Martin Dempster: A chance to show Scotland’s future

Catriona Matthew. Picture: Neil Hanna
Catriona Matthew. Picture: Neil Hanna
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UNDER its old format, the Scottish Golf Awards would probably have been binned this year. After all, take out Ewen Ferguson’s win in the Boys’ Amateur Championship and there would be precious little to be marked at an occasion that, primarily, celebrates amateur achievements from the previous season.

By drawing attention to what was a 2013 campaign largely to forget for both the Scottish Golf Union and Scottish Ladies Golfing Association on the main stages in the amateur game probably means I will get a frosty reception at this Friday’s event in Glasgow, but, at the same time, it would be a massive mistake if the message that came across from it was one of heads being buried in sand.

Instead, let the guests at that glitzy bash know that a promising crop of youngsters are working their socks off in South Africa at the moment, impressing Alastair Forsyth, a two-times European Tour winner, in the process, to ensure that no Walker Cup in the near future will take place without a Scot in the Great Britain & Ireland ranks.

Let them know also that the focus in the ladies’ game has also been shifted to a younger group of players, some of whom have just spent some time out in Spain and have further whetted national coach Kevin Craggs’ insatiable appetite to bring through a new Catriona Matthew, his star pupil.

Let them know, too, that the lack of success by Scots at the top level of the amateur game last year wasn’t acceptable and, while the SGU and the SLGA can provide lots of support, it ultimately comes down to the hunger and desire of individuals.

Once that’s all out of the way – and this is where the event has become more of a showbiz occasion – it will be a privilege to celebrate Bernard Gallacher joining Paul Lawrie, Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and Sandy Lyle in receiving a richly-deserved lifetime achievement award.