PGA professionals in Scotland aged 45 and over are to benefit from the launch of a brand new Senior Tartan Tour.
Comprising at least six tournaments in its inaugural season, the circuit will be run by the PGA in Scotland, which already controls the regular Tartan Tour and which, this year, took charge of the Ladies Tartan Tour.
It will visit some of the country’s finest venues, including Marriott Dalmahoy, Glasgow Gailes and Kilmarnock (Barassie), and will be open to any of the country’s band of PGA professionals in the 45-plus age group.
Perhaps most significantly, the tour will help to raise the profile of the Bernard Gallacher Defibrillator Campaign, recently launched by the former Ryder Cup captain after his near-death experience last year. As part of the agreement, each of the Senior Tartan Tour’s host clubs will receive a defibrillator, worth an estimated £1,000.
“This is a really exciting new development for us and it has happened quite quickly, coming together over the past few weeks,” said PGA in Scotland secretary Brian Mair, who, with Gallacher, is set to meet First Minister Alex Salmond in Edinburgh later in the week.
“The Senior Tartan Tour is all about friendly spirited competition and has been very well received by everyone that we’ve spoken to. It’s giving us the opportunity to contribute to Bernard’s campaign, as well as give competitive playing opportunities to our more senior members. I’m sure it will be successful.”
Of the estimated 700 professionals in Scotland, roughly 150 are aged 45 or over.
"Forty-five is a great age for Senior Tartan Tour participants" - Stephen McAllister
“By opening it up to players aged 45 and up that allowed us to include maybe another 20 or 30 people who we felt were important,” added Mair.
Two-time European Tour winner Stephen McAllister welcomed the announcement of the new Senior Tartan Tour.
“I think this is great,” said the 52-year-old former Scottish Masters champion. "It plugs what is a bit of a gap for players who are around 45. There are a lot of guys out there just now who are in that age group but who really don’t have anywhere to play.
“I remember speaking a couple of years ago to Paul Broadhurst, who was in a similar boat on the European Tour. He was approaching 50 and eligibility for the European Seniors Tour but wasn’t quite there yet.
He was trying to keep playing but wasn’t getting into events on the main tour and didn’t want to go to the EuroPro Tour or Challenge Tour because that’s a different kind of game. He had some things to keep him ticking over but it was competitive golf that he wanted rather than just golf and I know there are other guys in a similar position. So, it’s great that Brian and the PGA in Scotland have been able to do this. “
Citing Colin Gillies (48 in August) and Scott Henderson (45 in September) as players who might benefit from the Senior Tartan Tour, McAllister added: “I would guess that they’ll be delighted by this announcement, too. I’ve played in a couple of things in Portugal recently and the lower age limit was 48, which was good, and they attracted Ronan Rafferty to play. But 45 is great, it’s a nice figure.”
2014 Senior Tartan Tour schedule
May TBC: Fourball, Falkirk Tryst
June 23: Fourball, Buchanan Castle
July 22: Stableford, Arbroath GC
Sept 9-10: Scottish Seniors Strokeplay, Marriott Dalmahoy GC
August TBC: Strokeplay, Glasgow Gailes
October 6: Stableford, Kilmarnock Barassie
The 2014 Senior Tartan Tour schedule: sponsorship opportuntities
Companies interested in sponsoring any of the events on the 2014 Senior Tartan Tour schedule should contact Brian Mair by email: firstname.lastname@example.org