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Page last updated at 22:19 GMT, Sunday, 6 December 2009

Golf coach is Scots' Unsung Hero

BBC Scotland's 'Unsung Hero' nominee, Willie McNair

Willie McNair has been honoured for helping hundreds of young golfers in Fife over the last three decades.

McNair, 74, a former electrical engineer, has been named winner of BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award in Scotland.

He has devoted his free time to help youngsters come through the ranks at Saline Golf Club for the past 34 years.

He now progresses to the Unsung Hero final at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2009 awards at the Sheffield Arena on 13 December.

A winner has been chosen in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and in each of the BBC English regions.

McNair's speciality is cutting golf clubs down to size for the young players to use and then coaching the youngsters on the practice range and putting green.

He uses plumbers' pipe-cutting equipment in his garden shed to reduce the length of the clubs which have been donated to him by the golfers in the area who know about his voluntary work.

I love the game and I'd like the young players to get as much out of it as they can

Golf coach Willie McNair

Around three nights each week he spends his time passing on tips to young golfers, often taking them to a driving range several miles from the village of Saline.

It's thought that more than 30 club champions, Fife County champions and County players have benefitted from Willie's assistance down the years.

Among the players Willie has helped in their early days is Callum Macaulay, who was part of the Scotland team who won last year's World Amateur Team Championship.

McNair, from the nearby village of Oakley, said: "I am delighted to win the award. I have never expected anything like this. I have always helped the young players because I love the game and I'd like them to get as much out of it as they can.

"I take practice sessions about three nights but I am on call all the time. I'm always willing to help when anybody needs anything done."

The golf enthusiast was nominated by Don Deveney, Youths Convener on the Fife Golfing Association, who said: "Willie has tremendous enthusiasm and has provided so much support to many young players down the years. People like him are few and far between."

Now in its seventh year, the BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award recognises and rewards outstanding contribution by individuals at the grassroots level of local sport, who give up their time on a voluntary basis so that sport can be played and enjoyed by people throughout the UK.

Yvonne Murray-Mooney, MBE, the former track star and the Ambassador in Scotland for BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award, said: "Willie has clearly played a big part in golf at grassroots level in his area for many years and is a worthy winner of this accolade."

The full list of Unsung Hero 2009 nominations was as follows:

Brian McNicoll from Dundee (football), Fiona Irwin from Campbletown (athletics), David Hill from Brechin (swimming), Eric Simpson from Kirkcaldy (athletics), William McNair from Oakley (golf), John Wright from Gullane (rugby), Archie Graham from Falkirk (football)

Colin McLaren from Tullibody (wrestling), Helen Rogerson from Jedburgh (equestrian vaulters), Denise Jackson from Auchterarder (gymnastics), Alison Mackie from Falkirk (football), Tom McGuinness from Glasgow (rowing), Laura Monaghan from Edinburgh (martial arts).

The judging panel was Ewan Angus (Head of Sport, BBC Scotland), Tom Connor (Editor Sport, BBC Radio Scotland), Donald Garden (Producer, BBC Scotland), Ken Cunningham, CBE (Chairman Educational Broadcasting Council for Scotland) and Yvonne Murray-Mooney (former Olympic, Commonwealth Games, European and World Cup athlete)

see also
BBC unveils sport award shortlist
07 Dec 09 |  Sports Personality
BBC Sports Unsung Hero 2009
12 Aug 10 |  Sports Personality

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