Ryder Cup hero Lawrie amongst those backing plans to give country’s leading ladies their own circuit
SCOTLAND’S aspiring female pros are to benefit from a new home-based tour, which is being backed by Ryder Cup hero Paul Lawrie.
The Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Scottish Ladies Open Tour - or PLGC SLOT, for short - will comprise a full schedule of 18-hole strokeplay events taking place throughout 2013 at a variety of top-class venues across the country.
The tour is the brainchild of Aberdeen-based golf reporter Colin Farquharson who, together with St Andrews Golf Academy teaching pro Nicola Melville, has worked hard to create a circuit modelled on the Scottish Alliance set-up.
Female professionals - as well as amateurs - from across the UK will be invited to take part in these tournaments, each of which carries a nominal entry fee of £50. All of the entry money then goes into a prize fund which will be boosted by £1,000 per event by Lawrie in collaboration with Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Asset Management and Stewart Spence, the owner of Aberdeen’s Marcliffe Hotel. The tour - which will also operate its own Order of Merit - will end with a 36-hole championship, scheduled for October.
Several players, including Laura Murray and Gleneagles professional Heather MacRae, have already voiced their support for the new circuit.
Farquharson, a long-standing supporter of grass-roots golf and, in particular, ladies’ golf, said: “I have long thought lady pros need another tier of tournament, a kind of Tartan Tour for the girls.
“The fact that not a single Scot, pro or amateur, got through the Ladies European Tour Q-School made up my mind to do something about it.”
The winner of the PLGC SLOT Order of Merit will win an ‘all expenses paid’ trip to the next LET Q-School, taking place in Morocco in December, courtesy of Menara Travel.
Melville, the only PGA lady teaching professional at St Andrews Golf Academy, knows all too well the kind of struggles that young female professionals go through in a bid to reach the top of the game. She said: “Having recently been in the position of attempting to make a career out of playing golf and trying to obtain playing rights on the Ladies European Tour, I feel that there is distinct lack of competitive tournaments for female golfers outwith the main tour. The aim of the PLGC Scottish Ladies Open Tour is to give female professionals and good amateurs the opportunity to learn the ropes on a mini-circuit before making the jump to the bigger tours.”
The new venture has also received a £1,000 Working For Golf grant from the R&A and has the support of Alan Tait, the Director of Golf at the Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel Golf & Country Club. The man behind the Xltex and Optical Express Tours - which have vastly improved the playing opportunities for Scottish professionals - is throwing his weight behind the PLGC SLOT.
“I am delighted to support this series of events for our elite women golfers in Scotland,” said Tait, whose venue will host the inaugural PLGC SLOT event in April. “Our country needs such a tour to help develop our leading players and unless they are already on the LET then there is very little for the women to play in and compete.” To find out more, visit www.scottishladiestour.co.uk