A day to remember: when snooker meets golf

21:06:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Last month, on 23rd of August, some of Scotland's great snooker exports changed the good old fashioned green baize with the golf's green grass.
Current world champion John Higgins along with Graeme Dott, Stephen Maguire, Stephen Hendry, Marcus Campbell, Alan McManus and the future snooker stars Scott Mackenzie and Anthony McGill took part at Scottish Snooker Golf Day, a fundraising event that gives a helping hand to Scotland's junior snooker.

Many of us have been wondering what the snooker players do when they are not practicing or taking part in tournaments. One of the possible answers is this: they play golf. And for a good cause.

The Scottish Snooker Golf Day was held at Mar Hall and according to Jim Stewart from Connoisseur Golf (the organiser of the event) it was a "great success". They finished with a cheque of £2,500 which may not seem like a lot for some, but it surely will matter for those who are making their first steps into achieving a snooker career.

Stephen Hendry and his team
Many people took interest in this event and paid the required fee in order to spend a day next to a professional snooker player, but also to land a helping hand to Scotland's junior snooker by doing so. Leroy "Tiger" Wilson was among those who experienced a full day of golfing with the snooker legends. He was part of John Higgins' team and had the time of his life.

Helplessly in love with snooker (besides being a football fan and a feverishly golf player for the last five years), Leroy was brought up with the likes of Alex "The Hurricane" Higgins, the six-time world champion Steve Davis, the one and only Jimmy White, the joyful Dennis Taylor, the scary Ray Reardon and the list can go on.
Nowadays, he is very proud to say that one of his favourite players, Stephen Hendry is actually living in the same town as he is. More reason to love snooker.

But Leroy is not just a snooker fan, being actually very seriously involved in the business as a sponsor. He honestly admits that a year ago a friend asked him if he would be interested in getting involved with Scottish Junior Snooker and although at the beginning he wasn't very sure, the idea started to grow more and more on him as soon as he found out more about the subject.

Leroy Wilson (left) and the whole gang (including J. Higgins)
"Now my company which is based in Perth - www.tayplay.com - is one of the main sponsors of Scottish Junior Snooker, sponsoring the Under 14 division, which has benefited Perth potter Ethan Laing."

"I also personally sponsor Perth potter Scott Donaldson currently Under 19 and Under 21 national champion and #1 ranked Scottish Junior. I'm hoping to get the Tayplay logo and my own weather page logo - "windy Wilson" on his waistcoat for the start of the 2011/2012 season."

Getting back to the Scottish Snooker Golf Day, Leroy recalls:

"I was very excited about playing with the current world snooker champion as well as having the chance to play with all the Scottish snooker pro's and a few football legends as well. Ex-Celtic players Andy Walker, who I've played football with at Celtic Park back in 2003 for charity, and Tom Boyd were there also, along with ex-Rangers goalkeeper Andy Goram. We met Andy Goram outside whilst waiting to tee off and must admit he was a bit of a character, and if that was the benchmark then just new the day was going to be a good one!!”

Leroy Wilson and John Higgins
"My two friends and I arrived at Mar Hall just after 9am and registered, then proceeded to go into the lounge to soak up the atmosphere and get our bacon rolls and coffee."

"As our tee time approached John Higgins appeared and introduced himself. We all found him extremely nice and pleasant and very approachable. So off we went to the 1st tee and the start of our 'mini adventure' - the golf wasn't the best to be fair but the criac was good."

"John contributed well to the score as well, recording 2 x eagle 4 pointers for the team, myself I managed to get 1 x eagle 4 pointer. Sadly though the first 9 put paid to any chances we had of winning. John was good enough to come back and join us for lunch and a few drinks, and we sat with Greame Dott, Andy Goram and a few other guests, and the banter was flowing backwards and forwards over dinner, all good natured of course and mainly about the 'old firm' and football, snooker and golf in general."

Although it was a fun event the Scottish Snooker Golf Day is a serious business, for as I've told you before, the main goal is to raise a good amount of money in order to help develop junior snooker in Scotland.

Golf chit-chat
Jim Stewart, the organiser from Connoisseur Golf said: "The reason for the event though was to raise funds for junior snooker, and we managed to finish with a cheque for £2,500. This goes towards the junior development fund which helps pay for entry fees, transportation and accommodation."

"Junior snooker is beginning to flourish again in Scotland, highlighted by the individual success of Ross Muir and the victorious U16 team at this week's Home Internationals. Hat's off to the current professionals for supporting the boys - not only by playing at the golf day but through several other avenues."

So with the help of famous sports figures and people who are willing to take some time off from their busy schedule and take part in these sorts of events, the future of junior snooker looks a bit brighter. Not many people know, but players these days have to overcome a lot of obstacles (financial ones especially) to get into a tournament or just to have a proper space where they can practice.

Dott the Scot and his team
Alan Craig, the Managing Director of Caledonian Snooker Ltd., who's also been involved in making Scottish Snooker Golf Day a living reality, was saying in a recent interview that: "It’s not about how much talent you have anymore, but how much cash you can raise to buy in. I fear, for that reason, that they may not get the opportunity to follow our legends."

But with future events like this one and with people's implication, either we are talking about voluntary work or sponsorship, maybe following the footsteps of the legends won't be that hard.

Looking forward to next year event, Jim added: "Next year we are looking for a title sponsor for the event, so if any company would like to be branded in conjunction with the Scottish Snooker Golf Day and get media coverage through TV, national newspapers, radio and web, we'd be delighted to speak with them."

"We are already in discussions to host the 2012 event at another of Scotland's top courses, so next year could see the event really take off and attract an even larger media interest. Details will be posted in due course at www.scottishsnookergolfday.com, but also on our official FaceBook page."