As Colin McGregor comes to the end of his two years as captain, we caught up with him for our latest #OurElgin Q&A feature.
Colin reflects on his time in post, developments on and off the course… and his famous brother!
Colin, what has your captaincy role entailed over the last two years?
As Captain, I have overall responsibility for the management of all matters connected with Elgin Golf Club including the course, clubhouse, competitions and staff. It is a two-year post, although I have been on the Club’s council since 2014.
What success do you think has been achieved during your captaincy?
My two main aims were to improve communication across all areas of the Club and to make much needed improvements to the course and clubhouse. On the first point, the Club now has a new professional website and through regular newsletters and emails, I hope the members feel more informed as to what is happening around the Club.
In the Clubhouse, we have a new Sports Bar designed and constructed by members. The main Clubhouse area has been redecorated giving it a much more comfortable feel and on the course, our greenkeeping staff have made improvements to the greens, bunkers, pathways and generally tidied up the course. We have also installed a new irrigation system, a major investment which will protect our greens, tees and aprons for decades to come.
What has been your highlight?
The Five Day Opens have been my highlight. Seeing the Clubhouse buzzing and full of members and visitors every night enjoying a variety of entertainment and catering, watching a superb standard of golf in the final rounds and the integration of a Ladies Five Day Open into the format all made for a superb experience.
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining Elgin as a member, or playing as a visitor?
Most people who visit the North of Scotland tend to visit the big courses like Royal Dornoch, Castle Stewart and Nairn. However, with our superb location in the foothills of the Highlands right in the heart of Speyside, a superb challenging course and a friendly welcoming Clubhouse, Elgin Golf Club truly is a gem which is worthy of a visit.
For anyone considering joining as a member, I believe we are a forward thinking club with a strong, diverse membership who enjoy fantastic golf with a variety of membership packages on offer – all at very competitive prices.
You have a famous brother. Have you managed to persuade him to play Elgin / support your work? Has he offered you any advice? Does Ewan enjoy golf?
Unfortunately, Ewan hasn’t had the chance to play Elgin. He does play golf, but spends most of his time in Los Angeles where he lives and only really comes to the UK for work. The last time we played golf together was in Sydney in 2001 when he was there filming Moulin Rouge!
What are your hopes for Elgin going forward?
That we maintain the excellent progress we’ve already made in shaping and improving the course, encourage more people to join, particularly juniors and younger people who will be the future of the Club, and to maintain our excellent reputation as a friendly, welcoming Club.
After her recent appearance in the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at Castle Stuart, we continue the ‘Our Elgin’ website features with Sarah Westwood.
The 16-year-old is enjoying her golf, especially within the ladies’ section, and hopes to act as an inspiration to encourage more young girls along to the club…
Sarah, how long have you played golf for?
I started when I was about eight, but I only started playing competitions about three years ago. My handicap is down to five, I got cut quite a lot this year. I’ve won medals at the club and also won the handicap event in the ladies’ club championship earlier this year.
Why have you played the sport more in the last few years?
I’m just really interested in it now, and really enjoying it. Everyone that plays seems to be so nice and good fun, so it’s good.
Who do you play with?
I’m one of the few girls, but the ladies section is amazing and they are really nice to me. The ladies are always interested in how I’m getting on, really buzzing for me, which is really nice. I also play for the Northern Counties and there are girls within that. I won the Northern Counties girls scratch this year, too.
How did your appearance in the Duke of York event, a big international golf tournament for boys and girls, come about?
As it was played at Castle Stuart, the club asked the organisers if they could have two local players play in it who have done well – so they picked one girl and one boy. I was lucky enough to be picked, along with Calum Scott from Nairn. I was very excited to play in it.
I didn’t feel that nervous, but I didn’t play at all like I have played the whole season. The weather was also not great at all, really windy. I learnt where my weaknesses are and it really showed over a course like Castle Stuart. I know where I can improve, which helped me. It was an amazing experience, including the dinner before the event and the presentation at the end with the Duke of York. I really enjoyed it.
Where do you see your golf going?
I’m taking a gap year after leaving school to work on my golf. I’m also working at WHSmith. I’m looking into going to Elmwood College to go into golf coaching. I like the idea of that, so we will see how things go.
How much do you enjoy Elgin GC?
I really like the ladies’ section and it would be nice to have more junior girls involved. The club are trying as much as they can and I would perhaps like to help out with the coaching. Maybe if the young girls see that a girl is doing pretty well they may want to get involved too. Many of the top men players at Elgin are very interested in my golf as well.
