Most folk dread the onset of senior moments in their lives but not the affable Ayrshireman Paul Girvan, who is director of golf at the Craig Group’s pioneering Kings Links Golf Centre.
‘I have turned 50 so I am now eligible for the Seniors tours and you only have to look for inspiration to the success of my Ayrshire contemporary Colin Montgomerie on the American circuit,’ said Paul, a former boys, youths and full international who joined the Prestwick St Nicholas club at the age of 12 and owes a lot to his dad, Raymond, still a handy player in his 70s. Paul reached the zenith of amateur golf when he made the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team that, sadly, lost heavily
to the Americans at Sunningdale in 1987.
‘It was men against boys,’ Paul added. ‘The Americans had warmed up by playing in two US pro tournaments so were used to the razzle-dazzle of TV cameras and thousands of spectators. Not us. Never mind, it was a fantastic experience and inspired me to turn professional in 1989.’
The following year, he signed up as senior assistant at the Kings Links centre with Banchory’s Bruce Davidson and Paul became head teaching professional in 1996 and director of golf eight years later. ‘We have just celebrated 25 years in business and are proud of the plaque we received to mark the occasion from Sandy Jones, the chief executive of the PGA,’ said Paul. ‘We are first and foremost the leading golf centre in the North-east with a variety of offerings: expert golf tuition, custom-fit services,
a large retail superstore and driving range facility, and coaching software that has enabled us to take expert tuition to a high level,’ he added.
‘Now is the perfect time to learn the game. We have three teaching and custom-fit studios where you can get private tuition and we send a videofile of your swing to your home. Even buying clubs has entered a new dimension, and our custom-fit service is the largest in the North-east. Our motto is: see it fly before you buy.’
The Kings Links Golf Centre, which enjoys ample parking, must be doing something right. Open seven days a week, it gets 75,000 people through its doors every year, many of them using the 56-bay floodlit driving range and hitting 6 million balls into the bargain. And the Craig Group’s commitment to golf extends to sponsoring Kings Links professional Scott Henderson on the Tartan Tour, fellow Aberdonian Richie Ramsay on the European Tour, Scott Henry on the Challenge Tour and Heinrich Bruiners on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa.
But let’s give Paul the last word. Don’t think he is a deskbound figures man; just cast a glance to a trophy on a shelf in his office. It is a replica of the Open championship’s Claret Jug and is played for annually by Kings Links staff. Guess who has won it three times in the last four years? Yes, Paul has put the whippersnappers in their place. Trend wishes him many happy ‘Senior’ moments.
Golf Road, Aberdeen AB24 1RZ
Tel: 01224 641577