Unique clubhead facility at Swanston Golf Club will treat players like a pro

A state-of-the-art golf club fitting centre has opened its doors at Swanston Golf Club, with European Tour star Stephen Gallacher among the first to pay it a visit.

Thursday, 6th June 2019, 6:30 am
Graeme Millar, the Swanston captain, and Scott Gourlay

Scott Gourlay, a PGA pro and expert club-fitter, is delighted with his new Tour Performance facility, which is unique in the Home of Golf.

“We are the only facility in Scotland which bases everything by the club head and actually build it on site,” said Gourlay, who also has two similar facilities in the Netherlands.

“If you go on a tour van, a pro can walk on and get anything he’s looking for, so why can’t an amateur get the same service? We want to allow individuals to get a clubhead and shaft that works for them.

“We want to make it unique for an amateur because, at the end of the day, you don’t have a tour player without having amateurs in the game.”

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Gourlay reckons he was “just 15 or 16” when he first had a vision for the new facility, which has come to fruition thanks to the backing of Graeme Millar, the Swanston captain and a stalwart in Lothians golf.

“The business plan when I decided to begin a rescue package was always about bringing golf people to Swanston,” said Millar, who has been a member at the Edinburgh club for more than 50 years. “It grew arms and legs when Scott got involved, to be honest.

“I was going to build a straightforward driving range, but then I found out that Scott was looking to build a centre like this.

“It was going to be significantly more than I envisaged at the start, so we had to find the finance and I had to beg, steal and borrow for that.

“The main thing for me was that Scott was so enthusiastic about the project and I had to find £150,000 or I was going to be letting him down. I’ve employed people all my life and I have tried never to let them down.

“There have been times when I’ve thought, ‘my goodness, this is bigger than I expected it to be’. But now that we are the completion stage and I see this and people hitting balls on the range, which is where I will get back some of my investment, it is a win-win.”

Gourlay, who left Craigmillar Park after 14 years to concentrate on his club-fitting business, reckons Swanston is the perfect location for the new facility, which is attracting clients from all over Scotland and even further afield.

“It’s vibrant up here,” he added. “There is great enthusiasm between Graeme and (club manager) Mike Robson and Alastair McClung, who owns the whole place. They only see the way forward rather than looking backwards, which is a total waste of time. This is a club that wants to go somewhere, which is great.”

Swanston is also a base for the Stephen Gallacher Foundation and recently staged a first Junior Golf Sixes event on its Templar Course featuring six Edinburgh clubs.

“As a team - Mike and I have known each other forever - we have turned Swanston Golf Club around as a business and this is just another aspect of further growth,” said Millar.

“I think golfers in around Edinburgh would be mad not to use this new facility. If they didn’t come just because we are another golf club, pity them because this is a facility that most of the golf clubs in Edinburgh don’t have. If people don’t come, what more can we do?”