STUDENTS at the University of the Highlands and Islands are gaining first-hand experience by taking over the operation of Golspie Golf Club shop. The university has joined forces with the club to enable golf degree students to work in the newly renovated shop throughout the year.
Alan Fleming, programme leader for golf curriculum at North Highland College UHI, set up the new arrangement. He explains: “The pro shop has been brilliantly staffed by owners and volunteers for the past 15 years. When it became vacant at the end of last season, we approached the club with a proposal to cover the running of the shop, incorporating it into our curriculum. We felt this would allow students to apply their learning and develop their skills in a real work environment and would also benefit the club.”
Supported by university staff, the students will be responsible for the day to day running of the shop. They will also have the opportunity to develop new commercial strategies, implement operational changes and make managerial recommendations to the club’s committee.
“We believe this is a unique partnership in the world of golf,” Alan continues. “The level of input and responsibility involved will provide students with excellent learning and development opportunities which will greatly benefit them as progress in the industry. The students will also bring fresh ideas and services to the club, including coaching, club repair, club fitting, junior development and online merchandise ordering.”
Andrew Sutherland, Golspie Golf Club secretary, said: “The partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands and students will enable us to bring to the club many new services including coaching, club repair, club fitting, junior development and online merchandise ordering amongst others.
“As part of their degree courses, they have modules which include marketing and events and, by driving projects within the golf club, they will develop their skills whilst directly benefitting the golf club. This will be of massive benefit to the club with new and exciting events from fresh minds.”
Caitlin Boa (20) from Dornoch is one of the students helping to run the shop. She said: “It’s such a great opportunity to be involved so closely in the running of the shop and other parts of the club. It provides the ideal platform for us to put the industry skills and knowledge we’ve gained in our studies to test, maximising our learning experience and benefitting the club in return.”
The university offers a BA (Hons) in golf management and a BA (Hons) in professional golf at North Highland College UHI’s campus in Dornoch. To find out more about the University of the Highlands and Islands golf programmes, visit www.uhi.ac.uk/golf
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