Published: 16/03/2012 09:57 - Updated: 16/03/2012 10:09

Top honour for Elgin's Stables

ELGIN head pro and former Tartan Tour number one golfer Kevin Stables has earned PGA Advanced Fellow Professional status.

The APAL (Accreditation for Professional Achievement and Learning) award is another notch in the belt for Stables, who turned pro at the Hardhillock course in 1979 and went on to a career on the European tour.

His flair for business management in his head professional role at Elgin, which he took up in 2001, has ensured the club remains a thriving hub for golfers.

Stables (51) has become a pivotal figure at his home course, where he has developed a custom fit and teaching centre, overseen a successful junior programme and introduced a new category of membership as a means to capture new golfers.

In addition, he has also sourced a new sponsor for the club’s popular pro-am and further demonstrated his value to the club by providing a full service centre for trolley and cart repairs.

“More and more PGA pros are moving into management roles at clubs, and with the golf industry facing difficult times I think pros have an important role helping to drive the game forward,” he said.

“I enjoy the club pro role and have spent a lot of time learning and improving my knowledge.”

PGA Advanced Fellow status is just one below the highest ranking category of PGA Master Professional and it is another highlight for Stables, who once finished tenth behind Jose Maria Olazabal on his PGA Championship debut at Wentworth, and won two successive Northern Open titles.

He grew up in Elgin and was a member from 1967 until turning pro 12 years later. A former European Tour player as well as Tartan Tour Order of merit winner and PGA Cup Player, he has represented Scotland at a number of different levels.

A former Scottish Boys amateur international, Stables also has a bagful of memories from two eventful years on tour from 1983-84 where he played alongside the likes of Barry Lane, Philip Walton and BBC commentator, and PGA pro, Andrew Murray.

“I was permanently skint, even if you had a good finish you only got around £400, but I enjoyed it immensely, spending time with players like Lane and Walton,” he recalled. “But it was very difficult.”

“It was the days of Monday pre-qualifying. If you made the cut you probably played the next week but there were no guarantees.”

Stables was subsequently appointed senior PGA professional at the prestigious Sunningdale Golf Club, before taking up roles at Ranfurly Castle and Montrose Links.

Career highs included qualifying for the Great Britain and Ireland PGA Cup team that played America on Kiawah Island, three top 20 finishes in the Bells Scottish Open and victories in the Northern Opens of 1993 and 1994.

Topping all that off was his top ten display on his debut at the PGA Championship behind Spanish ace Olazabal – the reigning US Masters champion in 1994. He also finished top 20 the following year.

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