Scottish hosts with the most: Aberdeen Asset Management
After last year’s washed out Scottish Open, Barclays ended its sponsorship of the event, and Aberdeen Asset Management stepped in, in concert with the Scottish government. So this year, here I am at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness.
One of the conditions of the new sponsorship deal was that there would be a series of events before and during the tournament that would spread the ClubGolf message.
What’s “ClubGolf” you ask?
Yesterday, I had the distinct honor of lunching next to First Minister Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, who was proud indeed of the work that ClubGolf has done.
“Scotland is The Home of Golf,” said Mr. Salmond, “but we also want to be the future of golf.”
He went on to explain that the goal of the ClubGolf initiative is to “put a golf club in the hands of every 9-year-old in Scotland.”
The success of the program so far has been admirable. As of last year, 86 percent of kids in Scotland had been introduced to the game (if they hadn’t been already).
“Golf has always been more of a working-man’s game in Scotland,” said Mr. Salmond. “Due to the great number of courses we have here.” Still, it’s difficult to get disadvantaged children into the game, because of the expense of equipment, greens fees, and access to clubs.
Hence, ClubGolf, where the children are made to feel like club members themselves.
Some remarkable in-roads have been made along these lines. At North Berwick, for example, one of the most prestigious clubs in the world, there’s a par-3 course adjacent to the championship course. However, no adult is allowed on that par-3 unless invited by a child.
“The fairways at North Berwick are teeming with children,” said Mr. Salmond with a broad smile.
So, back to The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. Throughout the tournament, the fairways have been lined with kids from the ClubGolf program, and more than a few Scottish National Junior Team players (some of whom have now turned pro, and many of whom have been helped along the way by sponsorships from Aberdeen Asset Management), who are here to work with the kids in mini-clinics.
It seems Aberdeen Asset Management isn’t only concerned with the growth of global assets. They are also heavily invested in the growth of golf.
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