Follow more from Sarah on Twitter @sarahwestwood_
Welcome to our new ‘Our Elgin’ website feature where we bring you Q&A interviews from individuals associated with the club, from on the course to off it. We hope you enjoy hearing different stories from your club.
First up is David Rumbles, who has enjoyed a busy summer of activity…
David, what is your job title and how long have you been doing it?
I’m Deputy Head Greenkeeper and I have been in this role for two years now.
How much do you enjoy the role?
I’m very proud of the fact I achieved Deputy at the age of 22, I very much enjoy my role. This can be a challenging role from time to time, but I feel it is all a learning process.
What is your favourite part of the job?
My favourite part of the job is repairs. I like taking something that isn’t working or broken and getting it back in working order. I enjoy being part of a team that wants to drive the golf course to a higher level.
What have been your career highlights to date?
I received an R&A scholarship in 2009, which I am very proud of. I have volunteered at seven European Tour and R&A events so far, one of which was in South Africa and another being a Major championship. I hope to keep volunteering throughout my career.
You were working this summer at The Amateur Championship and The Ricoh Women’s British Open. Outline those experiences.
I worked The Amateur Championships at Murcar and Royal Aberdeen in June this year through my R&A Scholarship. This was a great experience as I knew a lot of the volunteers there, but it gave me a chance to work alongside them and get to know them better.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in August was different as I didn’t know anyone I was going to work with. This wasn’t a problem as everyone was very welcoming. That was the first Major competition I have helped out at, but hopefully won’t be the last.
Do working at such events bring extra pressure? Any notable celebrity meetings?
I wouldn’t say they bring extra pressure, it’s the unknown when you arrive, but they do bring 4am starts and 10pm finishes! Being accepted as part of a team straight away makes it really enjoyable, and I have made some great friendships along the way.
I have had a few player meetings down the years. Phil Mickelson came down to the greenkeeping sheds at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart. I had a good chat with Ken Brown at Royal Lytham and I also briefly met Gary Player in South Africa.
How big a part has Elgin GC been in your life?
Elgin has been a huge part of my career. I have been at Elgin for a total of five years now and for the last two Elgin GC has been my life. The work doesn’t just stop when your shift is over, I’m often still working or studying when I get home.
What would you say to people who may be keen on joining Elgin GC?
Elgin is one of the best inland courses in the north of Scotland, it is a long challenging test of golf. Elgin isn’t just keen to improve the golf course but to encourage wildlife and do our bit for the environment. Elgin also has a warm welcoming clubhouse with a great view of the 18th.
What are your hopes for the future, personally?
I would like to be in a Head Greenkeeper/Course Manager position for a good few years before eventually going on to study golf course architecture.
Follow more from David on Twitter @DavidR_EGC
National Club Golfer Review
Elgin Golf Club were recently visited by Dan Murphy from National Club Golfer. Click the link below to see his review.
Welcome to our new website!
Junior Summer Camps
Get On Course with Junior Camps this Summer Holidays at Elgin Golf Club
We have 3-Day Junior Camps running throughout the summer holidays. Our main aim is to get juniors enjoying golf and having fun at the golf club whilst also gaining valuable information which will help build their confidence and get them on course!
To book you can either pop into the Professional Shop or phone us on 01343 542884. Cost is £30 per child per week. Cash or cheque (made payable to Ben Munro) would be preferable.
Each day will be 3 hours and meet will be outside the professional shop each day. If juniors could bring a snack and plenty of water (For the great weather) we will stop at some point for a break and to keep hydrated.
We will need each parent/guardian to fill in a registration form before the camp begins regarding some contact information and consent for photographs etc. These forms will be available in the shop. Limited spaces available so get your name in as soon as possible.
Please Click Here for More Information on Junior Summer Camps
Ladies Introduction to Golf
Over the last few weeks you may have seen an increase in the numbers of ladies around the club, especially on a Tuesday and Thursday night.
We sent out an invitation to ladies (new to golf) to sign up to 6 weeks coaching, to which we have had a great response, 60 ladies showed interest with approx 50 signing up.
A huge thank you to our Club Golf coaches who are whole heartily supporting this initiative, and giving up their time to teach the ladies, also to a great number of our members who are supporting the coaches every week.
Its great to see so many people getting involved.