Retiral has been just what the doctor ordered for Ian Dickson’s golf career since he finished working as a GP in the Capital around three years ago.
His handicap has “dribbled down” to scratch and now the 58-year-old is helping Mortonhall enjoy an incredible winning run.
The club’s latest success came at the first attempt in the Dispatch Trophy, beating East Lothian club Tantallon 2 by two holes in the event’s 119th staging at the Braids.
That triumph in the Golfclubs4cash-sponsored tournament came on the back of Dickson being part of two other Mortonhall victories in recent months.
They won the Edinburgh Summer League for the first time last year, which just happened to be the club’s 125th anniversary.
And, representing the Capital, they then beat Glasgow champions Cawder in the Inter Cities Cup to bring that piece of silverware to the east end of the M8 for the first time since 2013.
“Retiral has done me well,” said Dickson, smiling, as he reflected on those triumphs as well as him winning the Mortonhall championship for the first time in 2015 then retaining that title the following year.
Dickson, the Mortonhall team captain, came up with a winning Dispatch Trophy formula as he initially picked Duncan Hamilton, Steve Scott and Graeme Clark to join him at the Braids then called in Alex Main as Clark’s replacement from the quarter-final onwards.
They ended Harrison’s hopes of claiming a fourth trophy triumph with a 4&3 semi-final success before eventually coming out on top against Tantallon 2 in a ding-dong battle.
Tantallon 2, who’d beaten Tantallon 1 in the semi-finals, stood one up over the double foursome with five holes to play before losing four of those holes to end up two down.
For Dickson, it was a second triumph in the event after he’d also helped Caermount win in 2012 after beating Harrison B.
“The fact I played with my son, Mark, on that occasion was particularly special for me,” admitted Dickson, “but this was also very enjoyable due to it being the first time a Mortonhall team had entered.”
Dickson and Hamilton finished two down at the front to Richard Gill and Chris Low but Scott and Main were four up at the back after winning the last three holes against Steve Govenlock and Murray Naysmith.
“This is my first Dispatch Trophy medal,” revealed a delighted Hamilton, also a 58-year-old retiree. “I probably played in it 20 times for Stewart’s Melville and a few other occasions for SUGS but had never managed to make it to the weekend.
“It is fantastic that my first medal is a gold one and I’m delighted to have been able to help Mortonhall extend this winning run we are on.”
Scott, 29, and Main, 30, were both making their debuts in the event and join an exclusive club in becoming winners at the first time of asking.
“It’s amazing really because before this week Alex and I had only played at the Braids once before so we were certainly lacking experience up here,” said Scott, who chipped in for an eagle-3 at the 11th in the final.
“From the back nine in the quarter-finals through until the end, Alex and I played well and winning the Dispatch Trophy is right up there with our first Edinburgh Summer League success.”
Main hails from Fife but now lives in the Capital, where he works as an accountant. “It was a tough job trying to fill Graeme’s shoes after he was unavailable for the final and I’m glad that I didn’t let the club down,” he said.
“Steve and I were ragged on the front nine on Thursday, but we clicked after that and I think we were five-under for the 18 holes in the final.”
While disappointed to end up with bronze and silver medals, it was a brilliant second bite at the cherry for Tantallon and they’ll be back in 12 months time on a gold run.
“We’re already looking forward to next year,” declared Gill, a former Scottish Boys Championship runner-up. “There was a great buzz all week long up here and it was great to be part of that.”
After dropping to 42 in 2016, the entry for the event was up to 53 this time around and Dickson is encouraging other course owning-clubs to try and join Mortonhall in getting their name on the trophy in years to come.
“I hope they are all paying attention,” he said. “To be honest, I’m amazed we’ve done so well at the first attempt but there’s a strong team spirit at Mortonhall right now and that’s helped us prevail in this event.
“It really is great to see the Dispatch Trophy entries on the up again and there’s a good chance Mortonhall will have two teams in the event next year.”