Former tour pro says culture needs to change in Scotland if emerging talent wants to succeed
By Martin Inglis
Dean Robertson has said Scotland, as a serious sporting nation, needs to look inward in order to support young emerging talent.
Speaking exclusively to bunkered.co.uk, the former European Tour player said a positive few weeks for young Scots on the professional scene was great to see, with Connor Syme, Liam Johnston and Robert MacIntyre all performing well on their professional debuts – but we can definitely deliver more as a nation.
“Their skills are in place – now it’s all down to belief,” said Robertson, pictured below, far right. “It’s about them believing they can win at that level. They’ve got to enjoy the journey. They’re going to get rewarded when they do well and potentially get criticised when they don’t do so well. But everybody’s pulling for them.
“As a nation, maybe we’ve got to look at ourselves culturally and think of ways to better support our young emerging talents. How can we create environments that will facilitate their learning and have them have the belief of a Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth or Jon Rahm?
“In the US, these players are transitioning straight from the pinnacle of amateur golf to the pinnacle of professional golf. That isn’t because they can hit the golf ball any better than a Connor Syme or Liam Johnston, it’s because of their belief. They firmly believe they can beat anyone.
“When they go out and compete, it doesn’t matter what they’re playing in or who they’re against, it’s about having the coping strategies to deal with each situation. Players get frightened and if you play with fear, it won’t happen at all.
“Every single player is going to have different strength and weaknesses, but every player must have that inner self belief that they can go out and win or compete well in any tournament they tee it up in.”
Robertson is now the high performance golf coach at the University of Stirling and was speaking after his girls’ team, below, gave him his proudest golfing moment since his European Tour win in Italy 1999.
Playing in the Yale Intercollegiate Invitational in New Haven, Connecticut, the team of Chloe Goadby, Hazel MacGarvie, Gemma Batty, Emily Laws and Mirren Fraser won by ten strokes in what is believed to be the first time a team from outside the USA has won an NCAA Division One tournament – the highest level of college competition.
“I almost felt more elated for them than I did when I won my title,” added Robertson. “I can’t tell you how immensely proud of the girls I was. I was proud of the guys [who finished second in their event] as well but the girls – I just didn’t see it coming.
“Just to be able to help them in their journey and share those experiences is fantastic and it’s something they’ll remember for a long time.”