Stephen Gallacher Feature: A Helping Hand to Scottish Golf
Stephen Gallacher has spoken of his pride at helping boost Scottish Golf across a number of levels – and hopes to soon be celebrating his own, personal success on the European Tour with another victory.
The 37-year-old, Scotland's second highest-ranked player in Europe this year, was on hand in Glasgow recently to help unveil the Team Scottish Hydro line-up for 2012.
Scottish Hydro, one of the UK’s leading energy companies, announced their continued support of an initiative which provides financial support and expert advice to a small group of young professionals plying their trade on the European Challenge Tour, and this year benefits two players on the Ladies European Tour.
Three members of last year’s Team Scottish Hydro – Callum Macaulay, Chris Doak and Jamie McLeary - were joined by newcomers Andrew McArthur, the former Scottish Amateur champion, and Jack Doherty. Ladies European Tour duo Kylie Walker and Vikki Laing were also included.
Scottish Hydro also reinforced their commitment to golf at the grassroots level with the announcement they are the Headline Partner of the Stephen Gallacher Foundation.
Gallacher recently launched his Foundation, initially in the Lothians and Borders regions, after being spurred on by the success of the Paul Lawrie Foundation in the north-east. Gallacher’s programme aims to give children of all ages, backgrounds and ability the opportunity to pick up a golf club for the first time through to helping them achieve all they can in the sport.
Scottish Hydro also sponsor the Scottish Hydro Challenge on the European Challenge Tour and are official sponsors of the SGU Boys’ Order of Merit and Junior Tour series.
Linlithgow-based Gallacher, like Lawrie, is working incredibly hard to help nurture Scottish talent in his area and is particularly pleased with Scottish Hydro’s backing.
Speaking exclusively to www.scottishgolf.org, he said: “Scottish Hydro’s involvement from grassroots to the professional level is phenomenal.
“Starting golf at grassroots level gives children the best chance of developing their talent for the game to achieve in later life. I’m getting great support from Scottish Hydro and I’m delighted to help all their work.
“Team Scottish Hydro gives the seven players for 2012 the chance to prepare properly to be successful on tour.
“It’s going to give them a chance to get up the leaderboards and the rankings. Support at Challenge Tour or Ladies European Tour level is when players need it most.
“Scottish Hydro's continued support is a massive boost for Scottish Golf. I take my hat off to them and long may it continue.”
Gallacher's Foundation has Under-10, Under-12, Under-15 and Under-18 categories where everyone is assessed along the way to ensure they are competing and taking part in line with their ability and potential.
The Under-10s and Under-12s play predominantly in ‘Flag Days’, in partnership with ClubGolf, the national junior golf programme. The Under-15s and Under-18s play in Stroke Play.
Despite his fears, Gallacher is already enjoying success. At Gallacher’s first three 'Flag Days,' over 100 children attended at Kingsfield, Swanston and Gullane Golf Clubs, with Stephen’s son, Jack, fittingly claiming victory in the first event.
“I was delighted with that turn out,” he added. “We had 38 kids at the first event at Kingsfield, then 40 and 30. I was nervous about how many would turn up but it’s worked out well so far. The one at Gullane was in partnership with ClubGolf.”
On a personal level, Gallacher is back in European Tour action this week. The former Walker Cup winner competes at the Reale Seguros Open de España in Seville from tomorrow, as he seeks to continue a fine start to the 2012 season.
Gallacher is 14th in the Race to Dubai rankings, with two second-place finishes to his name in Malaysia and Dubai. A second tour win, after claiming the Dunhill Links in 2004, may not be far around the corner.
Indeed, Gallacher is one of six Scots in the coveted top 60 of the Race to Dubai standings – Lawrie, Richie Ramsay, Martin Laird, Scott Jamieson and David Drysdale the others – as Scottish Golf at the highest level enjoys a renaissance.
Gallacher (88), Laird (37) and Lawrie (43), Ramsay (89) are also inside the top 100 in the official world rankings, the first time a quartet of Scots have been there since 2004.
"I’m just doing what I was trying to do this season, just to get better and better. I will hopefully win soon, that is the goal,” said Gallacher, who enjoyed a stellar amateur career, which featured victories in the Scottish Amateur and Lytham Trophy.
“If I can get into the world’s top 50 then you get the chance to play in all the big events which would obviously be of benefit to me.
"Scottish Golf is doing well just now and let's hope we can all keep it going."