Karyn Dallas has always been a bit of a go-getter; an innovator in the chauvinistic world of Scottish golf. A few years She managed to convince Kirriemuir Golf Club - and good on them - to take her on as the head
professional, and she rewarded her supporters with a host of new ideas.
A former European Tour player, she is now recognised as one of Scotland's finest teachers, she has long been an enthusiastic supporter of junior golf
and has attracted a host of youngsters from far and wide to her classes.
She has also coached at a higher level, working with both the junior and senior county squads from Angus and Perth & Kinross.
Her talent has now been acknowledged at even dizzier heights following the announcement of her appointment as the new Scottish women's national coach. Ever modest, she is still reeling from the accolade, and eager to get started on what she perceives as an exciting and challenging new project.
'It was a bolt out of the blue and I'm a little overawed, and terribly honoured,' confessed Karyn. 'But I'm also absolutely delighted. Coaching is
now my main interest and now I'm really looking forward to working with Scotland's top women.'
Dallas, who has replaced two long time servants Jane Connachan and Bill Lockie, realises that she has a lot of hard work ahead. But she is ready to face the task, and has also been quick to reassure the Kirriemuir members that she will not be cutting back on her club commitments.
Karyn already coaches Scotland's Lottery squad players - those just below national level - and she appreciates the opportunity to take players from
club to senior Scottish level, and even beyond.
'It's going to be a lot of work, and the first priority will be to get to know the girls, and let them get to know me,' she continued. 'But it will
be great to have the continuity right through the programme.'
Karyn hasn't taken long to formulate a new programme, and those lucky enough to make the squad can look forward to a winter of competitive play.
'I want the squad to get together and to play more during the winter,' Karyn said. 'At the top level, they are all already very good players, so I
want to concentrate less on the technical aspect and more on tournaments.
'I'm going to have a winter league table. I reckon that to get better, especially in matchplay, the secret is to play more often.'
Karyn's first session with her new charges will be on October 20, and she will be working alongside sports psychologist, John Mathers, a low handicap golfer and a sports psychology lecturer at Stirling University who works with Scotland's top women pro, Catriona Matthew.
'I'm very aware of the importance of the mental side of the game,' observed Karyn. 'It wasn't the best part of my armoury when I was playing on Tour; I think I learned the hard way how vital it is to think your way properly around the course.'
Looking back, Karyn now wishes she had the opportunities that now exist for Scotland's leading amateur women golfers.
'Don't get me wrong, everyone was very encouraging when I was growing up, and playing my junior golf at East Kilbride,' she said. 'But there weren't
the same structures in place, and there was absolutely no special funding.'
With golf having recently been added to the list of core sports at the Scottish Institute of Sport, and Lottery money an added incentive, Karyn realises she has the chance to work with what should be the most highly motivated group of players in the Scottish game's history.
She is looking forward to help them fill their potential. 'It's lovely to have the chance to work with amateurs from club level upwards and, hopefully, see some go on to make it as professionals.'
|| 27 - SEPTEMBER 2001