New Scottish Golf chief executive Andrew McKinlay has made his first appointments, including former LET player Clare Queen taking over as performance director.
Queen has been filling that role on an interim basis since the previous incumbent, Stuart Clayton, left to take up a new job with the David Leadbetter Academies.
Queen’s face is well-kent in Scottish golf circles, having come through the ranks as an amateur then returning to her roots after a spell in the paid ranks.
She worked with the Scottish Government-backed Active Schools programme in Clackmannanshire before taking up a performance co-ordinator role with the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association in April 2014.
She then joined Scottish Golf after the amalgamation of SLGA and Scottish Golf Union in October 2015.
“I am proud to be appointed performance director and regard it as a huge privilege to help the next generation of successful Scottish golfers through what I know from experience is a tricky transition phase from amateur through to professional,” said Queen.
“The interim role has given me a real insight into the opportunities and challenges facing golfers who aspire to reach the top. I look forward to putting the ideas I have into practice with the help of my colleagues at Scottish Golf and, fundamentally, with the support of clubs and the network of service providers, to ensure players have the best opportunity possible to fulfil their potential.
“What has become apparent in a short period of time is the need to bring clarity to the pathway that exists for golfers and to simplify it. We also need to encourage golfers to practice more effectively and prepare players better to compete on the international stage.
“For those who wish to turn professional It is not always about travelling the world and winning titles, it is about preparing people for what can be a lonely life on the road, a journey that comes with disappointments along the way. Providing support and helping to instil the resilience needed to overcome adversity and reach the top are priorities.
“It has been encouraging to see some success stories already, which will hopefully inspire others and working closer with those who have gone on to become tour professionals will only help those at various stages of the pathway.”
Also on the same front, Gillian Paton has also been appointed performance manager on a full-time basis and she will be responsible for the performance Academy, girls’ and boys’ squads and managing the Development Academy with Queen.
The final appointment confirmed by McKinlay, who joined from the Scottish FA in May, is the promotion of Karin Sharp from corporate services director to chief operating officer.
“I am delighted to be able to confirm these posts and have been struck by the dedication and expertise shown by all three in my short time as chief executive,” said McKinlay.
“Clare has already made an impact in the interim role and I know how passionate she is about making the performance pathway the best it can be for aspiring professional golfers. I know she has been ably supported by Gillian and her appointment is a natural step in her development, too.
“Now that the posts have been made permanent, it will allow both to focus on talking Scottish Golf forward.
“I am also pleased to be able to confirm that Karin Sharp’s job title has been changed to chief operating officer. It has been clear to me since my arrival that Karin is a pillar of this organisation and the new job title reflects her role within the organisation and importance to it.”
The three appointments come in the wake of the R&A launching a Women in Golf Charter as part of the organisation’s drive to increase the number of women and girls participating in golf and to encourage more opportunities for women to work within the golf industry.