STUART Clayton and Spencer Henderson have been recruited to a new-look Scottish Golf Performance team, ahead of the new unified governing body teeing off from 1 October.
Steve Paulding, the Scottish Golf Performance Manager, has announced the first stage of a development coaching restructure with Clayton coming in as Performance Development Manager and Henderson returning to the role of National Boys Coach.
Paulding has also confirmed David Patrick will be continuing in his role as National Girls Coach, with additional time and responsibility to deliver the Girls Performance programme, including all training and preparation for competitions.
National Coach Ian Rae will oversee the new Performance coaching team across the amateur game, seeking to build on recent successes, including victory at the European Men’s Amateur Team Championship, Boys’ Home Internationals triumph and three Scots featuring in GB&I’s victorious Walker Cup team.
Clayton, who hails from the north-east of England, will oversee the Scottish Golf Academy and Development Centre programme. For the last five years, the highly respected instructor has worked at the IMG Academy in Florida, with young Scottish pro Sally Watson an alumna of the Academy.
Before joining the IMG Academy, Clayton worked around the world as the Director of Golf academies in Austria and South Korea, and has also worked with David Leadbetter as both a player and assistant instructor. Some of Clayton’s notable students include Korean LPGA players Mi Jung Hur and Ha Na Jang, both inside the top 70 in the world rankings.
Meantime, as revealed by The Scotsman on Wednesday, Henderson is returning to Scotland after six years previously with the Scottish Golf Union, including four as National Boys Coach.
Henderson worked with Richie Ramsay at Boys’ and Youths level and with James Byrne, Ross Kellett and Bradley Neil in the early part of their careers, helping Scotland to a runner-up finish in the European Boys Team Championship in 2006.
The Scot departed his role in 2010, first taking up the position of National Coach in Turkey, steering them to a best-ever World Amateur Team Championship finish in 2012, and then moving to Azerbaijan, as Director of Golf Development, to help develop the game in a new environment.
“I’m delighted to be coming back to Scotland,” said Henderson. “We have a number of good young players with potential coming through and I look forward to helping them develop over the coming years, such is my desire and commitment to see Scottish Golf succeed at the highest level.
“It was particularly pleasing seeing Jack McDonald and Grant Forrest performing so well at the Walker Cup, as we noticed their potential and gave them their first caps at Scottish Under-16 level. I look forward to using my different experiences from working in Turkey and Azerbaijan and returning to performance coaching.”
Looking confidently to the future, Paulding added: “I’m excited by the opportunities that an amalgamated body offers at performance level in Scotland.
“In the last two years, I’ve spent a lot of time at the sharp end of men’s and ladies amateur golf and seen us develop players and enjoy good results, especially at boys’ and men’s level.
“But there is still a lot of work to be done, the rest of the world is not standing still and we need to learn quicker to get ahead of other countries. I’m confident the new Performance team will help drive forward further the raising of standards in Scotland.” Paulding is currently finalising the Performance development coaching workforce at regional level to support Scottish Golf’s programmes, which will be announced within the first month of the new organisation coming into existence.