The exciting one-to-one support system has been devised by the Stephen Gallacher Foundation in tandem with Bounce Sport Management. It involves a professional taking an amateur under their wing, playing the occasional game together and always being on hand to offer advice.
The initiative, which is being overseen by four-time European Tour winner Stephen Gallacher, has seen Scottish No 1 Bob MacIntyre paired with fellow left-hander, Cameron Adam. It means Cameron, who is heading to Northwestern University in Illinois later this year, can contact Bob whenever he is needing any help about his career.
The same goes for some of Scotland’s other rising stars, both boys and girls, as a result of young pros wanting to play their part in the development of the next generation. Grant Forrest has taken Ruben Lindsay under his wing, Calum Hill is mentoring Gregor Graham and Liam Johnston has linked up with Connor Wilson.
Cameron, Ruben and Connor are all Stephen Gallacher Foundation ambassadors while Gregor won the Stephen Gallacher Foundation Trophy last year.
Girl ambassadors Grace Crawford, Katie Graham and Carys Irvine are also involved in the initiative, as is Megan Docherty, winner of the Stephen Gallacher Foundation Vase in 2020.
Kelsey Macdonald will act as Grace’s ‘buddy’, Kylie Henry has taken Katie under her wing and Megan is being helped by Rachael McQueen.
Carys Irvine, meanwhile, has been handed an open line to Iona Stephen, a former Ladies European Tour player who now hosts the international TV programme, Golfing World, and also presents and commentates for Sky Sports Golf.
Iain Stoddart, co-founder of Bounce Sport Management, said: “We have been very close to the Am to Pro side of things for years now, and if there was a gap then it was at this vulnerable stage.”
“This is the time when our promising players are contemplating their next steps. They are looking at what would be right for their continued development, and, for those following a university route, having someone to speak to, who has only recently been over the course, is very important.
“When I spoke to our young pros, they and their families were delighted to pass on all the little things that could help make a difference. It was only a few years ago that they were all going through a similar process, so this very recent knowledge will be incredibly helpful”
“The Stephen Gallacher Foundation’s modus operandi will always simply be to get children into golf and become members of golf clubs, but, as it comes of age and its natural evolution produces boys and girls of this calibre, it just seemed an obvious thing to put in place to help out.”
A buddy system is already in place amongst players in the Stephen Gallacher Foundation, which was launched in 2012 and is run by Scott Knowles and Stuart Johnston on a day-to-day basis.
Stephen Gallacher commented: “Scott and Stuart have a fantastic mentor set up in the Foundation that has been running since the start with all the different age groups helping the next.”
“With us now seeing some of our players coming out of the Foundation, we wanted to make sure we help them best as possible to send them on their way. I am always on hand for advice, but I can’t thank all the young pros enough for stepping in to buddy the boys and girls one to one as their recent experiences of what they are about to go through will be invaluable.”
Speaking after being in touch with Carys Irvine, Iona Stephen said of the initiative: “It is absolutely amazing. When Stoddy called me to tell me what they were doing and to ask if I would be a buddy on this system, I was delighted to get involved. It was just so refreshing to hear someone putting action behind incentive, I suppose.”
“I thought it was brilliant for someone to come up with this initiative and put it together, because we all talk about trying to help the next generation, but it’s actually connecting people that makes the difference at different stages of their career.”
“Carys has been mentoring younger girls within the Stephen Gallacher Foundation and I am sure they get enormous benefit from that. When Stoddy said she was at a stage where she needed someone to mentor her, I thought this would be a perfect fit.”
“It’s great that Stephen Gallacher is behind it and I am really impressed they’ve had the initiative to do this. I really do think it will make a difference.”
Cameron Adam, who won the 2019 Scottish Under-16s Boys’ Open Championship at Royal Burgess, his home club, has already enjoyed an on-course experience with his ‘buddy’ Bob MacIntyre.
“I played with Bob, Grant and Ruben at The Renaissance Club before the current travel restrictions came into force and to get the chance to learn from them out on the course is incredible,” said the 17-year-old.
“Just being able to pick their brains, speak to them about their US college experiences, especially Bob after being the European Tour Rookie of the Year, winning on the circuit last season and now breaking into the world’s top 50, is amazing.”
“It’s brilliant to be able to listen to how they deal with everything, including being in pressure situations, while it is also good to hear about their lifestyle on tour, which is completely different to being an amateur. Learning from them is going to be so valuable for young amateurs like myself.”