AS effervescent characters go, Iain Stoddart remains as bubbly as a shipping container of Prosecco that has been given a right good shoogle on the high seas. His management company, Bounce, could not be more aptly named. There is certainly a spring in the step of Scotland’s golfers these days and Stoddart has assembled such an impressive stable he just about has to hire a blacksmith.

Robert MacIntyre has been the stand out this year, while fellow young ’uns like Grant Forrest and Calum Hill are making impressive strides on the main tour. In sturdy stalwart Stephen Gallacher, meanwhile, Stoddart got to savour another tour triumph as his client won in India earlier in the campaign.

Helping to nurture a new generation of talent from the game’s cradle has been Stoddart’s driving passion for almost 15 years. Along with his trusted sidekick, Derek Christie, the Bounce boys were major protagonists in the push to aid the amateur-to-professional transition, a notoriously treacherous and head-scratching manoeuvre which has caused so much agonised teeth-gnashing, most folk involved in Scottish golf now have falsers.


Scores of talented amateur golfers had thrived and were tipped for grand things but, upon turning pro with little financial backing or assistance, struggled to keep their heads above water and disappeared into obscurity. Stoddart was well aware of the vast gap in player development.

In a meaty document broadly equivalent to the Beveridge Report, a detailed plan for bolstering the health of rookie professionals in Scotland was mapped out in "Fusion Scotland" and, essentially, called for the various stakeholders in the game to work together for a wider cause. In a such a fragmented scene as Scotland, with different bodies all protecting their little areas, it was an exercise in marshalling akin to a sheepdog trial.

“Fusion Scotland was the blueprint and we were pretty much pioneers in getting young players through,” said Stoddart. “To get it into its best form, it took Blane Dodds [former chief executive of Scottish Golf] to do that. He really got Scottish Golf aligned. Rather than looking at us as a big bad management company he knew we could work together for that crucial amateur to pro transition. Blane was only there for a year but he bought into it. He had his critics for other things but he was brilliant for seeing that through. We are a small country. It made so much sense for people to bang their heads together as opposed to pulling in different directions.

“I always thought it was glaringly obvious what we needed to do but it took a few leaps of faith. People had to relinquish a bit of power. It took 10 years to be implemented properly.”

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It is now beginning to bear fruit. The likes of MacIntyre, Forrest, Conor Syme, Ewen Ferguson and others were all given valuable experience of professional events as amateurs in tournaments like the Scottish Hydro Challenge on the Challenge Tour while, in MacIntyre and Forrest’s case, financial aid, support and general guidance from Stoddart’s wider arrangements armed them with valuable tools for the demanding, unforgiving professional workplace.

“The first year or two as a pro can make or break you,” Stoddart said. “It’s hard to get off to a good start if you don’t have two ha’ pennies to rub together. You’re starting with one arm tied behind your back. It looks good now with the young players coming through. That’s down to their hard work but the one thing they weren’t deprived off was the opportunity. When they turned pro they had a chance. They had a taste of competition, they had funding and a bit of hand-holding to guide them over the bump. We are not playing God at the whole thing but it seems to have worked.”


MacIntyre’s rookie of the year winning campaign saw him rack up prize money of around £1.7m.

“We are not ones for trying to find a shop where a player can buy a boat,” said Stoddart of Bounce’s grounded approach to the trappings of the successes enjoyed by the players. “No matter how much goes in the bank you are still operating at a realistic level. You are not sharing a tiny Fiat 500 with five other boys and clubs sticking out the windows but at the same time you are not staying in the Dorchester every week either. There’s a way to do it. In golf you’re never that far away from a kick in the baws so you have to celebrate the highs when they come along.

"If players want an extravagance then they can. They have earned it but we don’t have guys like that. We don't have any Flash Harry types."