Turning a hobby into a career

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick July 22, 2021 09:07

Stuart McLaren works in finance and is good at golf. So good, in fact, that his employer is sponsoring him as he starts on the PGA EuroPro Tour.

Up until this spring, Stuart McLaren, 26, from Edinburgh, worked full-time at the mutual life and pensions, life and investment company, Royal London in business pensions. But Stuart is also a good golfer and is turning his hobby into a career. His employer has agreed to sponsor him as he starts the PGA EuroPro Tour and joins the professional ranks.

Here, we speak to Stuart about his career.

How did your passion for golf begin?

It started when I was four years old. I used to play in my grandparents’ back garden with a set of plastic clubs that they had, and I used to hit the tennis ball around for the dogs. This grew further when I started joining my grandfather at 7am every Saturday morning at a small nine-hole course in Edinburgh with his friends. I picked the game up fairly quickly and with that, started to play more.

Why a career in finance? Why didn’t you pursue a career in golf in the first place?

Due to deaths in my close family, I became the legal guardian for my 16 year old sister. I dropped out of university to support her through school and settle into ‘adult life’ and found myself working in the finance industry. At the age of 22, I felt settled in my career and in the past four years I was able to support myself whilst competing at the highest level of the amateur game.

Why is now the right time? How has the pandemic impacted golf?

My game has improved significantly over the last couple of years and I have become an all round more consistent player. I have played at the high level of the amateur game, however the pandemic has made me realise that there is no time better than the present to give things a go. I could not have been able to pursue my dream without the support of Royal London and I’m really grateful that it is still going forward, despite the pandemic. Golf courses have struggled a little with a combination of poor weather and staff being on furlough, however in Scotland, we have been extremely fortunate that golf courses have remained open during the recent lockdowns unlike the rest of the UK.

How did you manage to balance golf with your career at Royal London?

It’s been difficult but my manager and team have been extremely accommodating. The majority of my holidays have gone towards time off for golf. In the past, competitions were at weekends, requiring only the occasional time off but that’s going to change.

Golf is a very profitable kind of sport. Once you’ve become a professional with some particular certifications and skills, you can become a pro golf player or find a well-paying job in the golf industry, such as a teaching professional, golf coach, etc.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick July 22, 2021 09:07
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