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Ian Rae appointed Scottish national coach

Golf has stated its intention to challenge football as Scotland's national game by appointing Ian Rae its first national coach.

It is also hoped that Rae will improve on Scotland's position as one of the major golfing nations.

He is currently head coach at the Scottish National Golf Centre at Drumoig and won sportscotland's Scottish professional coach of the year award earlier in 2000.

The new full-time post created by the Scottish Golf Union aims to further strengthen the performance of Scotland's elite golfers.

It has been funded with the help of Lottery money through sportscotland.

Rae said: "This is a wonderful opportunity and I am relishing the prospect."

He has already been helping train Scotland's senior squads and individual players for more than four of his 14 years as a coach.

"Having worked with many of the players over the last 18 monhts, I know just how much potential there is out there," said Rae.

"Scotland has a wonderful pool of talented golfers.

"You only have to look at our results this season to see just how strong a base we have and I am determined to build on that success."

Rae played a pivotal role in those successes by national teams this season.

The mens' squad won the home internationals for the first time in 14 years, the boys won the European team championship in Holland, while the youths' squad were second.

Rae currently coaches Scottish amateur champion Steven O'Hara and European Tour players Alastair Forsyth, Stephen Gallacher and Graham Rankin.

Of course, Colin Montgomerie was, until this year, Europe's top player for several years, while Paul Lawrie won last year's Open.

There are four Scots in the world's top 75, while England, with a much larger population, has only one.

"We are very successful on the European Tour and the world stage," he said.

"We have Andrew Coltart, Gary Orr has won twice this year, Monty has been top dog for so long and Paul winning the Open was absolutely fantastic.

"What I need to do is get as many players into the professional ranks as I possibly can and, along the way, be successful as amateurs.

"And probably make golf more at the forefront in Scotland and back as our national game."

The new national coach will take up his new position in the new year.

SGU secretary Hamish Grey said: "We have already invested in world-class training facilities at the Scottish National Golf Centre at Drumoig.

"And now, with a full-time national coach in place, we can devise world-class training programmes for our players to help take Scottish golf to a new level."

It is hoped that the new post will also help increase the number of people playing the game.

Sportscotland chairman Alastair Dempster added: "I am sure that this new role will build on these foundations to provide a strong base from which to help make Scotland one of the premier golfing nations in the world."


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