Three of Scotland’s talented young professional golfers are to receive backing from Scottish Golf Support Limited (SGSL) to boost their chances of success in the season ahead.
Ladies European Tour trio Sally Watson, Kelsey MacDonald and rookie Gemma Dryburgh are the latest beneficiaries of the Scottish Government funded partnership, set up to help young professionals progress in the early stages of their Tour careers.
The three players selected have full playing rights on the Ladies European Tour, with a commitment to maximise the support being offered and engagement with the range of services being provided, backed up by evidence from statistics on performance improvement.
Launched in 2010, SGSL received £1 million investment from the Scottish Government through sportscotland, to be used over at least five years, with support allocated to assist Scotland’s most promising young professionals in the transition from the amateur ranks, harnessing the combined expertise of sportscotland, Scottish Golf and the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA).
Players to have benefited from SGSL support in the past include two-time LET winner Kylie Walker, Scotland’s leading player on the LET last season, Pamela Pretswell, and Scott Henry, a former winner on the Challenge Tour.
Graeme Simmers, Chairman of Scottish Golf Support Limited, said: “We are hopeful the support provided during the 2016 season will help the Ladies European Tour players continue their excellent progress as professional golfers, based on the evidence presented to us.
“Scottish Golf Support Limited support is not the same as sponsorship, in that what has been provided to the players is not simply financial, but the opportunity for players to access a wide range of services and expertise to enhance their development and maximise their potential.
“While a number of other players were carefully considered, we believe the three players selected best demonstrated the key characteristics for successful progression and fully utilise the support team around them, coupled with a real willingness to engage with us.”
Stanford University graduate Watson, 24, (above) is benefiting from a maximum of three years of support from SGSL, having built on her fine debut season on the LET in 2014 – when she was runner-up in the Rookie of the Year standings – to post a top-30 finish in the rankings last season.
Meantime, MacDonald, 25, (main picture) and Dryburgh, 22, (below) both finished comfortably inside the top-10 with impressive performances at the LET’s end-of-season Qualifying School to secure full playing rights for 2016. While Nairn’s MacDonald, the former Scottish Women’s Amateur champion, regained her card, Aberdeen native Dryburgh claimed a Ladies European Tour card at the first attempt only six months after graduating from college in the US.
Funding can be used for winter training, coaching, competition expenses and other specialist support provision, based on each individual’s requirements. In return, the players will support Scottish Golf and ClubGolf activities, such as squad sessions and junior golf clinics.
Players also have access to the full range of service provision from the sportscotland Institute of Sport including medical, physiotherapy, strength and conditioning and psychology support.