SCOTLAND'S first ever junior golf tour was launched at the home of golf yesterday with the aim of producing a new generation of stars capable of competing on the world stage.
Dean Robertson, the former European Tour player and winner of the 1999 Italian Open, is spearheading the bold venture, which has secured a five-figure three-year sponsorship deal with leading UK asset-based lending company Mathon.Robertson, who will be assisted by fellow coaches Kendal McWade and Steven Orr, is targeting talented golfers between the ages of nine and 14, and yesterday 30 of the brightest youngsters began competing in a two-day stroke play competition at St Andrews.
Robertson, who is looking forward to working closely with the Scottish Golf Union, will travel round the country with his fellow coaches to provide coaching sessions and fun skill development days alongside stroke play competitions.A number of Scotland's top courses, including Carnoustie, Turnberry, Dalmahoy, The Dukes and Strathtyrum, have also pledged their support for the Mathon Junior Golf Tour, which will run until the end of April.
"We are aiming to nurture the best young golfers in Scotland and to provide them with the best environment to develop their talent and to build their self-confidence," Robertson said. "Our vision is for Scotland to once again be the number one golfing nation in the world, and we believe this tour is an essential part of the jigsaw to make that happen."The tour has won backing from several of the country's top professionals including Bathgate's Stephen Gallacher, whose seven-year-old son, Jack, has already shown promise.
Gallacher said: "What Dean is doing is a great thing. He is very passionate about this junior tour and when he is passionate about something he puts everything into it. It is important youngsters learn good habits and etiquette. But there is also the fun factor which goes once you get beyond a certain age. So it's important that these youngsters also have fun as well as playing tournaments on good golf courses."Mind you, Scottish golf is not in as bad a state as some would try to have you believe. Scotland does well for a small country, but it is also important that we keep developing good young players and Dean is someone the kids will look up to because not many players can say they have won a European Tour event.
Article from The Scotsman 15/10/08