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Junior golfers celebrate 12 years of support

Press Release   •   Jun 21, 2018 12:48 BST

Back: Joachim B Hansen, European Challenge Tour Professional golfer; Front: (l-r): Alex McGillivray (Nairn Dunbar GC); Scott MacKenzie (Muir of Ord GC); Jack Mann (Fortrose & Rosemarkie GC). Getty Images

Three young Highland golfers have had the experience of a lifetime to mark VisitScotland’s 12 years of support to one of the European Challenge Tour’s premier events – the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts.

The youngsters, each of whom were born in 2006 when VisitScotland’s support of the event began, had the opportunity to play alongside Danish professional golfer Joachim B Hansen in the prestigious event Pro-Am at the renowned Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club in Aviemore.

Jack Mann (Fortrose & Rosemarkie), Alex MacGillivray (Nairn Dunbar) and Scott MacKenzie (Muir of Ord) were each selected to represent Scotland’s national tourism organisation in the Pro-Am to celebrate 12 years of support as well as marking Scotland’s Year of Young People in 2018.

The event, which will take place at the Spey Valley resort for the tenth time from 21-24 June, is shown worldwide by 35 broadcasters, screening a total of 216 hours of coverage and delivering almost £1m of direct marketing benefit to the region.

Drawing players from across the globe, the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge showcases golf in the region and helps deliver Scotland’s Ryder Cup legacy programme, to build and deliver a strong portfolio of domestic golf events.

The event also helps support the development of Scottish golf by providing the opportunity for the next wave of Scottish touring professionals to advance to the next stage in their careers. Richie Ramsay, Scott Jamieson and Scott Henry are just three players who have previously used the event as a springboard to future success on the European Tour.

In addition, the tournament gives Scottish golfing fans the chance to get up close and personal with some of the game’s most promising up-and-coming stars. Ryder Cup star and Scotland’s highest-ranked male golfer, Stephen Gallacher, is a tournament ambassador of the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge while Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and Brooks Koepka have all played in the event in previous years.

Koepka’s victory in 2013 propelled him onto the European Tour and he has subsequently gone on to break into the world’s top five and become a double Major Championship winner, including last week’s victory in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said:I am delighted that these three youngsters could represent VisitScotland in the Pro-Am at the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge celebrating both Scotland’s Year of Young People and 12 years of our support for this wonderful event.

“Our support of the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge has provided a pathway for many of Scotland’s young professionals to further their careers as well as helping to showcase one of the country’s most scenic golfing regions to an international audience and I look forward to another great event in the Highlands this week.”

The youngsters were each identified by Willie MacKay, Scottish Golf’s Club Development Officer for the North and he added:“What a fantastic opportunity for three up and coming juniors to play with a Challenge Tour Professional on Macdonalds Spey Valley Championship Course in their Pro-Am for the Scottish Hydro Challenge. The experience has been a terrific one for them and they have done themselves and their clubs proud by representing them on such a big stage at a young age.

“It is great recognition for the successful junior coaching programmes in the Highlands and a fabulous way for these juniors to progress in their golfing careers, wherever that may take them.”

VisitScotland’s support of the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge is delivered by the EventScotland team within its Events Directorate. It is part of a world-class annual portfolio of golf events that delivers significant economic impact and international media profile for Scotland, promoting the country as the Home of Golf to a global audience.

Notes to Editors

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  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
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2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
  • The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
  • Participation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • Education – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • Health and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • Equality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
  • Enterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
  • Culture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website www.yoyp2018.scot or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.