Sam Locke - Scottish Amateur Champion (& Scottish golf in general)

Grant85

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Given the thread this article may be of interest to a few of you

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/the-troubled-state-of-scottish-golf

Great article.

Club golf was a bit half baked without enough money to do anything more than introduce kids to golf. In reality any kid who showed interest would be reliant on a keen parent or grand parent to spend a bit of time & money taking them to play more.

It's not like football or Rugby where a parent can drop their kid off with a fiver, a pair of boots and a bottle of water and collect them 2 hours later.

Personally I'm not massively bothered about the struggling clubs. Places will find their level and if they don't have enough members, adapt or close. Harsh reality, but we can't be too sentimental... and even with 100 or so closures Scotland would still have plenty of golf courses and facilities. Most of these courses who close will be the ones who have done very little to attract youngsters. Have offered them few playing rights and given members the time of day who moaned about kids on the course or in the club house.

Def don't see the point in Scottish Golf being in charge of elite development. Stick to club administration, have a modest budget and concentrate on that. Completely agree about the performance centres being the main place for developing talent. The problem is funding them. Sure a levy could work, but it would need to see results and for clubs to see activity their members could benefit from.

Sponsorship is really a leap of faith at that level. Give us £10,000 a month and you can be primary sponsor of the next 5 guys we produce who turn pro?

Ideally Paul Lawrie and Stevie G produce a few tour pros who go on to make millions and give a bit back etc. Obviously Lawrie and Gallacher have a few years left in them, and you'd guess if one of them won €1M in Turkey this year a fair chunk of that would go into their foundations. But I assume the main funding for this is from the pro's themselves as well as parents who are paying a chunk of the coaching and all of the equipment.

Meanwhile England has produced Danny Willett and Tyrell Hatton in recent years, from humble beginnings without well off families, who have become top players. Scotland is still some way off a home grown top 100 player.

Perhaps Grant Forrest or Connor Syme, but at 25 and 23 respectively, their trajectories are slow.

At least there is a young chap on his way back to Banchory, staring at a silver medal in the passenger seat of his dads car. So all hope is not lost.
 

Bunkermagnet

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Perhaps it’s time to roll up the national golf unions into a British one?
But then with the nationalistic trend of Scotland I doubt that would be acceptable.
 

Grant85

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Perhaps it’s time to roll up the national golf unions into a British one?
But then with the nationalistic trend of Scotland I doubt that would be acceptable.

I think this is not something likely to happen given the associations have been separate for so long. However it would be interesting to see or know what English and Irish golf do differently because they surely can't have a much bigger budget, or at least capacity for a budget, to do things to a good level.

No doubt that the vast majority of golfers are reliant on parents being well off, but there must also be some funding somewhere to put into the system given the thousands of hours of coaching you imagine that the average 21 or 22 year old gets before turning pro.

You'd imagine that per head of population, Scottish golf should have as much money available for this side of the game as England and Ireland.
 

Bunkermagnet

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You'd imagine that per head of population, Scottish golf should have as much money available for this side of the game as England and Ireland.

I would say that what with the abundance of courses and the little even adults have to pay golf should be flying in Scotland.
Having said that, all sports have cyclical success, and I suspect now is just one of those leaner times for Scottish golf.
 

IanM

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Down here in Wales, the number of players winning on Tour is similar :D According to several sources they tell me that Welsh Golf is very focused on Team Events and the Wales Gof Brand, rather than developing Tour Players... several of our top Juniors have headed to American colleges recently for that very reason...
 

Jacko_G

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I think this is not something likely to happen given the associations have been separate for so long. However it would be interesting to see or know what English and Irish golf do differently because they surely can't have a much bigger budget, or at least capacity for a budget, to do things to a good level.

No doubt that the vast majority of golfers are reliant on parents being well off, but there must also be some funding somewhere to put into the system given the thousands of hours of coaching you imagine that the average 21 or 22 year old gets before turning pro.

You'd imagine that per head of population, Scottish golf should have as much money available for this side of the game as England and Ireland.

I think the issue is that they are not trusted now to spend/use that money wisely after years of mismanagement and carefree spending. The SGU always had the we're bigger than the game attitude when it came to running golf in Scotland, it was their way and basically their ball. They spent millions and blew the lot.

