A PARTNERSHIP between ferry operator CalMac and a local golf club will go a fair way to helping 1,000 Inverclyde youngsters take up the sport.

The company is on board with Gourock Golf Club to sponsor its new 'Removing Barriers' programme aimed at primary school children.

The idea is to get more young people playing the sport by easing any financial burden preventing them from doing so.

Club development coach Andy Newman, with support from Inverclyde Active Schools and Gourock professional Derek Watters, plan to take golf to 1,000 boys and girls across the district this year promoting the benefits of the sport to a new generation of players.

It is the latest ambitious move by officials at the Cowal View course, which includes an indoor training studio, to boost participation in golf.

Allan Warwick, club general manager, said: "CalMac are generous in their support of our whole programme of introducing young people to golf. "By sponsoring this project, the company is helping us remove barriers and helping children of all age groups, particularly primary school age, to take up golf and enjoy the health, learning and other spin-off benefits of that. "They've given us a target to engage with 1,000 children during 2019 and with the help of club professional Derek Watters, development officer Andy Newman and Active Schools, we believe we can achieve that. "Andy, in particular, has been out in many schools already and will be central to driving that forward."

Children from Gourock, Moorfoot and St Ninian's primaries helped celebrate the official launch of the project on Monday.

Brian Fulton, director of community and stakeholder engagement at CalMac, said: "With our HQ in Gourock and roots in Inverclyde stretching back nearly 130 years, we know Gourock Golf Club well and we are pleased to be promoting sport and physical activity among children and young people in this forward-thinking manner."

The initiative is one of many being pioneered by the club to boost participation in the sport across Inverclyde.

Development coach Andy said: "Since October, we've been out to every P4-7 pupil in Gourock promoting golf in school during five-week blocks, which includes a visit to the club at the end.

"Along with our various camps, after school clubs and the new girls club on a Sunday, we've worked with around 750 young people. "This week we're starting in Wemyss Bay, Inverkip and St Andrew's primaries.

"It's going great."