The recent changes to amateur status rules,
particularly in relation to subsistence, are very
welcome in that they make it easier for amateurs
to plan their careers. How often have we heard of
young amateurs turning professional because they
perceive it too expensive to stay in the amateur
game, only to discover that the expense of playing
professional golf far outweighs any prize money
they might win?
Couple that with the loss of the support
structures available in the amateur game – golf
bodies provide their players with kit, clothing,
Twenty years ago, the gov-
erning bodies perceived that
they “lost” top amateurs to the professional ranks;
thankfully, these days are over and the movement
into the professional tours is seen now as a natu-
But top amateurs need to be ready to make the
w already proved themselves to be winners in
the top amateur events.
w the life skills and self-sufficiency to survive
the tour lifestyle while maintaining and enhancing
their golf skills.
w sufficient maturity to deal with success and
failure on and off the golf course.
w secured a tour card or at least sufficient
starts to give them a competitive edge.
w identified a fallback position, should they fail
to make the grade as a professional.
stay amateur long enough to play more than two
or three Curtis Cups. The only team member still
an amateur, Sally Watson, is in full- time education. The seven other team members have joined
the professional ranks, to date achieving varying
levels of success. It is to be hoped that they all will
be future Solheim Cup players and successful and
happy professional golfers.
Significant effort is being made by many golfing
bodies into smoothing the way for amateurs to
turn professional at the right time, and support at
this stage will be essential, particularly as the top
golfers increasingly are getting younger.
The LGU is working specifically with the LET to
provide opportunities for amateur players to test
their abilities in competition with professionals in
LET Access Series events, and a number of the national governing bodies have introduced initiatives
aimed at supporting young professionals.
But maybe we also need to concentrate on
re-engaging with those players exiting from the
professional ranks – or maybe the professional life
is just not suitable for some players, and remain-
ing amateur is the better option.
To Maureen Garrett
Veteran golf commentator Peter Alliss and leg-
endary World Golf Hall of Famer Judy Bell led the
tributes to Maureen Garrett at last month’s memo-
rial service at the historic Chelsea Old Church in
London. Maureen (“Pooh” to her friends), LGU
The esteem in which Mau-
reen was held was reflected
in those attending, with many
past Curtis Cup players and
representatives of both the USGA and the LGU
travelling to join Maureen’s family for a real
celebration of her life, contribution to golf and
mischievous sense of humour.
A reception in the church hall – designated
“The Clubhouse” for the occasion – was watched
over by Maureen’s huge and favourite Pooh Bear,
festooned in his Curtis Cup and LGU badges,
leading the present Curtis Cup captain, Tegwen
Matthews, to request his presence as the GB&I
team mascot at next year’s Curtis Cup at Nairn,
There’s no doubt Maureen will be there in
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