They had professional advice about Drumoig. They were warned it was being built in the wrong geographical location, business experts warned them that they would not see a return on their money. SGU did what they wanted, ploughed ahead and built a huge white elephant. That was after they had already been bailed out once previously.

Normal club golfers who pay their fees see nothing for their yearly subs. Absolutely nowt. There should be incentives, green fee discounts etc. All club golfers see is elite golfers going to Australia, Dubai, South Africa for training, coaches and officials tagging along, fully expensed. Spend, spend, spend. And as has been said what has come of all this spending???? Zero.

It can be argued that Scottish success has come through the American College system, Knox, Laird and Richie Ramsay to an extent. For me throwing money at an already "failing" system is not the answer. Alastair Forsyth (you would now argue was a great success with two European Tour victories) who was a product of the SGU is pretty damning in his views of how golf in Scotland is run.

If Scottish Golf was a private company it would have been out of the game years ago with no return. They can't keep expecting golfers to blindly and faithfully fund a failing organisation. Questions have been asked and the ball is now firmly back with Scottish Golf.
 

DCB

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he played well and can hold his head high. The back 9 on Sunday didn't really reflect how his week had gone. he seemed to have a game plan and he stuck to it. Great that his father was there on his bag as caddy.
 

patricks148

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I think the issue is that they are not trusted now to spend/use that money wisely after years of mismanagement and carefree spending. The SGU always had the we're bigger than the game attitude when it came to running golf in Scotland, it was their way and basically their ball. They spent millions and blew the lot.

They had professional advice about Drumoig. They were warned it was being built in the wrong geographical location, business experts warned them that they would not see a return on their money. SGU did what they wanted, ploughed ahead and built a huge white elephant. That was after they had already been bailed out once previously.

Normal club golfers who pay their fees see nothing for their yearly subs. Absolutely nowt. There should be incentives, green fee discounts etc. All club golfers see is elite golfers going to Australia, Dubai, South Africa for training, coaches and officials tagging along, fully expensed. Spend, spend, spend. And as has been said what has come of all this spending???? Zero.

It can be argued that Scottish success has come through the American College system, Knox, Laird and Richie Ramsay to an extent. For me throwing money at an already "failing" system is not the answer. Alastair Forsyth (you would now argue was a great success with two European Tour victories) who was a product of the SGU is pretty damning in his views of how golf in Scotland is run.

If Scottish Golf was a private company it would have been out of the game years ago with no return. They can't keep expecting golfers to blindly and faithfully fund a failing organisation. Questions have been asked and the ball is now firmly back with Scottish Golf.

can't disagree with any of this Jacko.

Id be interested in what these other countries esp Ireland do different to SGU. they did highlight in the last report i saw that they were looking at how other unions operated.
 

Doon frae Troon

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What is holding them back from making changes to the system?

Tanks on Lawns at all levels.

I worked with the EGU in the mid 1990's on junior golf development and the introduction of EGU Starter Centres.
The centres worked well and quickly showed positive results.

The propriety clubs were quick to recognise the commercial value in having Starter Centre status and joined up with great gusto.
Members clubs who applied for Starter centre status soon found out that many had to make considerable changes to their attitudes, coaching/playing structure and practice facilities.
Some did [bless them] others took the huff.

I also met a couple of times with the SGU in the early 2000's and suggested they follow England's example.
That did not go down well. They seemed to think that they already had a robust system [thank you]. I told them they did not and that was the end of my involvement.
30 years on I do not see any positive change and notice that Scotland finished 15th out of 16th in the junior European championship
 

MadAdey

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Not sure what is done in the UK with regards to kids playing golf in school, but that is where it should start. Over here kids will play in their school golf team, that starts in middle school. What happens is a local course will normally give the kids heavily discounted golf so they can play a ton of golf when they are not at school and they also get access to golfing clinics, where they can get coaching. On top of that there is normally the odd parent that helps out with the golf team that is a scratch golfer to help put the kids on the right track. After that they then go onto college to carry on playing, where they will have PGA qualified coaches with them all the time.

It is no shock that a majority of the players at the top of the leaderboards at the majors are from the US. Look at the Open and go down to tied 12th. 10 of the 16 players there are from the US. It always feels to me that in the UK you are pretty much left to sort out your golf career yourself with no help.
 
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