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Elgin golfer Michael McAllan recognised for work raising awareness of good mental health


By Jonathan Clark

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AN ELGIN golfer has been recognised by the sport's governing body for his work raising awareness about the importance of good mental health.

Michael McAllan – a pro at Nairn Golf Club – was key in setting up the maiden Covesea Golf Club Open in September, which raised £5500 for charity SAMH.

Michael McAllan in action at the PGA Northern Open held at Moray Golf Course, Lossiemouth. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Michael McAllan in action at the PGA Northern Open held at Moray Golf Course, Lossiemouth. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

In addition to the charity event at Covesea, near Lossiemouth, Michael has raised awareness of mental health among the younger generations through work with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW).

He was nominated for the Professional Golf Association's Toby Sunderland Award, which recognises outstanding charity undertaken by PGA pros. Although he didn't win, Michael was "honoured" to have been a nominee.

"I was nominated by the captain of the PGA in Scotland who is aware of the work I did with Covesea and the £5500 raised for SAMH," he explained.

Angela Burnett and Michael McAllan held a charity tournament at the 1st Open Covesea Links 9-hole course on September 24, 2023. Picture: Beth Taylor
Angela Burnett and Michael McAllan held a charity tournament at the 1st Open Covesea Links 9-hole course on September 24, 2023. Picture: Beth Taylor

"It was an amazing event and I'm very pleased with how it went. I did it because I wanted to give something back – so to be recognised, I was very surprised, but it was very nice.

"It was completely out of the blue. It took a while for it to sink in – I wasn't expecting it at all. It feels like something that more worthy people get, but it was hugely gratifying to receive and I was really happy to share it with my family."

Michael, who worked at Elgin Golf Club for nine years, is a strong believer in promoting positive mental health. He has dealt with poor mental health himself and is keen to help others.

Michael McAllan in action at Elgin Golf Course. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Michael McAllan in action at Elgin Golf Course. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

"I don't think anyone in life in unaffected by struggles with mental health," he said. "I'm still going through a journey myself with my health in that regard.

"I have definitely benefitted from people in the industry and SAMH is a great support. That's why I felt it was appropriate to work with them.

"In my view, it's best to get these things in the open. It's becoming the norm for people who are struggling – I never mind talking the issues I have had. It was only through talking to people that I improved my health."

Inspired by the help provided to him from within golf, Michael is now helping people himself after becoming a mentor.

"I am now mentoring 40 to 50 PGA students," he said. "The best way to explain it is that I am their guidance teacher as they move through their studies.

"It's a fulfilling role that I wouldn't have got involved with if I hadn't been through what I had been through myself.

"A gentleman called Justyn Branton helped me through an incredibly difficult time and was a huge support to me and without doubt inspired me to push on with this."

Michael also thanked Fiona Champness, who suggested he would be ideal for mentoring and gave him the confidence to get ahead with it.

He added: "My family have helped support me through a time time and also my colleagues at Nairn Golf Club, who have been very supportive."

Michael will be presented with his nominee award at Gleneagles on February 2. He has also been nominated for employee of the year at Nairn Golf Club, where he has worked since April 2022.


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