Richie Ramsay has overcome having to change clubs for the first time as a professional golfer to make an encouraging start to his 2017 campaign.
The Edinburgh-based player had TaylorMade equipment in his bag since joining the paid ranks in 2007 on the back of a glittering amateur career.
He recorded three European Tour wins using those clubs, so was naturally disappointed when a change of direction by the company that has just signed up Tiger Woods left him searching for new weapons at the end of last season.
Following some exhaustive testing at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian, he opted for Callaway clubs and has opened a new chapter in his career on a promising note in the opening two events in the Middle East Swing.
The 33-year-old finished tied for 57th behind Englishman Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi just under a fortnight ago before climbing to a share of 37th spot in Qatar last Sunday, when Korean Jeunghun Wang triumphed in a play-off. Now Ramsay is aiming to keep up the good work when he joins 14-time major winner Woods in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, which gets underway at The Emirates Golf Club tomorrow.
“I came out to the UAE early with my coach, Ian Rae, to get some preparation done as there had been a lot going on in the winter,” said Ramsay. “It was mainly off-course stuff that was outwith my control, but it meant I’d had to spend more time prepping new clubs than I have in the past.
“I’d been with TaylorMade since I turned pro in 2007 and, though I know that people say all good things come to an end, nine years is a long time.
“Changing clubs is not an easy process, believe me, but I’ve got a new set of woods, new set of irons and a new putter. The irons were the big thing and luckily the weather was good just before Christmas so I was able to get some good testing done then.
“The first set that Callaway sent up didn’t work all that great, but then they sent up a second set that seem to be a bit more forgiving. Numbers-wise, they are the best set I’ve ever had so that was a big help.”
The change is also allowing Ramsay to give some publicity to The Renaissance Club, where he’s been based since setting up home in the Capital with his wife, Angela.
“I have a Renaissance Club hat and bag at the moment,” he said. “I’m also fortunate that my other sponsors – Metrol Technology, Craig Group and Carbon Financial – have stuck with me.
“That was a huge boost after you lose a manufacturing deal and I really appreciate their support.”
Ramsay is now in his ninth-straight season as a European Tour card holder. He finished a career-best 26th in the Race to Dubai in 2012 and has never been worse than 97th, where he ended up in his rookie season in 2009.
“My consistency over the years is definitely something to be proud of,” he said. “I’m not like a Rory McIlroy. I’m not someone who is going to win a couple of tournaments by shooting really low numbers.
“It’s about me doing the best I possibly can and I feel that I have a good record that illustrates my achievements. That’s the proof of the pudding.
“I’m very happy about the way I’ve played over the last few years. Last year was a bit funny as I was on and off quite a bit. I never really got going as a result of that.
“I will hopefully get back on track this season and be contending again a bit more.”
Does he feel that his best years can lie ahead? “I’d love to say yes but I honestly don’t know,” said the former US Amateur champion.
“I certainly feel that I’m a lot wiser. I know how to plan things a lot better. I know how to get the best out my game and feel I am very good when I get into contention in terms of my attitude.
“I’ve perhaps been guilty of not believing I can win from day one in events so I need to change that. I’m just trying to keep the positive attitude from last year with a little bit more aggressiveness when it comes to a Thursday morning or Thursday afternoon.”
• TURKISH AIRLINES fly regularly from Edinburgh to Dubai via Istanbul. Check out www.turkishairlines.com for prices.