New formats for Scottish amateur events

Scottish Golf chair Eleanor Cannon is excited about the changes to the domestic fixture list. Picture: John Devlin
Scottish Golf chair Eleanor Cannon is excited about the changes to the domestic fixture list. Picture: John Devlin
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New formats for both the Scottish Amateur and Scottish Boys’ Championship are part of a shake up of the domestic fixture list.

The Scottish Boys is also moving from its traditional April week to a summer slot, where it will run concurrently with the Scottish Girls.

The changes, which follow a comprehensive review by Scottish Golf, also see the Scottish Youths’ Championship being scrapped.

The Scottish Amateur and Scottish Boys are both changing from straight knock-out events to 36-hole stroke-play qualifying, with the top 64 and ties progressing to a match-play phase.

The change will see the Scottish Amateur, to be held at Prestwick and Prestwick St Nicholas next year, fall into line with the national championship in a number of other countries, including England and the United States.

The biggest attention, though, appears to have been given to the Scottish Boys, which used to have no problems attracting a full field of 256 players but fell 22 short when the event was held at Murcar Links earlier this year.

It had become the traditional curtain-raiser for the new domestic amateur season, but that will no longer be the case and, in addition, the field is being reduced to 180.

Next year’s Scottish Boys will run alongside the Scottish Girls, with a field of 64, at Scotscraig and Drumoig on June 30-5 July.

The Scottish Boys’ and Girls’ Stroke-Play Championships move to the April slot, taking place at Monifieth Links and Montrose respectively.

The Scottish Youths’ Championship was first held in 1979, when Andrew Oldcorn won the inaugural event at Dalmahoy.

Champions since then have included Paul McGinley (1988), Stephen Gallacher (1994), Gregory Bourdy (2002) and Martin Laird (2003),

However, it has been dropped due to the “category no longer complimenting the national structure or international amateur calendar”.

The R&A scrapped the British Youths Championship after 1994 and there is no longer a European Youths’ Team Championship.

Announcing the changes, Scottish Golf chair Eleanor Cannon, said: “Following our review, it is important that we embrace the traditions and history of the game, but equally vital that we look to the future and ensure our championships remain relevant to participants.

“The Scottish Golf Board is acutely aware on the increasing demands on people’s time, both the players and the parents of competitors, which has an impact on a number of our events, while consideration was given to why players compete in events, which is often different between male and female competitors.

“We stage national championships not only to give our players a great experience on courses which showcase their talents, but also to profile our clubs.

“Scotland has a fantastic variety of courses and we are hugely grateful to all member clubs who support our events, who can hopefully benefit from the spotlight being on them for that particular week.

“Our member clubs provide us with their facilities free of charge to enable us to deliver quality championships, for players at all levels, whether competing at the very top of the amateur game or enjoying the experience of competing on the national stage for the first time.”

Main 2017 Scottish Golf fixtures

10 - 12 April Scottish Boys Open Stroke Play Championship, Monifieth Links

10 - 12 April Scottish Girls Open Stroke Play Championship, Montrose, Medal

21 - 23 April Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship,

Royal Troon & Troon Portland

2 - 4 June Carrick Neill Scottish Men’s Open Stroke Play Championship, Western Gailes

6 - 10 June Scottish Women’s Amateur Championship, Royal Aberdeen

21 - 23 June Scottish Senior Men’s Open Championship, Royal Burgess

28 June - 1 July Scottish Senior Women’s Open Championship, Blairgowrie

30 June - 5 July Scottish Boys & Girls Championship, Scotscraig & Drumoig

11 - 13 July Scottish Boys U16 Open Championship, Fairmont St Andrews, Kittocks

17 - 18 July Scottish Girls U16 Open Championship, tbc

31 July - 5 Aug Scottish Men’s Amateur Championship, Prestwick & Prestwick St Cuthbert

13 - 14 Aug Loretto School Scottish Boys & Girls U14 Championship, Crail, Balcomie Links