The Scottish Golf Academy, the national development programme for Scotland’s talented young golfers, has been restructured to help achieve continued success, with a new coaching team also in place.
Nurturing boys and girls from the age of 12 and upwards, the Academy provides young players with a comprehensive coaching and support programme tailored to the needs of the individual to maximise their opportunity of succeeding at the highest levels of the game.
Supporting around 100 players each year, a number of talented players have progressed through the Academy since its launch in 2005 and current Academy members include Bradley Neil, the reigning Amateur champion, 2013 Boys Amateur winner Ewen Ferguson and Connie Jaffrey, SLGA Girls and Ladies Order of Merit champion.
The full Academy programme has been reviewed over the last three years with small, successful improvements made to maintain the objective of developing Scotland’s future generation of golfing stars using some of the country’s best facilities and PGA-trained coaches.
With the programme now evolving to offer detailed individualised player plans, a new three-tier performance structure has been put in place, allowing players the opportunity to access at entry level and move through the programme. The intention is to prepare a larger number of players to compete as individuals and within teams for Scotland at international level.
“It’s now time to implement our new structure to ensure these improvements can provide the best possible environment for continued success,” says Kevin Cademy-Taylor, Scottish Golf Performance Development Manager. “The change is required to increase support to players in complying to their individual programmes.
“It’s very easy to get carried away with success, but it’s my job to ensure we don’t stand still. While the players are performing, it’s about continuing to do the simple things really well and continuing to improve our processes and systems to ensure everyone gets the opportunity to succeed and achieve their goals.”
Following selection and assessment at Tier 1 for up to two years (typically players aged 13 to 16), players move to Tier 2 (typically players aged 14 to 18) depending on their work ethic, performances, progress and adherence to the programme. Selection into Tier 3 (typically players aged 14 to 20) is based on performances in national competitions or representing Scotland at boys or girls’ level, demonstrating the ability to develop within a high performance programme at Men’s or Ladies’ level.
The new tiered-structure will support players up to the age of 21 therefore absorbing the SGU Boys and Men’s Transitional squads into Tiers 2 and 3 of the Scottish Golf Academy. The national SGU Men’s Performance Squad remains in place.
Tier 3 players based in America will receive the same level of support while home during Christmas and the summer months, with these players also to receive continued support in the US. This also applies to players who are at University or college in the UK.
A new-look coaching set up is to work within the Academy programme to support player development. Previously, six Academy Performance Coaches and four National Performance Coaches held roles.
While National Coach Ian Rae will continue to oversee the full programme from Academy to Men’s Squad level and provide support, five Academy Performance Coaches and five Regional Performance Coaches are now in place following an open recruitment process advertised through the SGU, SLGA and The PGA.
Colin Brooks, James Erskine, Stuart Syme and David Torrance remain as Academy Coaches, joined by David Orr. Former Academy coach George Boswell is now a Regional Performance Coach, along with Kevin Hale, Kevin Craggs, Ian Muir and David Patrick.
Further explaining the new Scottish Golf Academy set up, Cademy-Taylor added: “While some players have had success, educating them on the importance of following their programme, whether that’s been physical, tactical or performance lifestyle, is currently the biggest challenge.
“We are dealing with young players who have a lot going on in their lives. The new coaching team will ensure all players are complying to their plan and support the players to achieve their goals.
“Going forward, I’m very excited. The new coaching team is highly qualified and provides a great mix of expertise from Tour players, male and female, girls and boys champions and playing backgrounds at the highest amateur level. All also have individual and team player development experience.”
Scottish Golf Union www.scottishgolf.org