That list includes the R&A’s proposed community golf facility at Lethamhill in Glasgow, with plans having recently been submitted to Glasgow City Council for a “family-focussed venue” that aims to make golf “more welcoming” for people of all ages and backgrounds.
It really is fantastic-looking project and fair play to the R&A for picking a site close to the centre of Scotland’s largest city in this bold bid to try and grow the game by using a new audience because, as the governing body for the game outside the US, it could just as easily have opted for Birmingham, Berlin or Beijing.
Just because Scotland is the home of golf doesn’t mean anything should be taken for granted and that investment by the R&A deserves to be supported in a right and proper manner, which is it being fully utilised as it provides a fun environment for families.
So, what else has been going on that has seen the game in Scotland delivering something that will potentially be making other countries sit up and take notice? Lots, actually, and right now is an exciting time to be a talented young golfer in this country.
Scottish Golf’s new performance programme, the full details of which are due to be announced soon, I believe, is being led by major winners in Catriona Matthew and Paul Lawrie, supported by Spencer Henderson and Stuart Clayton.
Just think about that for one second. You’ve already got talent and now, at a potentially crucial time in your career, you are being offered advice by players who have achieved the ultimate accolade in the game.
Add in the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup experience between them and this really is a huge opportunity to create a bright future for the Scottish game, though, in saying that, it is down to the individuals to show the same hunger, desire and determination as Matthew and Lawrie did to make their mark on the game.
David Law, a two-time Scottish Amateur champion and winner on the European Tour since turning professional, has already benefited enormously from having Lawrie as a mentor, and here’s hoping that every single player involved in that performance programme knows how lucky he or she is to be in a position to reap the rewards from it at a time when two of the country’s greatest golfing ambassadors are fully committed.
Through this initiative, the likes of Bob MacIntyre, Grant Forrest, Calum Hill, Kylie Henry and Kelsey MacDonald have been paired up with Stephen Gallacher Foundation ambassadors, including former Scottish Boys’ champion Connor Wilson, Cameron Adam, Ruben Lindsay, Gregor Graham, Grace Crawford and Katie Graham.
The concept really is as simple as it sounds. The professionals are taking a young amateur under their wing, offering advice at all times and, when schedules permit, playing the occasional game together.
Again, just take a second to let that sink in and, just in case you need to be convinced about its potential value in helping that next generation flourish, I will use Adam having fellow left-hander MacIntyre as his “buddy”.
MacIntyre won the Scottish Amateur Championship, reached an Amateur Championship final and played in a Walker Cup before turning professional. In a short time in the paid ranks, he’s been crowned as European Tour Rookie of the Year, landed his maiden title, finished in the top 10 on his debut in The Open and now sits in the world’s top 50.
Make no mistake, the outgoing Oban man will be more than happy to share all those experiences with Adam as he prepares to take the first big step in his career by heading to Northwestern University in Illinois, where he will also be able to lean on former British Boys’ champion David Inglis for advice, later this year.
I also love the fact this initiative has seen Iona Stephen, a former LET player who is now carving out a successful career in golf broadcasting, take young Carys Irvine under her wing because the wider the net is spread in terms of helping shape lives the better.
In short, hats off to everyone involved in some terrific stuff that Scotland should be proud of and long may that continue.