The governing body has appointed ProDreamUSA as its official recommended partner for juniors considering a golf scholarship on the back of some of Scotland’s top players, notably Colin Montgomerie but also Russell Knox and Martin Laird, having seen their golf games flourish at the same time as they were securing a degree.
“I set up ProDreamUSA back in 2004,” said Kelly, a Cowal member when he played on a winning Walker Cup team alongside the likes of Paul Casey and Luke Donald at Nairn in 1999. “I thought it was a quite a vital service that was required at the time.
“I did a scholarship myself for four years in South Carolina and, to be honest, it was the best four years in my life. There was a lot of boys and girls who were looking to do the same around that time and I think there was a gap in the market. I thought these kids deserved some individual help to make sure they made the correct selections when it comes to universities in the States.
“It is a great breeding ground for a lot of the world’s best players. I think the stats speak for themselves. I think the infrastructure, the facilties, the coaching, the tournament schedule. “The student life experience is phenomenal and it teaches these kids to grow up pretty quickly. If they are technically sound, I think they can put it into good practice with the US college system and thrive.”
Connie Jaffrey, the highest-placed Scot in the women’s World Amateur Golf Rankings, went to college in the US while the top five Saltire-standard bearers in the equivalent men’s standings are either currently in the US or played out there.
“We are delighted to have ProDreamUSA on board for the upcoming golf season,” said Scottish Golf CEO Andrew McKinlay. “We have a number of young golfers on our performance pathway who have ambitions of playing college golf in the US.
“By working together with ProDreamUSA and providing athletes with access to their expertise and knowledge, this partnership will be hugely beneficial to all parties.
“With 15 years of experience dedicated solely to golf scholarship, their expertise are unrivalled and with this knowledge, we know they will be of great value to both players and their families who are looking at scholarship options.”
Brendan McKenna, ProDream USA’s managing director, added: “Today’s announcement marks the beginning of an exciting partnership with Scottish Golf and we are looking forward to engaging with juniors across the nation to educate them on the scholarship system and provide guidance for golfers who are looking to pursue a career in golf.
“We have worked with a number of junior golfers who have gone on to achieve great things in the game, with Alice Hewson among the invites to play in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
“We know that committing to a scholarship is a big decision for young golfers and their families, but by becoming Scottish Golf’s recommended partner, we will be able to work with all parties to make the process as straightforward as possible.”
Paul Lawrie has suffered another knock back in his bid to earn some starts on the Champions Tour, revealing he has failed to secure an invitation for the Rapiscan Classic later this month.
The 1999 Open champion had already been unsuccessful in earning spots for two events on the US-based over-50s circuit earlier in the year. “This is not going well,” wrote Lawrie in a post on Twitter.
That led Andrew Coltart, who played on the same Ryder Cup team as the Aberdonian at Brookline in 1999, to express his disbelief.
“This is insane,” said the Sky Sports Golf team member. “Major champion. Multiple European Tour Winner/multiple Ryder Cup player/Ryder Cup vice captain/tournament host/ mentor/helps grow the game at grass roots level.. what’s the problem?”
Georgia Hall, the Women’s British Open champion, and her boyfriend Harry Tyrrell suffered a first-round exit in the Sunningdale Foursomes, losing 4&2 to Hannah Davies and Samuel Prince at the Surrey venue.
Winners on day one included former Scottish Amateur champion Barry Hume and Hannah Burke, as well as former European No 1 Ronan Rafferty and his son, Jonathan.
After his hole-in-one in the opening round, Danny Kay was brought back down to earth on day two of the Royal Golf Bahrain Open on the MENA Tour.
Having to settle for a 74 at the Manama venue for a one-under-par total, the Dunbar man slipped 11 shots off the lead, held by Frenchman Robin Roussel.
On a day when Roussel backed up his opening 65 with a 66, Dubai-based Daniel Hendry carded a second successive 71 to jump above Kay as leading Scot on two-under.
Bradley Neil carded a 69 to move into joint-29th alongside Kay while Scott Henry (70) also progressed to the final round.