Three-time Scottish Open venue, Castle Stuart Golf Links, has been presented with a defibrillator to provide a potentially lifesaving response for players.
The mobile machine is kept in the club shop and 15 members of staff have received training in its use to react swiftly to an emergency if a player suffers a cardiac arrest on the course.
The defibrillator and training have been provided by the Lucky2Bhere charity which received a £1,000 donation from Castle Stuart. Training was provided by Inverness Heartstart team instructors Peter White and Pam Gowie at the club recently.
Defibrillators give the heart a controlled electric shock and swift use can significantly help the chances of survival after a cardiac arrest.
Last year, former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher suffered a cardiac arrest and is now leading a campaign to have public-access defibrillators made available at golf clubs around the UK.
Gallacher spent several days in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after falling ill at a function in the city in August. He credits the quick thinking of hotel staff and the availability of a defibrillator at the venue where he was due to speak for saving his life.
Stuart McColm, Castle Stuart’s general manager, said: “Having a mobile defibrillator available provides the best possible help in the event of an emergency. We are close to a major hospital but this gives us extra security in the event that someone suffers a problem on the course or in the clubhouse. It could literally be a lifesaver.
“We hope it never has to be used but it provides reassurance that help can be provided immediately and if the need arises it could be invaluable.”
The internationally-renowned Castle Stuart course, which hosted the Scottish Open from 2011-2013, is a member of the Highland Golf Links (HGL) partnership that promotes stay and play visits to the Highlands.
HGL also includes Royal Dornoch Golf Club, which installed a defibrillator two years ago, and The Nairn Golf Club which installed a machine last year.
Lucky2Bhere was established in 2009 by Ross Cowie, from Skye, who experienced a cardiac arrest and was helped by a nearby ambulance with lifesaving equipment on board.
As a result, he decided to raise funds to buy a defibrillator for the Skye Camanachd Shinty Club in Portree. Since then the charity has grown and has provided more than 100 defibrillators and other lifesaving equipment throughout the Highlands and is now also placing them in other parts of Scotland, including sports clubs.
Ross Cowie said: “Castle Stuart is to be commended for putting a defibrillator on site and having all staff trained in emergency life support training.
“Lucky2Bhere does not charge for the equipment or training but provides the service in return for a donation. We also conduct annual refresher courses and maintenance as part of the package so we look forward to enjoying an ongoing relationship with Castle Stuart.
“As both Bernard Gallacher and I know, without a defibrillator it’s unlikely either of us would be here today.”