Macaulay, Dear, Caithness and Walker receive Scottish Golf Support funding
It has been announced that four of Scotland's most promising young professional golfers - Callum Macaulay, Krystle Caithness, Gavin Dear and Kylie Walker - will be the first recipients to benefit from a share of a £1m funding package to be invested over the next five years.
Each player will receive around £25,000 in tailored support from Scottish Golf Support Limited, the group established last year and harnessing the combined expertise of sportscotland, the Scottish Golf Union, Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association and the Professional Golfers' Association.
The funding comes as part of a wider investement in Scottish golf from sportscotland. In 2010 the organisation distributed over £1m through the SGU and SLGA to advance the development of the sport nationawide.
In the men's professional game Scotland currently has only two players within the world's top-100 - Stephen Gallacher and Martin Laird. What's more, Laird's talents were principally nurtured through the college system in the United States, apart from the Scottish pro golf arena.
Though Scottish women's professional golf is currently enjoying better health, it is still incredibly difficult for aspiring professionals to meet expenses in their early years on the less lucrative Ladies European Tour.
Graeme Simmers, chairman of Scottish Golf Limited welcomed the boost that Scottish professional golf, and the four recipients in particular, will receive through the new programme:
"I am delighted to announce our support of Krystle, Kylie, Callum and Gavin, all of whom have fantastic potential to become leading players on their respective professional tours."
He added: "They have already demonstrated their capability and with the additional support will be well equipped to fulfil their ambitions."
In return for financial support, each of the players will contribute their time and expertise at Clubgolf and National Junior Golf Programme events. When, as is hoped, each of the quadruple begins to earn winnings above a certain threshold they will be contractually obliged to incrementally pay back their entire support grants.
The four golfers each meet the minimum requirements of having full playing rights on the European Challenge Tour or Ladies European Tour and having been professional for two full seasons or less.
Callum Macaulay, currently 14th on the Challenge Tour, was delighted with his selection.
"It's fantastic to be one of the first players to receive support from the new programme and hopefully I can repay the Scottish golfing public with some good performances and regain my European Tour card," said the Tulliallan golfer.
"I've already benefitted from being with the Scotland Men's Elite Squad out in South Africa and it's also good to put something back into the game by helping the younger players coming through with the advice I was able to give them."
Sports minister Shona Robison said: "Golf is a big part of Scotland's culture, identity and economy and we are committed to developing and supporting fresh young talent.
"These talented young people are an inspiration to others and this extra support will hopefully see them excel even more. I am proud that we have such dedicated young players flying the flag for the home of golf.
"Our national coaches have enjoyed tremendous success of late and our work to introduce golf to every child through clubgolf has produced some fantastic results. With the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland, encouraging our youngsters to participate in the sport will hopefully see more talented young Scots hitting the professional circuit."
The move to proactively support young Scottish talent through the difficult transition into the professional ranks was welcomed by both the European Tour and Ladies' European Tour.
George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour said: "The European Tour support all initiatives designed to further develop the game by encouraging the emergence of young talent, and we look forward to watching the progress of all young players in Scotland."
Ladies European Tour executive director, Alexandra Armas, commented: "By offering the players funding and services, they are giving the players the opportunity to realise their full potential, enabling participation and encouraging sporting excellence in the international arena."