Leven Links, home of the world’s oldest amateur tournament, has appointed a professional for the first time in its 170-year history in a bid to “put the club back on the golfing map”.
The bold move has realised a “lifelong dream” for the man who has taken up the post as Eric Walker cut his golfing teeth on the Fife course after becoming a junior member there at the age of seven.
“The appointment came about due to the two club captains and two forward-thinking guys, Ninian Heron and Alan Lee, pushing this to the members and showing them that this is the way forward for the Links,” said Walker.
“Leven is one of the finest links course in the country and is steeped in history, being the first course in the world to have 18 individual tees and greens as back in the 1800s courses were mainly 12 holes and had double greens.
“It’s also host to the world’s oldest amateur event, the Standard Life Gold Medal, and staged local Final Qualifying for The Open at St Andrews six times between 1978 and 2005.”
Walker was an assistant to Paul Wytrazek at Burntisland for 16 years and had a spell as head professional at Thornton. “I was a junior member here at seven and learnt my game on the Links, so when I was given the opportunity to become its first and new professional, I grabbed it,” he said.
“Leven hasn’t been achieving its potential for years and my role as the head professional and the links’ main ambassador is to promote and market this great course. Already I have increased member and visitor numbers and there’s a feelgood factor here now as we put Leven Links back on the golfing map.”