Richie Ramsay hails coach Ian Rae and a partnership still thriving after 20 years

It’s one of the longest partnerships in golf. In a sport where players are notorious for chopping and changing, Richie Ramsay and his coach, Ian Rae, have been together almost as long as Tiger Woods has been a professional..

Richie Ramsay, left, with coach Ian Rae, who has guided him throughout a career that has yielded three European Tour titles.

“I’ve been with the ‘Wee Man’ for 20 years… I mean, 20 years!” revealed Ramsay, referring, as he always does, to Rae by his nickname for him. “Some people go through four or five coaches in a year – and I’ve had just the one for 20 years.”

In that time, the Aberdonian has carved out a successful career, winning the US Amateur Championship before going on to record three victories on the European Tour, where he has safely held on to his card for 12 consecutive seasons at a time when the bar is raised year after year.

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“I think he’s a big part of me being out here for the time I have,” added Ramsay of Rae. “Not just on the golf side but also someone to talk to. Out here there’s a lot of stuff that goes on outside of the golf itself.

“You are trying to keep your head and focus on things, and I think he’s always been a good person when it comes to listening and giving me good advice. He’s helped me make the correct decisions as I’ve tried to improve out here.”

Ramsay first started working with Rae through him being the Scottish national coach, a role he still holds, having recently been out in South Africa with the current crop of top amateurs in what has become an annual 

“He coached me a little bit before I went off to the States on a scholarship,” recalled Ramsay. “When I came back, I sat down with him and said, ‘I honestly don’t think I am good enough at the moment to make it. If I go to Stirling University, it is going to give me four years to get better, but I need someone like yourself to help me with that’. I said, ‘can you be the person to do that?’ and he said, ‘yip, no problem. You work out a plan and I will help you get there’.

“You know what, honestly we have never even come close to splitting and, on his side, that must have taken a hell of a lot of patience (laughing). Every time you ask him a question, he’s got the answer to it or we’ll find it.

“He is also still as hungry for me as I was when I started working with him. He wants me to get better and wants me to improve. He understands that sometimes I will go away in the huff then come back and have a laugh about it.

“He’s just a good person and he understands me and understands how to deal with me when I am going through dips, for example. So many people will tell you what you want to hear, but that’s not the case with the ‘Wee Man’.

“How would I describe him in a few words? He’s hard-working, he’s loyal and he’s knowledgeable, and he’s almost the best at those three things.”

For Rae, seeing Ramsay mature, both on and off the course, has been every bit as satisfying as those aforementioned successes. “It has been a great pleasure to work with Richie and terrific to watch him develop as a player and as a person,” he said. “We have the same principles about work ethic and wanting to get the best out of Richie’s game and this creates a good relationship as we both have the same end goals.

“Working together on a plan is so important so there is no confusion in any area of the development and sticking to plan on a daily, weekly, yearly basis. We set out plans at the start of each year and we both agree on what we work on and improve so there’s no confusion on what’s required.

“His technique has continued to improve every year, but we have always moved/changed things in small amounts so we don’t disrupt the playing of the game and we continue with good performances.

“It’s very important to be clear about the plan so we both understand what we are aiming for. I can honestly say we’ve never had a cross word in all the years of working together and that’s down to us both knowing each other well and knowing what is required on a 
daily basis.

“Richie has been a great friend as well as a pupil and we have an inter-dependency so we both thrive and enjoy the journey in professional golf. I couldn’t ask for a better and more hard-working pupil, and I am sure Richie will continue to perform at the highest level over the next number of years.”