• Current Scottish Golf Support Limited structure to be looked at
• Stirling Uni to review performances on men's and ladies' tours
Less than a week after Scottish golfers failed to secure playing rights for the 2016 European Tour through Q-School, Scottish Golf has announced a comprehensive review of how it helps players progress into the professional ranks.
The organisation’s Performance Manager Steve Paulding has announced that it will be taking a close look at its current ‘am to pro’ programme - Scottish Golf Support Limited (SGSL) - whilst the newly-amalgamated body has also commissioned the University of Stirling to undertake a major independent review of Scottish performances on the European Tour and Ladies European Tour.
Paulding said that these measures were being taken in acknowledgment of ‘the challenge in helping players make the transition to into successful tour professionals’.
“It’s tougher than ever for players to reach the top of the professional game, given the rising standards and the competition we face from an increasing number of countries,” explained Paulding.
"We are working hard to instil an improved attitude, work ethic and performance level into our amateur players" - Steve Paulding
“Our amateur players are being given fantastic support and gaining exposure to competitive golf all over the world on different types of courses, including South Africa, the United States, the UAE and the European circuit, which we hope will pay dividends for the current crop of players coming through, but that is just one component.
“We are working hard to instil an improved attitude, work ethic and performance level into our amateur players to ensure they realise what is required, backed up by evidence of the numbers they need to achieve, to give themselves the best chance of success.”
Recommendations from the review of Scottish Golf Support Limited will be presented to the SGSL Board in January, with Paulding noting that the lack of success from the male golfers who have received support from it is particularly worrying.
“There has been some success with the women’s game with the likes of Kylie Walker, Pamela Pretswell and Sally Watson (pictured), but this has not translated yet into the men’s professional game on a consistent basis,” he said.
I’ve always been completely bemused why Scottish Golf has hosted its premier amateur events on golf courses that players will never play when they make the transition to the pro game. I’ve seen the Scottish Boys played in a blizzard on a tiny links on the coast, where players are freezing cold. The last winner of the Scottish Boys to go on to taste success on the European Tour was Andrew Coltart – so it’s safe to say the current arrangement doesn’t work. The vast majority of the 72-holers on the schedule are on small links. It never surprises me that our players struggle. Tour courses stretch well over 7,000 yards every week, so it’s time we gave our players a taste of what to expect. I also think Scottish Golf has lost out hugely by letting Kevin Craggs walk away from the set-up. He has proven his worth as a coach to players on tour for years so for him to have no involvement at all in the coaching of our young players is disappointing.
Bryce Ritchie, bunkered editor
The University of Stirling review, meanwhile, will include input from the likes of Catriona Matthew, Paul Lawrie, Richie Ramsay and Scott Jamieson, as well as former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart.
This year, eight Scottish golfers made it through to the six-round European Tour Qualifying School final. Of those, three made the cut after four rounds but none were able to secure one of the 25 cards on offer.
On the Challenge Tour, meantime, only two players – Andrew McArthur and Jamie McLeary – finished in the top 15 of the money list to graduate to the main tour for next season.
Once again next season, Scott Jamieson, who turns 32 this Saturday, will be the youngest full card-holding Scottish member of the European Tour.
Scottish Golf :: Why aren't we making more young tour pros?
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