John Colquhoun helps unearth a golf GEM that was ‘secret’ for 15 years

After swapping his boots for an entrepreneur’s cap, Colquhoun provided the financial support that enabled Fraser Mann, a well-known figure in Scottish golf, to finally unveil a swing aid he has kept “secret” for 15 years. years.

Called GEM on the basis that it was considered to aid in the “essential movement of golf”, Mann invented the aid while still the club pro at Musselburgh and was always convinced it could change the gives for golfers of all levels.

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Fellow professional DJ Russell agreed when he first laid eyes on it and now the pair have gone into business with Colquhoun, who was one of the brightest people to ever kick a ball football for a living and has become a respected businessman since retiring.

Co-directors John Colquhoun, inventor Fraser Mann and DJ Russell present the GEM training aid at Archerfield Links.

“It was almost exactly 16 years ago when I invented it,” Mann, who is from Carnoustie but now lives in North Berwick, said of the swing aid, which simply by visualization and the feel of the weight attached to it, encourages the wrists, elbows and shoulders to work in sequence and help golfers get the right movement in the swing.

“I was fishing on the River Dee and kept catching my fly on the bank behind me which cost me £10 at a time as I was standing in the river,” the former Scottish champion added PGA and Senior PGA, as well as a World Hickory Open Winner.

“The ghillie came and said, ‘Fraser, all you have to do is, with your right hand, point across the river with your index finger and, if your finger is above the water, the rod will be too far behind you and that is why the fly catches the bank”.

“Right off the bat it was awkward but my casting was much better. It got me thinking because I knew when I was swinging a golf club back then I was closing my face back so when I was playing , I sometimes hit hard.

John Colquhoun in action for Hearts in a Scottish League game against Rangers at Ibrox in 1995. Picture: Phil Cole/Allsport

Without the need to consult scientists or equipment specialists, Mann invented his simple cane apparatus, initially using a weighted golf ball to help balance the club, and immediately knew he would find something. which worked.

“I invented one and used it on two people in Musselburgh who sliced ​​the ball and straight away they hooked it because they changed the way their hands went loose,” a- he declared, a glint of genuine excitement appearing in his eyes as he told this story.

“At that point I realized I had something special, so I went to meet some patent lawyers in Edinburgh. They told me that if I wanted to continue it was going to cost this, this and that and that I shouldn’t show it to anyone and if I did I should write it down in my diary.

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The GEM golf swing aid was invented by Fraser Mann, based in North Berwick, and is manufactured by a Macmerry company.

A chance encounter with Colquhoun, who also played for Celtic, Millwall and Sunderland before ending his career with a short stint at St Johnstone, at Archerfield Links, where they are both members, was the date he was looking for between- weather.

“I wanted to do it to get it done right,” Mann said. “Over the years I’ve worked on different ways of doing this and it was through meeting John and talking about him that we formed a business and are now in a position where we’re ready to go. I don’t have the business expertise while John is much smarter than me and that’s why we are working together now.

Colquhoun disagrees that he is the key part of GEM finally hitting the market. “Invention is the intelligence of this concert,” he said with a smile. “You can have all the business sense in the world, but you need a product.”

They say the proof is in the pudding. Helped by using the swing aid himself, Colquhoun reduced his handicap from 6.6 to 3.2. “My bad shots have always been good,” he said. “I’m not Dustin Johnson, I can’t put the club back together.

“I was with Fraser one day and he told me he’d make me draw some prints and I remember saying to him, ‘Tony Hart couldn’t make me draw golf balls (laughs)’. But the first two shots I hit went straight left and even with some manipulation I couldn’t have done that. It was just a huge immediate difference. I felt it right away and I kind of figured it out. This help made me understand the golf swing.

GEM is made by a Macmerry company, which delights the three co-directors based in East Lothian. “I’m really excited about this as I’ve never been involved in a retail product in my life,” added Colquhoun, who made two appearances for Scotland. “I’ve gotten to a stage where I want to invest in certain things in the tech industry, but also something like this, especially since it resonated with me and helped me start enjoying more of my golf.

“Fraser has a real passion for it and that’s why I decided to invest in it. It might be the most expensive handicap reduction we’ve ever had (laughs), but it’s great to see it come to market. It’s great that we’re doing this with a Scottish pro in the house of golf with local businesses and hopefully it can help a lot of people enjoy their golf more like me.

Help is already transforming club golfers, according to Russell. “Since we started trying it on people, the results have been outstanding,” said the two-time European Tour winner and designer of the two courses at Archerfield Links. “A guy went from being one of the worst golfers in the world to a single-digit player.

“It does a lot of other things, but for me the eureka thing is you put it in people’s hands and they get it right away. It teaches complete beginners and experienced players how to throw the club properly.

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