Two significant changes have been made to the rules for the Dispatch Trophy in a bid to try and increase the entry for this year’s event.
Edinburgh Leisure, with support from the Lothians Golf Association, took over the running of the historic team event at relatively short notice last year.
Despite that, the tournament attracted 42 teams, with Edinburgh Leisure receiving “very positive feedback” about how the tournament at the Braids had been run.
Now, as the closing date of Saturday, April 29 looms, it is hoped that this year’s event will involve a bigger field – and perhaps a younger one, too.
Encouraged by the Stephen Gallacher Foundation entering a team for the first time last year, Edinburgh Leisure has reduced the minimum entry age.
The event is also being opened up to course-owning clubs, paving the way for the Capital’s bigger clubs to try and get their hands on the coveted prize.
“Edinburgh Leisure Golf is committed to growing and supporting the tournament moving forward,” said head of operations Ken Harvey.
“Hence, we have reduced the minimum age restriction to 12 years and we have also removed the restrictions relating to course-owning clubs within the Lothians.
“As always, our aim is to raise the profile of golf and promote the benefits of physical activity to the local community and beyond.”
This year’s event will be held on May 20, 21, 23, 25 and 27. For the second year running, it will be sponsored by Golfclubs4cash, the Midlothian-based company that sells second-hand equipment. “We were honoured to be the main sponsor of such a historic golfing team event and we hope to move the trophy forward by attracting as many golfers as possible to compete in the tournament,” said Murray Winton, one of the company’s joint-founders.
Winton’s presence at last year’s event was a clear sign of Golfclubs4cash wanting to get involved in the tournament as opposed to just simply being a title sponsor.
Many of the players taking part had bought clubs themselves from the company, making it an ideal arrangement for the first such sponsorship in the event’s rich history.
Carrickvale will be the defending champions in the 118th staging, having claimed a fifth trophy triumph in 10 years with a 7&6 win over Turnhouse team BBT in last year’s final.
Paul Cunningham, Craig Elliot, Craig Deerness and Allyn Dick delivered that latest victory, with the latter among those to sing the praises of the event’s first staging under the Edinburgh Leisure banner.
“It is a great tournament with a great atmosphere and I would encourage people to play in it next year,” said the former Lothians champion at the time.
That’s coming from a man who has played in most of the top amateur events in Britain, as well as representing Scotland in the Home Internationals.
He was delighted to see the Dispatch Trophy effectively being given a kiss of life 12 months ago and now Edinburgh Leisure is hoping to build on that event.
■ For further information on the 2017 Dispatch Trophy or to enter a team, email DispatchTrophy@edinburgh leisure.co.uk