Monday, June 02, 2014


                                 View of the spacious clubhouse from The Duke's Course.




Stephen Gallacher won the European Amateur Championship 20 years ago and soon found himself rubbing shoulders with Arnold Palmer and Gary Player – now he hopes a fellow Scot can emulate him to book a spot in next year’s star-studded Open Championship in St Andrews.

Ryder Cup hopeful Gallacher enjoyed a stellar amateur career, with his 1994 triumph in the European Amateur in Finland, when he edged out countryman Gordon Sherry, among his highlights.

For the first time since 2003 at Nairn, Scotland hosts the prestigious event this year, adding to a wonderful mix of tournaments on Scottish soil in 2014, including the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen and The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

The Duke's Golf Club, owned by the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa in St Andrews, welcomes the cream of Europe from 6 – 9 August, with the field seeking to emulate Gallacher and other notable past European Amateur winners Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia.

Coming hot on the heels of the Fairstone Scottish Amateur Championship at Downfield the previous week, a feast of golf is sure to be enjoyed on the highly-regarded Fife lay-out.

Organised by the European Golf Association and the Scottish Golf Union, the stakes are especially high, as the winner receives an invitation to The Open Championship, taking place at St Andrews in 2015. 

When Gallacher won in 1994, the 20-year-old amateur earned a spot in the Lancome Trophy in France, playing just his second European Tour event. Vijay Singh triumphed, Seve Ballesteros was third and Colin Montgomerie fourth, with Palmer, Player and Lee Trevino also competing.

Gallacher, a three-time European Tour victor, looks back fondly and said: “I won the 1994 European Amateur Championship to get into the Lancome and it featured guys such as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino. It was a fabulous experience for me at that young age.

“It’s a great event, the European Amateur Championship. I can remember it well as I loved the European stage. I also did well at team level with Scotland, so they are nice memories for me.

“I wish all the players the very best of luck for the event at The Duke’s in August and a home win would obviously be fantastic, especially with a place in The Open at St Andrews up for grabs.”

The European Amateur was first played in 1986, with Gallacher the only Scot to take the title to date. Ryder Cup star Garcia (1995), Frenchman Gregory Havret (1999) and Sweden's Carl Petterson (2000) claimed success, while two-time Major champion McIlroy (2006) and another Frenchman, Victor Dubuisson (2009), set to make his Ryder Cup debut in September, are also past winners.

A number of Scottish players will hope to taste success in 2014, with four members of the SGU National Squads – Bradley Neil, Jamie Savage, Graeme Robertson and Ewen Ferguson – further honing their skills on the course during a practice round today.

The award-winning Duke's, highly regarded as one of the best heathland championship courses in the Britain, is certainly looking forward to hosting the latest instalment of an event rich in pedigree.

David Scott, Director of Operations at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa adds: "Derek Robson, head greenkeeper at The Duke's, and his team have done a fantastic job – and they are now on countdown for what will be one of the biggest events in the Club's history when The Duke's hosts the International European Men’s Amateur Championship.

"We will be welcoming the best amateur golfers from around the world who will be playing for a place in The Open Championship in 2015. The tournament – from 6 to 9 August – promises to be a fabulous event and is free for all spectators to come and enjoy with us."

The Duke’s course, designed by five-time Open winner Peter Thomson, is set in a spectacular location above St Andrews with panoramic views over the surrounding countryside to the sea. 
It underwent a major transformation in the last decade, re-opening eight years ago following substantial changes by American golf course architect, Tim Liddy, protégé of Pete Dye.

As part of the new Scottish Golf Membership Card offering, members of SGU and SLGA affiliated clubs can enjoy playing on The Duke’s course with an exclusive preferential green rate.
 From 1 May until 15 October, the price is £59 per person or £206 per four-ball and from 16 October until 31 March 2015 the cost is £40 per person.

To book your round at The Duke’s, call 01334 470214, email: Visit



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