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SGU announce changes to National Squad structure
19th November 2012

SGU Announces Changes to National Squad Structure and Men's Order of Merit

The Scottish Golf Union has today (15 November) announced a new-look, expanded National Squad Structure offering more players the opportunity to fulfil their potential and improve Scotland's performances on the world stage.

A new approach will see four National Squads in place for the 2013 season, with a Men's Performance and Men's Transitional group, and the Boys also split into two tiers, featuring a Performance Squad and a Development Squad. The changes have been designed to offer more players the opportunity to access support appropriate to their performance level and their ability to commit to the programme.

The Men's Performance squad features six players - Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie), James White (Lundin) and Fraser McKenna (Balmore) who retain their places, while  Ross Bell (Downfield), Matthew Clark (Kilmacolm) and Kilmarnock Barassie's Jack McDonald have been promoted. The group will receive an enhanced tailored programme of support, including additional winter training and competition opportunities. All six players represented Scotland in August's Home Internationals victory.

A total of 18 players are including in the Transitional Squad, six of whom are based at colleges in the United States. This group features 2012 SGU Men's Order of Merit winner Scott Borrowman, reigning Scottish Amateur Champion Grant Forrest - currently in his second year at the University of San Diego - and former national champion Graham Gordon.

Some of the country's most promising youngsters make the step up from Boys' level into the Transitional Squad including Paul Lawrie Foundation Scottish Boys winner Craig Howie, Jamie Savage (Cawder), Anthony Blaney (Liberton) and Alasdair McDougall (Elderslie).

The Performance Boys' squad includes Scottish Youths champion Ewan Scott (St Andrews) and Great Britain & Ireland Boys' cap Bradley Neil (Blairgowrie), with both players seeking to continue their excellent progress in recent seasons.

Scott, 17, will also benefit from working with the Men's Performance Squad, as the Fifer takes a year out from his studies to focus on his golf.

Scottish Golf Performance Manager Steve Paulding, who came into his role three years ago from a background in cycling and athletics, said: "All the players in the National Squads deserve their place thanks to their progression and performances to date. What I now require from each of them is more hard work and commitment.

"Most people would say you can't afford to run big squads, because if you run big squads you've got to dilute what you do.

"But it's been much harder in the sport of golf to predict who will perform going forward. When we looked at the previous year's results, when we picked relatively small squads based on the previous year, they've not gone on to succeed at the next level."

In determining the rationale behind the restructure, Paulding added: "What we decided this year was to broaden the Squads out. There is not much between many of our players in terms of individual performances. We are now going to be able to both support and challenge more players, looking for those with the right mind set, attitude and work ethic to make it to the top."

Identifying key goals, he concluded: "Of course, we will target our levels of support to players we believe are capable of competing at the highest level in the future and those likely to represent us next year in the European Team Championship, and possibly achieve Walker Cup or other GB&I selection.

"But we are also now looking ahead and need to prepare squads of players capable of competing in the next World Amateur Team Championship in Japan in 2014 and then the 2016 Championship in Mexico.

"The primary aim of the Transitional Squad, many of whom are already performing well, is to give the best ongoing support to those with the potential to make it into the Men's Performance Squad. Many of these payers are only one or two years out of Boys' golf and, hopefully, are our champions of the future."

A number of players across the Squads will attend warm weather training camps in Abu Dhabi later this month and into December, with some players also competing internationally at events in South Africa, Australia and Columbia in the early New Year.

One player not included is South African Amateur champion Brian Soutar, who has made the decision to work full-time outside of the game. Fellow international Paul Shields is weighing up his options while Paul Ferrier has already entered the pro ranks in America.

Meanwhile, further changes have been made to the SGU Men's Order of Merit to be put in place for next season. A revised ranking system was introduced in 2012 designed to address shortcomings of previous methodology, but a recent review concluded that a balance had not been achieved between rewarding high performance against consistency as hoped.

The SGU will continue to use the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) for the tallying of points at individual stroke play events, but a new bonus points system will also be adopted, dependent on position and category of event. For match play events, WAGR points will not be used and only specific match play Order of Merit points will be allocated. The Scottish Hydro Boys' Order of Merit has also been revised with minor changes made.

"The combining of these points should ensure the SGU Order of Merit reflects both consistency and achievement. It is very difficult to get any rankings system absolutely perfect, but we believe the new system goes a long way in addressing many of the challenges," said Paulding.

All four National Squads will continue to benefit from sponsorship and support from Aberdeen Asset Management and TaylorMade-adidas Golf.


Men's Performance Squad 2012-13

Ross Bell (Downfield), 24

Matthew Clark (Kilmacolm), 31

Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock Barassie), 19

Fraser McKenna (Balmore), 21

Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie), 24

James White (Lundin), 24

Transitional Squad 2012-13

Lawrence Allan (Alva)*, 18

Sam Binning (Old Ranfury), 22

Anthony Blaney (Liberton), 18

Scott Borrowman (Dollar), 25

Scott Crichton (Aberdour), 24

Michael Daily (Erskine), 23

Adam Dunton (McDonald), 22

Grant Forrest (Craigielaw)*, 19

Scott Gibson (Southerness)*, 20

Graham Gordon (Newmachar), 32

Craig Howie (Peebles), 18

Liam Johnston (Dumfries & County)*, 19

Alasdair McDougall (Elderslie), 18

Fraser Moore (Glenbervie), 22

Conor O'Neil (Pollok), 20

James Ross (Royal Burgess)*, 22

Jamie Savage (Cawder), 18

Daniel Young (Craigie Hill)*, 21

* Denotes currently or soon to be based at a USA university or college


Boys' Performance Squad 2012-13

George Burns (Williamwood)

Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden)

Robert MacIntyre (Glencruitten)

Bradley Neil (Blairgowrie)

Ewan Scott (St Andrews)

Conor Syme (Dumfries & County)

Alan Waugh (Cowglen)

Boys' Development Squad 2012-13

Euan Bowden (Tantallon)

Andrew Burgess (The Nairn)

Connar Cook (Caird Park)

Greg Forrester (Lundin)

Calum Hill (Tantallon)

Ben Kinsley (St Andrews)

Cameron Kirkwood (Bearsden)

Niall McMullen (Lundin)

Jake Scott (Buckpool)

Euan Walker (Kilmarnock (Barassie)

Alexander Wilson (The Renaissance)

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