Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, has given his support to the nation’s leading amateur golfers bound for the United Arab Emirates for a month of warm weather training at one of the world’s finest new golf developments.
Speaking on his arrival in Abu Dhabi last night (Monday, 31 October) as part of a business trip to the Gulf, Mr Salmond has expressed his delight at the growing partnership between Scottish and UAE golf ahead of the visit by the amateur squad from mid-November.
Following the success of the 2010 winter camp, a new-look squad of ten players will depart on 18 November to be based at the stunning Yas Links Golf Club in Abu Dhabi and the Centro Yas Island Hotel, who together with long-standing supporter of the SGU, Aberdeen Asset Management, will sponsor the four-week training programme in the Middle East sunshine.
Salmond, who has a long-term ambition to forge ever-strengthening links betweenScotlandand the UAE in a golfing context, said: “I am delighted that the SGU have chosen for the second time to hold their training camp for the Scottish squad here in Abu Dhabi.
“Not only will this be a great opportunity for the Scottish squad to benefit from the fantastic facilities and weather, but also a chance for the SGU to share their wisdom with the UAE’s national team to help develop the sport here.
“This is another example of how we are strengthening ties between Scotland and the UAE. Exporting our rich heritage of golf to those parts of the world where interest in the sport will certainly generate valuable golf and tourism links between us. I look forward to watching our relationship grow.”
Yas Island’s Centro Hotel will accommodate the players as part of their sponsorship of the training camp, while Aberdeen Asset Management continues its support of theScotlandsquad by contributing to the programme.
In addition to the preparation work the players will be undertaking on and off the course, a first-ever Test Match between Scotland and the Emirates Golf Federation is set to take place towards the end of their stay.
Key members of the SGU coaching team – head coach Ian Rae, Under-18s coach Neil Marr and Performance Manager Steve Paulding – will support the players, with input from expert staff at the sportscotland Institute of Sport.
Paulding said: “The warm weather training programme builds on the success of last year and provides an opportunity for the players to work on fitness and technical aspects of their game for an extended period.
“It’s almost an entirely different group of players we have this year. A few have turned professional while Philip McLean, James White and Ross Kellett are still amateurs but will be away at Stage Two of the European Tour School and the Alps Tour Qualifying.
“Yas Links is a fantastic venue with a magnificent course, superb practice facilities and everything we need off the course. We are very grateful to Yas Links Golf Club and theCentroYasIslandfor their sponsorship in establishing a ‘Home of Golf’ in theUnited Arab Emirates.”
Chris White, General Manager, Yas Links Golf Club, is looking forward to welcoming theScotlandplayers: “We are delighted to open our doors to the Scottish squad at Yas Links. Given that Yas boasts the first Links golf course in the region, we can offer the Scottish squad a ‘home from home’ for a month of training at the fantastic facilities here at Yas.”
Patrick Martinez, General Manager of Yas Island Rotana and Centro Yas Islandadded: “We are looking forward to welcomingScotland’s national squad. It’s the ideal base for golfers visiting the UAE, highly distinctive in a contemporary environment,CentroYasIslandis really convenient for all the golfers training here.”
Yas Golf Links http://yaslinks.com
Scottish Golf Union www.scottishgolf.org