Catriona Matthew and Paul Lawrie reveal plan to help Scotland's top young golfers

Major winners Catriona Matthew and Paul Lawrie have delivered a “big input” into Scottish Golf’s new performance programme as the governing body bids to help bring through the next crop of future stars.

Scottish Golf's new performance programme is aimed at giving the country's top young players the best possible chance to blossom. Picture: Scottish Golf

Under the programme, Matthew and Lawrie will work alongside performance coaches Spencer Henderson and Stuart Clayton, as well as sportscotland Institute of Sport practitioners and other performance staff to give young players the best possible opportunity to blossom.

One of the key messages being delivered by Matthew and Lawrie is that the programme is aiming to “add value and support” to the work players already do with their personal coach at club or county level.

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“It is not about teaching a player how to improve their swing – their coach already does that,” states a Scottish Golf press release about the keenly-anticipated programme.

“It is about developing potential and maximising performance of our elite players at men’s, women’s, boy’s, and girl’s levels to prepare physically and mentally for competitive golf at the highest level.”

The programme will be overseen by Clare Queen, a former Ladies European Tour player who is now Scottish Golf’s head of performance.

She said: “Throughout the last year, we have reviewed our program to determine how we best deliver what the top amateur players require to be successful and how we provide inspiration for the next generation of Scottish golfers.

“Paul and Catriona have had a big input into how we can best achieve this, and I believe this new approach will equip the Scotland team and our golfers to achieve further success on the international stage.

“Very few people know what it feels like to stand over a three-foot putt to win a major championship, but that experience and knowledge is part of what Paul and Catriona will bring as part of their role in our programme.”

Players in the programme will be placed in three groups, each offering a different level of support, including access to Golf Data Lab and Coach Now performance tracking tools.

Players in the national high-performance squad will have exclusive access to Lawrie and Matthew, who will help them prepare physically and mentally for competitive golf at the highest level.

“The game has given me so much over the years and I hope that by sharing my experience, and mentoring the next generation, I can give something back,” said Matthew, the 2009 Women’s British Open winner and Europe’s Solheim Cup captain.

“There is a wealth of potential golf talent in Scotland and anything we can do to help identify and nurture that talent will hopefully help more Scottish golfers find success at the elite level.”

Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion and a two-time Ryder Cup player added: “By working together and utilising all of the golfing experience we have in this country, we can help our talented young golfers achieve their goals.”

There is no place on the programme for Ian Rae, who helped Scotland win the World Amateur Team Championship in Australia in 2008 during a 23-year stint as national coach.

Addressing that decision, Scottish Golf COO Karin Sharp said: “Over the last few decades the Scottish Golf programme has been delivered by many successful coaches including, most recently, David Patrick and Karyn Dallas under the watchful eye of former national coach Ian Rae.

“Ian led Scotland to success in the Eisenhower Trophy in 2008 and the European Team Championship in 2001, 2009, 2015 and 2016, as well as supporting many individual players who had wins in top-flight amateur events over that lengthy period.

“We sincerely thank him for his significant contribution to many players and squads over a 23-year involvement at national level and look forward to his continued input coaching a number of Scotland’s leading players.”

Broomieknowe’s Hannah Darling, one of the rising stars in the women’s game in the UK and Ireland, has been named in the first high-performance squad along with Chloe Goadby (St Regulus), Carmen Griffiths (Aboyne), Hazel MacGarvie (Royal Troon) and Shannon McWilliam (Aboyne).

That group also includes Cameron Adam (Royal Burgess), Rory Franssen (Auchterarder), Gregor Graham (Blairgowrie), Ruben Lindsay (Trump Turnberry), Calum Scott (Nairn), Cormac Sharpe (Blairgowrie), Connor Wilson (Castle Park) and James Wilson (Balmore).

Reigning Scottish Amateur champion George Burns (Crail) and Old Ranfurly’s Jamie Stewart have both had to be content with a place in the national performance squad, which also includes Kilmacolm’s Eilidh Briggs and the highly-rated Grace Crawford from North Berwick.

Scotland’s highest-ranked amateur, world No 8 Sandy Scott from Nairn, has been included a group of US college players involved in the programme along with Callum Bruce (Duff House Royal), Eric McIntosh (Bruntsfield Links) and John Paterson (New Golf Club St Andrews).

Selection for a futures development squad will not take place until September in order to provide a great opportunity for aspiring golfers to work on their game over the summer.

“I am delighted to welcome these players into our programme, and I think they will gain a lot from the experience and knowledge we can deliver to them,” added Queen.

“This is a long-term strategy to build on the successes of the past and I look forward to seeing more silverware lifted by our Scottish players and national teams in the coming years.”

The programme will focus will be on five key areas designed to cultivate. They are: programming for performance, increasing golf creativity and skill, being physically ready, being mentally ready to perform and developing performance behaviours.

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