephen Carruthers reckons the area and golf, as a sport, will see a major benefit.

"This is a partnership in promoting youth golf between the operator, Pitlochry Golf Limited, and Pitlochry Golf Club.

"In an area like this, lack of facilities means kids don't get as many opportunities as those in larger population centres so this is a great opportunity on their doorstep.

"We aim to be the hub of golf in the area so people from the outlying towns will be able to come here and go back to their own member clubs and improve the junior sections there.

"The game in the whole area will get a lift and we are delighted with the support from sportscotland."

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: "We are delighted to be providing Pitlochry Golf Course with money from our Sports Facilities Fund to help develop this excellent new facility.

"At sportscotland, we are committed to working with our partners to put in place a world-class sporting infrastructure to help Scotland's athletes and participants of all ages and abilities, and this project will especially help the development of young golfers in the Highland Perthshire area."


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