Gullane Golf Club in East Lothian was presented two life-saving defibrillators just ahead of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
It’s part of a unique plan from the caring charity St John Scotland (StJS) which is working with the Scottish Golf Union (SGU) and Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association (SLGA) to supply the heart-start units, each costing £1,500, and training to clubs hosting national events over the next three years.
The devices, vital in the moments after a person has suffered a heart attack, were handed over by John Ferguson-Smith, chairman of the StJS working group overseeing the project.
St John Scotland approached the SGU last September and a deal was struck to offer at least one defibrillator, free of charge, to each of the golf club venues for SGU & SLGA national championships from 2015-17, as well as providing training in its use in advance of each event. This year alone 21 clubs will benefit.
The scheme has also been extended to allow other, neighbouring clubs to attend the training and obtain their own defibrillator from St John Scotland at a discounted rate.
The charity was founded in 1947 and is dedicated to helping others through medical and rescue activities across Scotland and abroad. Through their support, better availability of defibrillators, and the necessary training, could lead to the lives of golfers and spectators across the country being saved.
Each year 100,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest in the UK, causing more deaths than lung cancer, breast cancer and AIDs combined. CPR and early defibrillation with an AED (automated external defibrillator) can increase sudden cardiac arrest survival from 5% to over 50%.
The importance of defibrillators was brought into sharp focus in August 2013 when the former Ryder Cup captain, Bernard Gallacher, collapsed during a dinner at a hotel on the outskirts of Aberdeen. Gallacher had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and it was only thanks to the hotel’s defibrillator and the immediate action of trained staff that he survived, before going on to make a full recovery.
Announcing the new partnership at the SGU Annual Conference in Stirling earlier this year, Sir Malcolm Ross, the recently-retired Prior of St John Scotland, said: “As one of the country’s leading caring charities, it is our mission to improve the safety, health and quality of life of people in our communities.
“This might include tiny, sick babies in need of specialist care in the ambulance taking them to hospital, the seriously ill person who needs help getting to and from hospital for treatment, or the mountain rescue teams who risk their lives to go to the aid of others.
“Scotland’s golfing community is one of our most vibrant, but the course or the club can feel like a very isolated place to anyone who suffers a heart attack. Defibrillators will save lives and we are very proud to be working with the Scottish Golf Union and the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association to supply the equipment and the training which will make all the difference until the medics or paramedics can take over.”
Hamish Grey, chief executive of the Scottish Golf Union, added: “Thanks to the support of St John Scotland, we’re delighted each golf club venue in Scotland hosting a Scottish Golf Union or Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association national championship in 2015 will be gifted a defibrillator.
“The outcome will be significant cost-savings for golf clubs, positive golf club and community engagement and, above all else, could lead to the saving of lives at Scottish golf courses.”
Karin Sharp, Chief Operating Officer of the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association, said: “We look forward to working with St John Scotland over the next three years and thank them again for their support for the game in this country.”
Gullane already has one defibrillator and six members of staff are trained to use it. Club secretary David Morton, said: “We are delighted to receive these free defibrillators from St John Scotland. We now plan to have one in each of our clubhouses and one in the greenkeepers’ facility.”
St John Scotland www.stjohnscotland.org.uk
Scottish Golf Union www.scottishgolf.org
Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association www.slga.co.uk
Gullane Golf Club www.gullanegolfclub.com