COUNTY resident Gillian Kirkwood is “thrilled and humbled” to have been named president of the Ladies’ Golf Union (LGU).

Kirkwood, who is vice-captain at Gullane Ladies Golf Club, has taken over from Diane Bailey.

She told Courier Sport she was excited by her new role.

The Gullane resident said: “It is a tremendous honour and I’m really looking forward to the task and the challenge. It’s one of these things you just can’t turn down.

“Part of my remit is to be a figurehead for women’s golf, and to attend national championships and international matches.”

And she hopes to encourage more women to play the game – currently, she said only 14 per cent of golfers in Britain and Ireland were women, with the figure nearer 40 per cent in Europe.

The Erskine Road resident, who has held several positions in women’s golf, including as Scottish Veteran Ladies Golfing Association president, added: “The challenging part is to encourage female participation. Golf is a great game for women, with competition if you want it, but also it has its less competitive side, in that it provides friendship and camaraderie in a very healthy atmosphere. It’s a great way to meet people and get to know them.

“I’d like to encourage family golf, where youngsters can play with parents and grandparents, and learn patience, manners and concentration, as well as having a healthy walk.

“In what other sport can an octogenarian play with a 10-year-old and have a good game?”