Newly-crowned Scottish Amateur champion Euan McIntosh says he’ll need to “play out of my brains” to have a chance of carving out a career in the Senior ranks.
The 49-year-old is preparing for a crack at the Champions Tour, the main over-50s circuit in world golf, and, if that bid fails, will try and get his card on the Staysure Tour, the new branded name for the European Senior Tour.
A second spell in the paid ranks has been McIntosh’s target since he was reinstated as an amateur following a 10-year break from the game.
The Turnhouse player topped the Scottish Order of Merit in 2016 and last weekend at Blairgowrie became the oldest player since Charlie Green in 1983 to be crowned as Scottish Amateur champion.
But he reckons his game still needs to improve in all departments just to give himself a chance of taking on the golden oldies in the professional game.
“I need to play at the best level I can muster to even have a chance. My game has to be ramped up a few levels. If I don’t play out of my brains, I’m not going to cut it,” he told the Edinburgh Evening News.
“I’m looking forward to it, but it’s the unknown at the moment. I know how difficult it is going to be and it’s about getting my motivation and intensity levels up over the next 10-12 weeks.
“Yes, I think I’m playing well. But I remember the last time I was at the European Tour Qualifying School – I would have been 24 or 25 – and how hard it was back then.
“That’s a good thing, though, because it makes me realise that it has to be my absolute best if I want to get through.”
The battle for Champions Tour cards starts at the end of November and McIntosh added: “I just want to get going now. I’ve worked hard. I don’t do much these days apart from golf. It’s quite a boring existence, to be honest.”
The title triumph at Blairgowrie secured automatic selection for the Home Internationals but McIntosh has missed out on representing Scotland in a bigger upcoming event.
“I didn’t get in the Eisenhower Trophy team,” he revealed, referring to the prize up for grabs in the World Team Championship at Carton House, near Dublin, next month.
“Well, yeah,” he replied to being asked if he thought he might have made that three-man line up. “But is what it is.”
McIntosh is now preparing for a run of events that includes a defence of the Leven Gold Medal this weekend and a visit to Gleneagles for the Scottish Stroke-Play Championship.
“I think it was definitely the hardest,” he said of a long week at Blairgowrie in Scottish Golf’s flagship men’s event. “Mentally, it was tough trying to finish it off.
“Being the age I am, my body was feeling it. I played 12-13 rounds in over a week, which is a lot of golf. I’m still feeling it. My body isn’t wrecked - but it’s stiff.
“When you’ve won a tournament, it’s great and you enjoy it. It’s amazing what I achieved at Blairgowrie. But I’ve got another tournament coming up and it’s about preparing for that now. It’s on to the next one.”