Inverness teenager dominating Scottish girls' golf to play at European Championship
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SUMMER Elliott is proving that she is becoming a driving force in Scottish girls’ golf as she is dominating the season after picking up a number of impressive tournament victories.
The Inverness teenager lifted the Stephen Gallacher Vase earlier this month against the top young players in the country.
She added the title to the Paul Lawrie Junior Quaich and Barrie Douglas Scottish Junior Masters both held earlier this month too.
In addition, she made history when she became the first girl to win the Inverness Golf Club Junior Championship last weekend.
Elliott (16), who is a member of Inverness Golf Club and Nairn Golf Club, is fast becoming known as the top player for her age group in Scotland.
Her success and ability has been recognised after being called up to the Scotland squad for the European Girls’ Team Championship at Golf Club d’Hossegor in France on Tuesday, July 11.
Elliott has represented Scotland in team competitions in the past, but says this is another great chance to play against top golfers from across Europe.
“There are 16 countries taking part so it will be a good experience to play in the European Team Championship,” said Elliott.
“The first two days are strokeplay, then it goes into matchplay, and then they choose the girls’ best scores from each country and then get split into categories.
“There are some good players in our team and I think that we could do quite well.”
Elliott got into sport from a young age and played a variety of sports as she proved to be an all round athlete.
However, it was quickly ascertained that she had a natural ability for golf, which she has proven with her major success in her young career.
She says golf as a sport in general suits her temperament and personality, which is a key reason why she believes that she has been so successful.
“When I was younger, I was trying lots of different sports as I just liked getting involved. I tried athletics, badminton, swimming and tennis when I was younger.
“But I decided to do golf as I felt that was the sport that I did best at.
“I thought golf suited me as I am quite a calm person in nature.
“When I was 10, I won the Nairn Golf Club Ladies Handicap Trophy.
“I was playing against older women in the tournament without a caddie.
“There was a audience watching and it was really to nice play in front of a crowd and I have enjoyed it ever since.
“I really enjoy the attention of playing in front of a crowd.
“It doesn’t really make me feel nervous any more. It used to, but it is something that I enjoy now.
“Nothing really distracts me that much when I am playing golf.“
Her performances in winning major competitions this month have been impressive.
At the Stephen Gallacher Vase at Schloss Roxburghe near Kelso, she claimed victory by four shots.
She was even more impressive at the Barrie Douglas Scottish Junior Masters, at her favourite golf course at Strathmore, when she won by eight shots.
Elliott says she has worked with some great coaches during her career which has helped her achieve success across Scotland as well as being called up to represent her country.
“I played my first tournament when I was eight-years-old and I worked with coach Gary Lister at Nairn Dunbar Golf Club,” said Elliott.
“I am now working with Martin Piggot who is the head professional at Fairways Golf Club.
“He has been a big help during my career and helped improved my game.
“He has helped the technical aspects of my game and also help the strongest part of my game which I think is putting.”
However, it is not just on the golf course where Elliott is working hard to improve her game.
While spending hours on the greens, she is also putting in plenty of time at the gym.
“I practice six times a week on the golf course where I at least spend two to three hours everyday,” she said.
“But I also do a fitness programme at the University of Highlands and Islands.
“It helps me become stronger. It is an important part of my training, as the further you are able to hit the ball, the more of an advantage it can give you in competitions.”
As well as impressing on the Scottish golf scene, Elliott has signed major sponsorship deals which she says will be vital in her progression.
She recently signed a long term sponsorship deal with Springfield Properties.
She also has sponsorship deals with Scottish Golf, Titleist and Fairways Golf Club in Inverness.
As part of the sponsorship deals, she receives financial investment as well as clothing and golf equipment to help her compete on the tour.
Elliott is also a Stephen Gallacher Foundation ambassador which is an initiative that is designed to give children the opportunity to play golf.
As part of her work, Elliott has given coaching tips to youngsters who hope to follow in her footsteps one day.
She says to anyone who wants to be a successful golfer like her should learn to enjoy playing the game first.
“When you start golf you just need to enjoy the sport. If you enjoy it, you will play better. As I grew older, I found myself growing in confidence and everything started to fall into place.”
Elliott is also supported by the Highland Athlete Travel Award Scheme.
The initiative which is supported by SportScotland and High Life Highland, supports 17 athletes in the Highlands across 12 sports.
The scheme helps to prepare the best athletes from Highland to perform on the national and international stage.
They provide financial support for Highland athletes to access high performance expertise in sport.
It also aims to help Highland athletes to consistently achieve selection to national age grade, national GB programmes and ultimately winning on the world stage.
Elliott says it is her ultimate aim to become a professional golf player and feels if she continues her current form, can be on her way to achieving her dream.
“My ambition is to become a professional golf player one day,” she said.
“Thanks to all the support and sponsorship deals I have received so far, I think that it could help me do that.”
In the meantime, Elliott is looking to enjoy more success at home this year.
She said: “The Scottish Girls Amateur Championship at Cardrona Golf Club is one tournament that I have my eye on I would really like to win.”