PAUL GIBSON, the driving force behind Lothians’ remarkable recent run of success in boys’ team golf, has been asked to work his magic on the men’s front.
Furthermore, just as he did to spark four Scottish boys’ team title triumphs in five years, he has immediately enlisted the services of former European Tour winner Dean Robertson.
Gibson is the new Lothians Golf Association selection convenor, having been asked to take on the role by recently-installed president Alistair Bisset.
He has retained his position as boys/coaching convenor and will combine the two roles for a year to see if they can go hand-in-hand.
Gibson, who is also heavily involved in “The Futures”, a coaching programme introduced at Stirling University by Robertson in his role there as high performance golf coach, said: “I have decided to sign up and give it my all.
“Having the opportunity to work alongside Lothians team captain Keith Reilly and the other selectors, Robert Bald and Andrew Douglas, immediately gave me cause for optimism and already we have worked well together and are united.
“I quickly identified the need to try to replicate what we had in place as regards our boys’ team. First up was to get Dean on board and that has happened.
“Second was to identify a pool of players who will work, practise and play as a cohesive unit. That has already started, too.
“The final piece of the jigsaw was to promise active communication and transparency and, by doing so, get respect, but respect should be reciprocal.
“We have already had a player pool get-together at Kingsfield Golf Centre, now firmly established as a first-class facility and a very friendly place to be.
“The players have undertaken short game drills/assessments, as well as playing together, and this will be the ‘norm’ as we move forward.”
Lothians hold the record of 13 wins in the men’s Area Team Championship, but have drawn a blank in the last five years, three of which have been played under a new format.
On paper, they still have one of the strongest pools of players, headed by rising stars Grant Forrest, the Scottish Amateur champion from Craigielaw, and James Ross of Royal Burgess.
There’s also the likes of Allyn Dick, Zander Culverwell, Ross Noon, Benn McLeod, Anthony Blaney, Jordyn Rhind, Callum Hill and Alexander Wilson as well as experienced campaigners in Graham Robertson, Gary Corrigan, Mark Timmins and David Miller.
“Within the squad, there is a mix of youth and experience and there is no doubt that if a player is deemed good enough and his results demonstrate this, then he will be deemed old enough,” he added.
“The selection committee are unanimous on this and that is so refreshing.
“Dean has already built up a favourable rapport with all the players and his reputation and experience have been embraced positively by all concerned.
“There are plans to have squad days throughout the winter, and as spring 2013 approaches, there are trial matches planned, a match versus the ISSP (University of Stirling) and our yearly duel against Northumberland.
“The players are being encouraged to play in as many top tournaments as possible at the start of next season, and we have put together an order of merit, which will be the main barometer for selection.
“We will also take into account the WAGR and, really, the vast majority of the team will select themselves, bar a couple.
“It would be nice to replicate the successes of our boys’ teams and, with the players at our disposal, both at home and abroad, then the future may well be bright.”