From the fairways of France to the lecture halls of Stirling, sports and exercise science student Cameron Bennie has scored a hole-in-one at university, combining his studies with a spot in the University’s competitive golf team.
The 21-year-old took part in one golf tournament in particular, which turned out to be a life-changing experience. Supported by the Battle Back Charity, the C du C Invitational in the Loire Valley, France, brought Stirling’s elite student golfers and wounded ex-service personnel together, to play competitive golf.
Cameron said: 'Gaining an insight into the difficulties some of the former military personnel have faced, and continue to face, was invaluable. The individuals involved in the event were some of the most humble, determined and genuine people I've ever met'.
'The experience epitomised exactly what sport is all about: bringing people together that otherwise would never have met, to share stories and make lasting friendships'.
The Milngavie-born graduate also faced challenges of his own during university.
Cameron said: 'In my third year, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery. Thankfully, he has made a full recovery but I wouldn't have completed my exams if it wasn't for the support of friends I made at Stirling and the help and consideration shown by my lecturers'.
'I now feel I’m equipped to tackle difficult issues. Living away from home taught me to take on challenges like this head-on and not give in easily'.
Growing up in a sporting family, Cameron has always had a passion for the outdoors.
He said: 'I’m a competitive and driven person and Stirling seemed like the best place to study for a degree in sport, while continuing my own sports participation at a competitive level'.
'I’ve had the chance to learn from lecturers who are at the top of their field. My course was challenging but extremely interesting'.
'It incorporated every aspect of sports performance, taught me numerous physiological testing techniques and highlighted the various benefits of a healthy lifestyle. All of this will ready me for the world of work, and has allowed me to understand the demands placed on a top-level athlete'.
Cameron will spend his summer as a golf coach at an international summer school, before moving to the United Arab Emirates to teach physical education to Arabic-speaking children.
He said: 'I feel extremely privileged to have experienced so many wonderful opportunities whilst at the University of Stirling – it’s been an absolute blast and the best four years of life. It's almost imperative that when you come to university you join a club or society. I’ve made so many lifelong friends and have grown as a person, learning about the challenges people face in life, and how they can be overcome'.
High performance golf coach Dean Robertson said: 'Whilst winning and achievement in sport is fantastic, the impact that experiences can have on the way our students think, act and reflect on their lives is invaluable. Because of sport, we’re able to help students gain a new perspective and make a difference to the world. Cameron is a credit to the University and testament to how important the student experience is in developing the next generation of positive, motivated and outward-looking Stirling graduates'.
Cameron’s degree will be added to his crowded trophy cabinet. He won the junior club championship at Balmore Golf Club in Glasgow for three years running, before taking the senior men’s championship title. He also won the Dunbartonshire Golf Union Men’s Strokeplay Championship last year.