On the 7th February a group of young East Lothian Golfers representing the East Lothian Junior Golf League and “Scotland’s Golf Coast” are on their way to Pinehurst during the School Holidays to compete against the best Junior Golfers in North Carolina at the world famous Pinehurst Golf resort, site of several previous US Mens and Ladies Open Championships, and a Ryder Cup.
The Team of 10 Boys and 4 Girls, were invited to make this trip based on their participation and performance in the East Lothian Junior Golf League during 2018. During their 11 day visit to Pinehurst they will stay, part of the time, in the 5 star Carolina Hotel, just a short distance from the Clubhouse which serves 5 of the Pinehurst courses. And they can play up to 10 rounds of golf in total, all on superb courses at heavily discounted prices, together with other visits to the wonderful practice facilities and short courses.
These events are individual scratch 36 hole events, based on age groups, and our youngest player will be 13 and the oldest will be 17. The first weekend of the Winternational involves 2 rounds over the newly refurbished Pinehurst#4 and on the following weekend, the Players will tackle Pinehurst#1 and #2, the venue for the Mens US Open in 2024, in their second Winternational. They will have had practice rounds over the #1 and #4 courses.
In the week between these events the Boys have a 10-a-side Match against Pinecrest High School over #4, competing for the Duncan McLean Quaich, a trophy donated in the memory of a Gullane golfer who died in 2016 aged just 20. The 4 Girls will receive courtesy over Longleaf GC, owned by the US Kids Golf organisation, part sponsors of our League. Whilst there, the Girls will also receive some free coaching on “Trackman.”
In between the two weekends, the whole squad will play over two other Donald Ross designed courses at Mid Pines and Pine Needles, the latter being the site of 3 previous US Womens Opens and this venue will again host that event in 2022. The whole group have also been invited to play at the Duke University course in Raleigh Durham and some will then have a tour of the wonderful University Campus.
The whole trip should be a memorable experience for these young Players and it would not have been possible without financial support from all the parents involved, from the volunteers leading the group, and from various sponsors, so we owe them all a big thanks, particularly to East Lothian Council, “Scotland’s Golf Coast” Paul Salmon of PSL Flooring, for the funds to kit out the Players ands Leaders with Team shirts and tops, with the sourcing ably carried out by Martyn Huish Golf Professional at North Berwick. We would also like to thank all the organisers and friends in the Pinehurst area who are providing facilities and hospitality to the whole Team during their stay.
A Team lunch was held recently at North Berwick Golf Club at which all the Players and Leaders attended, except Ric Foulner, group leader and Captain of Tantallon Golf Club, and Connor Currie, a Team Member from Kilspindie Golf Club, who were unable to attend.
I hope that all the other young golfers in the County will try to compete for their Clubs in our League events in 2019 and who knows – they may be invited on the next trip in 2020!
Pictured L-R in the Team kit, are the Players and Leaders, together with the new East Lothian County Flag, kindly provided by Provost John McMillan. This flag will be flying at the venues and tourist literature for our “Golf Coast” will be widely distributed.
Back Row Ruaridh Mackenzie, Sam Westwood, Ruth Cookson, Sam Hall, Malachy Hayward, David Halliday, Frances Hall, Dave Warren (League Secretary) Greg Cookson.
Middle Row, Murray Cooper, Joseph Cookson, Euan Canavan, and Finlay Mackenzie.
Front Row, Mollaidh Nicholson, Carys Irvine, Lucy Hall, Lucy Morrison.