COUNTY golfer Grant Forrest is one of two players to benefit from a new support package.

The Craigielaw ace, in his first full year as a professional, will be given financial and management support thanks to a new scheme which has seen Aberdeen Asset Management, SSE Scottish Hydro and Bounce Sports Management join forces with Scottish Golf.

Forrest and Ewen Ferguson are the first two players to benefit, and both are guaranteed eight Challenge Tour starts this season.

The 23-year-old, from North Berwick, said: “I feel very fortunate to be getting the support that is being given to me.

“I turned professional at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last year and it’s been a real learning experience since then.

“I feel now, after 12 months of hard work working with and speaking to the right people, I am ready for the season and professional journey ahead.”

Stephen Docherty, head of global equities at Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “This initiative springs from an idea over a number of months, with the key focus on collaborating to help young Scottish players make the difficult am-pro transition. We support a number of male and female Scottish players but we’re all too aware of the challenges around taking that daunting leap from amateur to professional.”

Colin Banks, head of sponsorship and reward at SSE, said: “Pooling resources for the common goal of helping young golfers attain the next stage in their careers demonstrates that this collaboration is doing more to help achieve success.”

Iain Stoddart, founding partner at Bounce Sports Management, said: “It is fantastic key stakeholders in Scottish golf have come together to get behind the country’s leading talent.”

Blane Dodds, Scottish Golf CEO, added: “We want to address the amateur to professional challenge by pulling together the biggest stakeholders in Scottish Golf and a respected management group.

“With the Scottish Golf Support Limited programme for young professionals coming to an end, we are under pressure with our funding, via sportscotland. We are continuing to make representations to our funding partners, notably following the recent independent study commissioned by VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise which showed the vast economic value of golf tourism to Scotland. However, we know the importance of this area of the game and have sought to identify other partnerships to create new income streams.

“If players are good enough and ready to turn professional, this support package could be available to them, albeit in limited numbers to begin with. We simply want to support the best talent that we have in this country on their journey into professional golf.”