Pro Quartet to Benefit from Funding with Coltart and Cowen Joining Support Programme
Scottish Golf Support Limited (SGSL), the group set up to help the country’s young professionals fulfil their potential, has announced its four beneficiaries for the 2012 season as Challenge Tour trio Gavin Dear, Scott Henry and Callum Macaulay and Ladies European Tour player Kylie Walker.
Bolstering the support programme for the players, former Ryder Cup star Andrew Coltart has been enlisted to work in a mentoring role for SGSL, while highly-respected coach Pete Cowen will also be engaged to overview the players’ technical coaching support.
Launched in 2010, SGSL was given a £1 million fund set aside for at least five years to assist Scotland’s most promising young professionals in the transition from leading amateurs to success in the paid ranks, with representation from sportscotland, the Scottish Golf Union (SGU), Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association (SLGA) and the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA).
Dear, Macaulay and Walker are all receiving support for the second successive year while Henry, the newly-crowned winner of the Optical Express PGA Tour event at Spey Valley, is a recipient for the first time. The 25-year-old, who enjoyed a successful season on the Alps Tour in 2011 resulting in promotion to the Challenge Tour, will be aiming to realise the potential displayed in a fine amateur career which saw him win the Scottish Stroke Play Championship six years ago.
Each player will receive around £23,000 in tailored support this season and have access to some of the best coaching and sports science available, in addition to the input from Coltart and Cowen, who coaches a number of leading tour players. The Yorkshireman has helped guide the likes of Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen to Major Championship success and Lee Westwood to No 1 in the world.
The support programme can be used for warm weather training costs, competition expenses, coaching and other specialist support provision, based on each individual’s requirements. In return, the players will support the SGU, SLGA and ClubGolf activities, such as squad sessions and junior golf clinics.
Coltart, who was also recently appointed to the SGU’s Performance Committee, will focus on the development of the three male golfers, while Walker will continue to receive mentoring from Scotland’s leading female professional Catriona Matthew, present at Archerfield Links last week for the Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open.
Walker made the biggest impact of those players supported in 2011, posting three top-10 finishes on the Ladies European Tour with a season-best tie for fourth at the Prague Masters.
The four golfers each meet the minimum requirements of having full playing rights on the European Challenge Tour or Ladies European Tour and being in the early stages of playing professional golf.
In addition, the programme has also supported three of last year’s leading amateur talents in Scotland – James Byrne, David Law and Michael Stewart – with their Qualifying Tour School costs. While the players did not gain minimum tour playing rights, the trio have been offered ongoing support from the sportscotland institute of sport during their first year as professional golfers.
Speaking at last week’s Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open, where she finished fifth in 2011 and tied 10th this year, Walker said: “I’m delighted to be receiving this support once again, having made such a difference over the past year or so.
“I can certainly attribute much of the progress I made last year to the funding and support programme, allowing me to fully focus on developing my game and having the team behind me that I had as a leading amateur.”
Graeme Simmers, Chairman of Scottish Golf Support Limited, said: “We hope the financial and supportive boost that the four players will receive through the programme can help them make great strides as young professionals on tour.
“I’m sure the players will also benefit greatly from having Andrew Coltart and Pete Cowen on board, both of who are hugely respected in their fields of expertise and who will also help us shape the programme going forward.”
Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland, added: “At sportscotland, our aim is to develop and support a world-class sporting system at all levels and this programme is a great example of that system in action.
“Supporting these talented players at such an important stage in their career will hopefully lead to more success for Scottish golfers on the world stage and encourage more young people to take up golf.”