Gullane head pro Alasdair Good is hoping his latest PGA trainee is a chip off the old block, having felt confident about adding Katy McNicoll to his staff after seeing her big brother, Keir, come through that programme with flying colours at the East Lothian club.
Keir, who recently took up a new post as a senior PGA professional with Carnoustie Golf Links, did his boss at Gullane proud, picking up the Rookie of the Year title for his PGA training programme work in 2014 before adding the Titleist PGA Assistant of the Year award two years later. He’s set a high bar for anyone else Good puts through the acclaimed programme at the Scottish Open venue, but he is delighted that one of the first to actually follow in his footsteps is another member of the McNicoll family.
“Katy says there are lots of things that she was better at than Keir, including having won more money than him, so he’s still got some catching up to do,” joked Good, referring to Katy’s spell on the LET Access Series. “Plus, she tells me she’s not half as grumpy as her brother!
“As far as following in Keir’s footsteps, Katy or any of my staff will have a tough act to follow. I think the count for Scottish Trainees of the Year is up to around 10 and two have gained the GB&I crown, so it’s a high bar for the next generation to rise to.”
Katy, who has joined Ailsa Murphy as a trainee on Good’s staff, is up for the challenge, having stumbled upon a timely reminder of her brother’s biggest achievement during his training when she recently paid a visit to the PGA’s national headquarters.
“The standard of professionals that have passed through the PGA programme at Gullane is very high and, with Keir winning the prestigious Trainee of the Year Award, the bar has definitely been set,” she said. “I felt very proud when I saw his name on the wall at The Belfry during my residential week and I will try my hardest to achieve the best results I can over the next three years.
“Some may say I have a hard act to follow but I don’t see it that way. I learned a lot from Keir in the six months we worked together, but hopefully I can just be myself and apply the hard work ethic that our parents instilled in us.
“My team think we’re pretty similar with the same mannerisms, but they’ve already worked out that I’ve got better banter than he does so they’re in for a treat! I’m really looking forward to the summer kicking off and learning more from my awesome team at Gullane.”
Keir admitted he’d been “very sad” to leave and said it took the lure of an Open venue to entice him away. “When the opportunity came up at Carnoustie, it was something that really intrigued me,” he said. “It’s not often a senior position becomes available at such a prestigious course so close to an Open Championship (next year’s event is there). The fact I grew up in the town made it an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”