Patricia Ferguson MSP, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport was today joined at the Marriott Dalmahoy Golf and Country Club by Scotland’s number one amateur golfer, Richie Ramsay, as sportscotland acknowledged an extremely successful 2006 for the Scottish Golf Union and the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association with the announcement of annual investment of £571,000.
The investment, of which £324,000 comes from the sportscotland Lottery Fund, will go towards player improvement and coaching, organisational development and medal success. Part of this funding will also support the clubgolf programme, now being delivered by clubgolf Ltd, a new partnership made up of the SGU, SLGA, PGA and the Golf Foundation with sportscotland fulfilling a strategic role.
In the past twelve months the SGU and SLGA have guided Richie Ramsay, Carly Booth and many others to major achievements including top spot at the US Amateur Championship, involvement in the Junior Ryder Cup and a quadruple of Home International triumphs with the seniors (male), men’s, boys and girls teams all claiming victory.
Ms Ferguson commented, “Scotland is recognised internationally as the ‘Home of Golf’, and so I am delighted to welcome funding which will help to encourage more people to take up the sport and hone their skills. This will further increase access to the game and bring a range of golf related opportunities to a wider audience.
“Participation in golf in Scotland is already twice the UK average and we would like to see this grow even further. 2007 is certainly poised to be an exciting year for the sport in Scotland, with a number of major events coming up including The Open at Carnoustie and the Women’s British Open Championship at St Andrews.”
Building on these achievements are the key aims of both the SGU and the SLGA and one of the SGU’s main initiatives, the academy programme, has just completed its first year of operation with over 40 under 16 boys receiving intensive coaching across the country.
During 2007 over 90 boys will be involved with the academy and significantly, in conjunction with the SLGA ten under 16 girls have been introduced into the programme. The SLGA has also boosted their coaching staff with the full time appointment of Kevin Craggs as the Ladies National Coach.
Both the SGU, SLGA, along with the PGA and other partners are working towards ‘One Plan for Golf’ marking a new era for the sport in Scotland and the effective collaboration of organisations involved in golf. This will promote a more cohesive and ultimately more successful player pathway and coaching programme for all aspiring golfers.
Julia Bracewell OBE, chair sportscotland said, “2006 was a tremendous year for amateur golf in Scotland and the SGU and SLGA have to be commended for their efforts in guiding our golfers to so much success. sportscotland’s funding of £571,000 not only recognises the achievements of Richie and Carly but of so many amateur golfers and we are committed to ensuring through this investment that the next few years continue to be a very exciting time for Scottish golf.”
Alistair Low, chairman of the SGU commented, “We are delighted that our Scottish golfers are being recognised and the announcement of sportscotland’s funding is an acknowledgement of their exceptional achievements, both in terms of individual and team performances in 2006. The funding makes a significant contribution to Scottish amateur golf and ensures we continue to deliver the best coaching resources and structures we can to maintain and build upon the success we have enjoyed in recent years.”
Margaret MacNaughtan, chairman of the SLGA added, “This funding has enabled the Scottish Ladies Golfing Association to fund our first full time coaching position, Ladies Coach, Kevin Craggs. We are confident that this appointment will enable our golfers to continue to fulfil their potential and reap even greater successes in the seasons to come.”