Scottish Golf defends controversial decision to skip European team event

Scotland will not be represented in next week’s European Girls’ Team Championship in Spain after Scottish Golf decided it was not appropriate for “player development”.

Scotland's girls are missing the event at El Saler in Spain. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

While teams are taking part in men’s, women’s and boys’ events being held at the same time at other venues around Europe, Scotland is not among the 18 countries registered for the girls’ tournament at El Saler. “The decision not to send a Scottish team to this year’s European Girls’ was based on player development,” said a Scottish Golf spokesman after being contacted by The Scotsman.

“This event is often the first time many of the players have competed abroad. The course style and length combined with high-pressure environment means the conditions that they face are very different to those which are experienced on the Scottish events calendar.”

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While two-time Scottish girls’ champion Hannah Darling has been picked for the women’s event in Italy, the decision has denied the likes of Aboyne’s Carmen Griffiths, who played in last week’s Junior Vagliano Trophy in Kent, an opportunity to compete against the cream of the crop in European girls’ golf.

Eyebrows will also be raised about the decision being taken in the same year that Scotland is trying to attract more girls into the game through the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in September.

“Scottish Golf believes that it is important we use funding effectively to create opportunities for these players to experience competitions with similar demands but at the correct level for them to gain experience and further develop,” added the spokesman.

“In order to do this, Scottish Golf has identified a calendar of both domestic and international events which meet these aims and will use funding to provide players with opportunities that will support their development while also preparing them to compete at the next level.

“Scottish Golf has not yet put a timeline on when we will enter a girls’ team to the European Team Championships but will continue to review this on [an] annual basis as part of its ongoing delivery of performance programmes.”