Free golf coaching made available to Edinburgh schoolkids

Stephen Gallacher, centre, was joined at Prestonfield House Hotel by from left, Gregor Townsend, Steven Whittaker, Dougie Donnelly, Paul Lawrie, Jamie Donaldson and Scott Brown
Stephen Gallacher, centre, was joined at Prestonfield House Hotel by from left, Gregor Townsend, Steven Whittaker, Dougie Donnelly, Paul Lawrie, Jamie Donaldson and Scott Brown
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Pupils at Bonaly Primary School are set to become the first in the Capital to receive free golf coaching from the Stephen Gallacher Foundation.

That opportunity has been available in recent years to schools in Gallacher’s native West Lothian, with Kingsfield Golf Centre outside Linlithgow being the base.

Now three-time European Tour winner Gallacher is also offering free coaching to Capital schoolkids at Swanston.

“We have free use of the Templar Course and practice facilities at Swanston so we have decided to open up this opportunity to as many schools – primary or secondary – within the Edinburgh and Lothians area,” said Scott Knowles, manager of the Stephen Gallacher Foundation.

“Therefore, we are offering all schools in Edinburgh the chance to try golf free of charge. We will supply the balls, clubs (if required) and professionals to do the coaching.”

That will be provided by former LET player Jane Connachan along with former Duddingston amateur ace James McGhee and Louis Gaughan, the Scottish Par-3 champion from Bathgate.

“The days and times available for this are Monday to Thursday from 9am-4pm. All we ask is that the school make their own way to and from the course and have one teacher or classroom assistant with them,” added Knowles.

“We would look to do courses either in four or six-week blocks with the school specifying the time they want to come for one hour. Ideally, timings would be from 9am-4pm but this can be changed.

“At the end of the course, we would like to have an inter school tournament at the end of June between all schools involved in the coaching, but this all depends on numbers.”

Gallacher’s foundation has gone from strength to strength since it was launched in 2012 and it received another big boost recently when a dinner at Prestonfield House Hotel raised more than £86,000.

That figure beat the total from last year’s inaugural event at the same venue, delighting Gallacher as the funds will go towards helping his foundation introduce more young people to golf. “Once again I am totally overwhelmed at the response from this year’s Foundation Dinner,” said Gallacher, who was reunited at the event by his 2014 Ryder Cup team-mate, Jamie Donaldson.

Guests also included two-time Ryder Cup player Paul Lawrie, Scotland rugby coach Gregor Townsend, Celtic captain Scott Brown and Hibs defender Steven Whittaker.

“I really am grateful to everyone who helped us raise just over £86,000, both those who donated items for auction lots and raffle prizes and also those who dug deep on the night,” added Gallacher.

“This is going to have a huge impact on what the Foundation can do to introduce even more boys and girls to golf.”