Golf: Stephen Gallacher crosses his fingers for Lothian foundation

STEPHEN GALLACHER stole a line from Field of Dreams, the baseball film starring Kevin Costner, as he launched his new junior foundation in the Lothians.

The European Tour star, who has installed Lothians stalwart Scott Knowles to manage the new initiative, said he didn’t have a clue how many youngsters would take part in a calendar events the pair have drawn up.

“I’m having sleepless nights hoping kids come – I’m just building the thing and hoping they will come,” said Gallacher at the launch held at Kingsfield Golf Range on the outskirts of Linlithgow.

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The 37-year-old is basing his Foundation on the successful model established by Paul Lawrie in the Aberdeen area over the past night years.

“Paul said some weeks only six kids came to his events and sometimes there were only three girls,” added Gallacher. “But eventually, if you do the tournaments properly, they tell their pals and it escalates. This year is a test in terms of the numbers involved but I think it will go well.”

Gallacher’s decision to utilise the services of Knowles, a top amateur at one time and the current Scottish captain, appears to be a masterstoke as he knows the Lothians scene inside out.

So, too, is the move to get Jane Connachan, one of the many coaches that are based at Robert Arkley’s excellent Kingsfield facility these days.

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“It’s been two long years in the planning but now we’re ready to go,” said Gallacher as he sat alongside wife Helen, who will be heavily involved in the Foundation’s running, at the launch.

Praising the new initiative, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Foundations such as this, and the Paul Lawrie Foundation in the north-east of Scotland, are a welcome addition to Scottish golf.

“They will sit alongside the efforts of the Scottish Government’s clubgolf programme, giving our youngsters the opportunity to learn and enjoy playing the great game of golf.”