Laird and Coltart Provide Home Internationals Boost
Martin Laird, Scotland’s second-highest ranked golfer, and former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart recently gave the nation’s leading amateur golfers the perfect fillip ahead of this week’s Home Internationals with valuable tips from the top.
Glaswegian Laird, the former Scottish Youths champion who is now based in America, took time out from his hectic schedule to give verbal and practical help to 16 male amateurs who assembled at the St Andrews Links Golf Academy.
Further illustrating the growing partnership between Scotland’s leading professionals and the Scottish Golf Union, Laird and Coltart offered expert guidance across a number of topics, notably the short game, and illustrated what is required to thrive in the professional ranks.
As well as two-time European Tour winner and Dunhill Cup hero Coltart drawing on his wealth of experience, Laird was able to provide an insight into living and working in America.
It was a hugely beneficial day for all the players who gathered, notably for those in the Scotland team chasing Home Internationals success for the first time since 2006 at Gailes Links from Wednesday to Friday.
Laird, who posted a final round 68 to share 42nd place at yesterday’s US PGA Championship, said: “It was good, I’m glad I managed to help out. The Scottish Golf Union helped me out a lot, so it was nice to try and give it back a little bit.
“I remember Paul Lawrie came once to a squad session, just after he had won The Open (in 1999). I remember speaking to him and he answered questions and hit balls. It was really good and, watching him play, I remember thinking ‘that’s where I want to be’.”
Coltart, now on the SGU’s Performance Committee, gave a morning presentation on turning pro and the game required to compete on tour before a practical session on the putting green. A clinic and Q&A with Laird, ranked 39th in the world, then followed.
The Hilton Park honorary member, a two-time winner on the US Tour circuit, added: “I tried to say to the guys, ‘if I could turn back the clock what I would work on more when I was an amateur like you.’
“Looking back, the importance of the short game is something I remember. It’s something you have to work on it so much as it’s just so important for your game. When you get to the top level, you realise that’s really what it’s all about.
“Everyone hits it pretty good and it’s the guys that have got the really good short games that compete every week. As much as it’s nice to hit it good and drive it perfect, it’s not really what it’s all about. You probably have to experience that before you believe it, but hopefully the guys realise that from listening to me.
“I also took questions about playing golf and living in America. I then hit some balls, talked to the lads about my warm-up and the process I go through. Hopefully between Andrew and myself they picked up a few things that might help them.”
Ian Rae, National Coach, said: “With Martin based in America, it was great to get his perspective and good to have the experience of Andrew too.
“The whole day was absolutely fantastic and it really couldn’t have gone any better. All the guys had questions for Martin and Andrew and I’m sure they will really benefit.”
Laird, meanwhile, seems certain to have to rely on a Ryder Cup wildcard from captain Jose Maria Olazabal if he is to make his debut at Medinah next month.
The Scot, who is 22nd on the Ryder Cup World Points List, was in contention at Kiawah Island over the weekend only for a third round 79 to damage his hopes, as Rory McIlroy claimed his second Major title with an emphatic eight-shot win.
“The Ryder Cup has been a goal of mine this year,” said Laird. “If I don’t make the team on points, hopefully I can get a pick.”