Walk into the Affordable Golf shop in East Kilbride in late April and chances are you’ll get custom fitted for a new set of clubs by a Tartan Tour legend.
That’s because the Scottish retailer – one of the fastest growing golf retailers in the UK – has snapped up former Scottish PGA champ Colin Gillies as a custom fitter at its East Kilbride branch.
Gillies, now 54, has won more money than any other player in Tartan Tour history - £513,747 to be exact – and estimates he’s played in more than 1,300 pro-ams through the years. Having retired ‘officially’ in 2012, he did have one eye on the Seniors Tour, only to find out that he’d “been away too long” and that the body wasn’t quite able.
Amazingly, he’s hasn’t played a round of golf in six years. A job in Germany fell through at the last minute a couple of years ago and he enjoyed a spell as a Tournament Controller with PGA in Scotland recently. Having previously worked with leading golf brands such as Callaway and TaylorMade, he says the custom fit role is right up his street.
“I don’t own a set of clubs but that will all change next week, but I wouldn't get too excited about a comeback,” Gillies tells bunkered.co.uk. “When the Scottish Government made the announcement that things were opening up, a lot of jobs popped up in the golf industry. I sent Mark (Taylor, owner and Director of Affordable Golf) an email and that was that.”
With his background in the game and unparalleled knowledge, Gillies said he verges on being rather geeky when it comes to golf gear.
“When I worked for Callaway and TaylorMade, I got really into it,” he says. “So much so that you wouldn’t want to sit next to me on a long-haul flight. It has always been fascinating to me, the changes you can make to help people at any level. When Mark and I got talking, I knew it was the job for me.”
Gillies says the advancement in golf club technology is incredible and he’s lucky that he’s witnessed both sides of the technology .
“The first Open I played in was back in 1989 with steel shafts and persimmon woods. You played with your balata golf ball and after a few holes it wasn’t round anymore. The ball and the driver now, I mean, it’s a different world.”
The Falkirk man says he’s hugely impressed by the Affordable Golf and says he can’t wait to get going.
“I had a good chat with Mark and I was more than impressed with what they’ve got going on. I was probably a wee bit naïve as to how big they have become. Although the pandemic has been bad for everybody, they’ve ridden the storm pretty well thanks to their online business. It’s exciting to see things open up on April 26 and that should be my first day.”
He added: “The hours are very social, which surprised me. I finish at 6pm at night so it will be great to come home and get my tea, which is unusual for me.”
Mark Taylor, the owner and Director of Affordable Golf, said that Gillies was the perfect candidate for the job and that customers to the East Kilbride store were in for a treat.
“Colin was the absolute standout candidate for the role. He’s played at a high level and coached at a high level and has wonderful insight and knowledge into the equipment world, which he will be able to bring to the role. Having worked on gear with tour players and ordinary golfers alike, we’re thrilled to be able to bring him into the Affordable Golf family as we look to bring yet more professional service to our growing customer base.”