Aug 26 2011 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
Ian Redford strides out at Gleneagles
TEENAGE pro Ian Redford was the envy of more experienced golfers when he teed-up yesterday in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
And Gleneagles head professional Russell Smith admits rubbing shoulders with European Tour stars will be a massive learning curve for an 18-year-old who learned his trade as a kid at King James VI Golf Club in Perth.
Smith said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for young Ian to sample what a Tour event is all about. He’s in with the big boys here.
“I know he has played a few EuroPro Tour tournaments but this is completely different. I’m sure he will make the most of it. He has already ticked a few boxes and my advice would be to get out there again on Friday, relax into it and enjoy himself.”
As revealed in Tuesday’s PA Sport, Redford, who joined the pro ranks earlier this year, was handed a coveted invitation by tournament chairman Colin Montgomerie.
Smith said: “I know there are spectators at some of the top amateur competitions but this is very different. There are a lot of distractions, with photographers and cameramen around.
“It is a mind set thing for Ian and he has a chance to take his game on to another level. However he does, he will be a better player for the experience and he will see how his peers handle themselves and take on board their course management.
“The course has been prepared to the highest standard. There has been so much attention to detail shown by Scott Fenwick and his greenkeeping staff.
“The speed of the green is faster than Ian is used to here and the set-up is more challenging.
“Like any other player this week it is about minimising the number of bad shots you hit, not about how many good ones you produce.”
Smith recalls Redford taking advantage of the Gleneagles facilities as a member of the Perth and Kinross County U16 team, en route to a Scottish title.
He said: “I remember him first coming here at 12 or 13. So this is a fantastic opportunity for young Ian to sample what a European Tour event is all about. And it will be a buzz for any of the coaches who have helped him along the way.
“His dad, Ian, was a member here so he knows the golf course because he came through the county set-up and the junior programme here, following on from guys like Wallace Booth, Gavin Dear and Kevin McAlpine.
“More recently Danny Young and Paul McPhee have all taken advantage of the set-up at Gleneagles and, like Ian, they have played for Scotland.
“At Gleneagles we are delighted to have played our part in helping develop youngsters through the county system. It would be nice to see other local talent playing at future Johnnie Walker events here.”