New Texas Tech signing Connor Graham made honorary member of Blairgowrie

Connor Graham’s dream year has continued after the new Texas Tech recruit was presented with honorary membership of his beloved Blairgowrie Golf Club.

Members of the Perthshire club agreed to the accolade at its annual general meeting in recognition of the teenager’s “outstanding achievements in amateur golf”.

Graham won the Scottish Men’s Open at Meldrum House in June before making history as the youngest-ever player to compete in the Walker Cup at St Andrews in September. The 17-year-old then played a starring role for Stephen Gallacher’s European side in a thumping Junior Ryder Cup win in Rome in September.

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Stuart Wilson, managing secretary at Blairgowrie Golf Club and captain of the GB&I Walker Cup team, said: “Connor has really helped put Blairgowrie on the golfing map and the committee invited members to bestow honorary membership to mark his success this year. We wish Connor and his brother Gregor the very best as they pursue their golfing careers.”

Blairgowrie's Connor Graham in action during the Junior Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome in September. Picture: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images.Blairgowrie's Connor Graham in action during the Junior Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome in September. Picture: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images.
Blairgowrie's Connor Graham in action during the Junior Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome in September. Picture: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images.

Graham described the honour as “petty amazing” and spoke about how enjoyable it had been to cut his golfing teeth at Blairgowrie.

“Our dad Stuart had (brothers) Gregor, Archie and me all out playing with plastic clubs. I was probably three or four when he’d take us out on the Wee Course, long before we worked up to playing on Rosemount and Lansdowne,” he said.

“Blair has great facilities and it has helped living close to the club. Even now, I probably play the Wee Course more than the others when I am practicing. It’s perfect for working on shaping all kinds of shots and sharpening your game.”

Next August, Graham will head to Texas Tech on a golf scholarship, joining Walker Cup team-mate Calum Scott there after Scott’s older brother Sandy also played for the Red Raiders. As did Swede Ludvig Aberg, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the paid ranks by winning on both the DP World Tour and PGA Tour, as well as helping Europe regain the Ryder Cup in Rome in September.

“I am looking to kick on next season and build on this year before I head to Texas,” said Graham. “Calum is already there and enjoying it. Everything about Texas Tech impressed me and I felt it was the best way forward for me. College golf definitely helps get you ready for the professional game.”

Dad Stuart told The Scotsman that Graham was on the radar of all the top US colleges but is confident he’s made the right call by signing for Texas Tech.

“On the back of what he’s achieved so far, he was very fortunate as he pretty much had the pick of any university in the US and it was exciting speaking to all the different coaches,” he said.

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“For one reason or another, we didn’t go over and have a look at them as Connor was very keen on Texas Tech as we’d done a lot of calls and video calls with the coach there, Greg Sands, and also Sandy and Calum Scott. He obviously gets on well with those guys and also looking at what Ludvig Aberg achieved when he was there was also a factor as they have a fantastic programme.

“He’ll have a great coaching team around him and they have a great schedule every year, which means he’ll get to visit some amazing places so the wee man is really excited about getting over there next August.

“It’s obviously a big decision and, while it’s not for everybody, he’s keen to go and give it a real go because it will mean he’s playing against the best players on some of the best courses. It will be a great apprenticeship for him over the next few years.

“There’s also such a massive opportunity now when you look at what Ludvig Aberg gas done and also Gordon Sargent to accelerate their careers on to the PGA Tour, which is what every young player wants to end up and be playing against the best players in the world.”

Looking forward to the 2024 campaign, Stuart said: “It will kick off again in January, when both him and Gregor (who won as an amateur on the Tartan Pro Tour this year) will hopefully be in the Scotland squad heading to South Africa for four or five weeks before having a full domestic programme again when he will be both bigger and stronger and also have a tighter swing. It’s all positive and all exciting.”

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