Golf for All
By Rick Valentine, Director of Golf at Loretto School
As professional golfer Rory McIlroy snatched a remarkable victory at the 2014 Open Championship this weekend, Rick Valentine gives us the tee off on Loretto School’s Golf Academy whose alumni he hopes may one day take the same trophy…
Loretto School, just outside Edinburgh, is something of a pioneer. Its Golf Academy is the first of its kind and offers pupils an exceptional opportunity to develop their sporting talent in tandem with a first-class, all-round education.
One of our main focuses is to increase the availability of golf to all the pupils at the school, to really deliver golf for all. This is important, especially with our younger pupils, to introduce them to a sport that they can be participating in for the rest of their lives.
Since opening 12 years ago, the Loretto Golf Academy, has firmly established itself as one of Scotland’s leading centres for golf development. Based at the Loretto School in Musselburgh – Scotland’s oldest boarding school and one of the UK’s leading independent schools – the academy has attracted many talented golfers from Scotland, England, Europe and around the world since it was established. Two notable, fully qualified professional golfers are Emma Fairnie, runner-up in the Titleist PGA Assistant of the Year awards, and Rob Satterley.
Loretto’s Senior School is made up of around 400 boys and girls and about 70% of pupils board. In Easter 2015, all 600 pupils in the Senior and Prep Schools will have the opportunity to play golf, via the new Indoor Centre, which is currently being built.
Comprising an indoor driving range, short game facility to include chipping, pitching and putting, putting analysis, and indoor teaching studio complete with video analysis and Trackman, the new Indoor Centre is a much needed facility in Scotland’s often unforgiving weather conditions. And through its partnerships with local primary and preparatory schools and clubs, every child in the surrounding areas will also be encouraged to try golf.
How does it work? The Golf Academy’s development pathways start at five years old and allows pupils to develop their game as they progress through the School. Working closely with the Scottish Golf Union and in partnership with Championship courses at Craigielaw and Archerfield, the Loretto Golf Academy has ensured that it remains at the cutting edge of schools’ golf. We offer one-to-one tutoring sessions, professional coaching in strength and conditioning using the Golf BioDynamics system, as well as short game and sport psychology.
The goal for many Loretto golfers is to attend an American University when they leave. Prodream USA source, scout, educate and assess all eligible golf candidates and promote them to recruiting US coaches. Loretto has worked closely with ProdreamUSA since 2005 to ensure their players get the best possible advice during this important transition.
Loretto’s ultimate aim? To produce an Open winner, of course!