Guest blog by Stuart Wilson, The Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire
Carbon enjoys a long-standing corporate partnership with The Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire, where managing secretary Stuart Wilson is ready to roll-out the welcome mat to visitors as pandemic protocols are relaxed.
Stuart’s name adorns the Amateur Championship and he teed-up at The Masters and The Open – winning the prestigious Silver Medal at Royal Troon in 2004.
Carbon’s European Tour ambassador, Richie Ramsay, recently took us on a fascinating webinar trip down memory lane - and indeed Magnolia Lane. It’s a journey familiar to Stuart, although his career path led him in a different direction after university and scaling the heights of amateur golf.
The former Junior Ryder Cup Team Europe captain is combining his role at Blairgowrie with the captaincy of the GB&I team, taking on the USA in this year’s Walker Cup in Florida.
"With the challenges posed by lockdown behind us, it’s great that golf is returning to something like normal. The team at Blairgowrie is looking forward to welcoming the many visitors who have been booking tee-times on our Rosemount and Lansdowne championship courses.
Richie’s webinar for Carbon took me back to my own experiences at Augusta in 2005. Blairgowrie’s Bradley Neil is another Scot whose Amateur win paved the way to The Masters and it is an experience that never leaves you. And wasn’t it lovely to see another of our more recent members, Robert McIntyre, making such an impact in this year’s championship, with that 12th place finish earning him a return ticket in 2022 and enhancing his Ryder Cup prospects. There can’t be many clubs where three of us have all had the honour of playing in The Masters.
Unlike Bob, I didn’t make it through to the weekend and had to hand back the keys to the white Cadillac I’d been given to get around! I left my hometown Forfar Golf Club after 15 years to take up the Blairgowrie post just as the pandemic was hitting home last year. So the past 12 months hasn’t quite panned out as I had anticipated.
On my first day I didn't even get to the desk when we had to close our three courses – Rosemount, Lansdowne and the Wee Course – because they were covered in snow. Then, like other clubs, we entered into lockdown and had to send staff home.
Even when the courses were given the green light to re-open we were unable to welcome members and visitors living outwith Perth and Kinross because of travel restrictions. It’s good to be rolling out the welcome mat again.
On the plus side, with the nationwide boom in golf last summer we picked-up around 80 new members and we have held onto most of them for the 2021 season, with new names still coming in on a daily basis. Many of the new faces are in the younger category that all clubs are seeking.
The Masters, of course, is traditionally the time of year when Scottish golfers get the clubs out of the attic or the back of the garage. And it’s great for our team, including head pro Neil Cameron, to be returning to some sort of normality and seeing members and visitors enjoying the facilities for which Blairgowrie is rightly renowned.
Carbon Financial has been an excellent corporate partner over a number of years now and we have welcomed corporate days featuring Richie Ramsay and Paul Lawrie in the past. Richie also delighted members with a Q&A and even provided an impromptu putting lesson in the foyer on one visit! It is fantastic to see that relationship going from strength to strength and we look forward to welcoming back the Carbon team and their clients to Blairgowrie.
On a personal note, it promises to be a busy year. After captaining the Junior Ryder Cup team in 2012 and at Blairgowrie in 2014, I’m looking forward to helping this year’s captain Paul Lawrie select his team for Wisconsin and, of course, there’s the small matter of the Walker Cup at Seminole further down the line.”
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