THINGS have moved on a bit since Stephen Gallacher first started honing his game under the instinctive eye of that mighty swing guru, Bob Torrance. “It’s slightly more advanced than when I was practising with a 5-iron and a bag of Balatas,” reflected Gallacher of those roll-up-the-sleeves sessions down at Inverclyde where Torrance would growl various pearls of golfing wisdom while wreathed in billowing plumes of fag reek. “I’d be doing 600 to 700 balls a day easily. And making the tea. Bob instilled the work ethic in me.”

That work ethic has stood Gallacher in great stead during a long, successful professional career that has brought four tour triumphs and a Ryder Cup appearance. Golf has been good to him but the Scot continues to be good for golf too.

The effort Gallacher and his wider team puts in to spreading the game’s gospel through his own Foundation continues to inspire a new generation of golfers while the opening of his come all ye Centre of Excellence at Kingsfield in Linlithgow this week underlined his commitment to the cause.

It’s a facility far removed from his formative days battering those aforementioned Balata balls. With state-of-the-art equipment, from a Huxley putting green to two Trackman bays, this brand new installation is so high-tech it makes the Hadron Collider look about as cutting edge as a poke of parsnips.

“You’ve got to give something back to the game,” said Gallacher as he surveyed a bustling scene of local school children trying out the various golfing gizmos and gadgets. Even the ham-fisted golf writers had a go. “I’ve been lucky. I’ve had 26 years on tour. If I didn’t give back, it would be a waste of 26 years for me. I want to give people the chance to enjoy the game as much as I have.

“I just want to get kids involved in golf. Speaking to other Scottish pros, nearly all of our parents all played golf. We’re trying to get the people who have never played, or whose parents don’t play golf.

“The best way to do that is get it at school level. If you don’t, you have to rely on parents or someone else to take them along. You might miss these people who could have been among the best in the game yet never had the opportunity to try it. I don’t want there to be any excuses. I don’t want people saying they haven’t any clubs or they had nowhere to go. We’ll do all that. We’ve got minibuses to bring them from the school and take them back, there’s no costs involved at all. It’s all taken care of by the Foundation.

“I’ve seen kids come through from a young age and play in Walker Cups, Curtis Cups and stuff like that.

“Look at Bob MacIntyre? He won one of my tournaments only a few years ago. That’s a by-product. It’s all about getting more people playing golf.”

MacIntyre himself knows how valuable such facilities can be in the cradle of the game. Having experienced at first hand the development at Kingsfield, the two-time tour winner would like to see more. It’s easier said than done but where there’s a will, there’s a way. “To develop golf around Scotland, we need about 20 or 30 of these facilities,” said MacIntyre, who admitted he has his own ambitions of setting up an all-embracing Foundation-type project in his native Oban that wouldn’t be solely based on golf.

“This is one of the best I’ve seen. We need more places, plotted around the country, to give us more of a chance in the wintertime.”

As for Gallacher’s winter? Well, the 47-year-old will be off to Spain next week for the qualifying school final where he will strive to regain the DP World Tour card he lost at the end of a trying campaign. The drive and the determination remains undiminished.

“I still want to play golf and I still want to do it at the highest level,” he said with spirited defiance. “I’ve had a bit of a blip but my game’s good enough to compete so I’ll be going there to give it my best. I’ve been to the qualifying school three times before and got my card three times. Hopefully, I can do it again.”

Whatever the outcome at qualifying school, Gallacher’s endeavours at the grassroots will ensure the future is in good golfing hands.