ANDREW COLTART won’t mind having a microphone in his hand instead of a golf club at next week’s Ryder Cup in Chicago.
Living in East Lothian these days, the 1999 European team member retired from playing earlier this year and is happy doing other things.
Tour Pro Experience Golf Schools (TPEGS), which he runs along with Edinburgh man Gary Nicol, has gone from strength to strength since it was launched last year.
The pair, in fact, are in the process of branching out with that project ahead of The Open coming to Muirfield next July.
For instance, they are looking at putting together helicopter golf trips to different clubs in Scotland, starting and finishing at their base at Archerfield Links.
“Gary and I are really excited about continuing to build the TPEGS brand,” said Coltart. “This year we’ve had people coming to Archerfield from all over the world, including the Lebanon.”
While he hails from Thornhill in Dumfriesshire, Coltart feels very much at home now in Aberlady, having moved there with his wife and three young girls after a spell living in Edinburgh. Along with Nicol, a renowned coach who has worked with a number of European Tour players over the years, he was delighted when East Lothian branded itself as ‘Scotland’s Golf Coast’ in the build up to the world’s oldest major returning to the area for the first time since 2002.
“Next year’s Open is a wonderful opportunity for the whole of Scotland’s Golf Coast,” added 42-year-old Coltart.
“For instance, it’s the first time the event will have been at Muirfield since the courses, clubhouse, new spa etc have been built at Archerfield.
“What a lot of people don’t realise that, with 70 rooms, it’s the second biggest accommodation provider in East Lothian, so places like that have been a great addition to the area since The Open was last here.”
A two-time European Tour winner, Coltart was still at the peak of his career around the time Ernie Els claimed the Claret Jug for the first time ten years ago.
He has no regrets, though, about the decision to leave his playing days behind and move on to pastures new.
“I was scared to get out at first but that was mainly because I have a family to support and I didn’t imagine there would be enough work out there to sustain a living,” he admitted.
“That was a major anxiety but things have worked out great and I’ve not missed the playing side in the slightest.
“I still get my fair share of banter with Gary, which is good, while I’m still very much in touch with the game. I’ve done ten events in the studio for Sky Sports this year, was at The Open for Radio Five Live and am working for them at the Ryder Cup as well.”
Coltart has also been involved in mentoring Scotland’s leading amateurs, having been asked to get involved with the SGU performance programme by Stephen Docherty.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we are definitely starting to head in the right track,” said the former Scottish Stroke Play champion.
“While it had nothing whatsoever to do with me, it was great to see Scotland winning the Home Internationals for the first time in six years.
“A lack of success in stroke-play events shows there is still work to do there, but there is good communication in the performance division now and I’d like to think it is a bit more transparent.”
Paul Shields, a member of the team heading to Turkey next month for the Eisenhower Trophy, was the only Scottish amateur to enter last week’s European Tour Qualifying School event at The Roxburghe, near Kelso.
Coltart, for one, is hoping that might signal a return to the days when promising players were in no real rush to join the paid ranks.
“Amateur golf needs more career amateurs,” he said. “It’s difficult to make a living in the professional game, no-one should kid themselves about that.”