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'This is my wee shot at the big time'

From Rangers Boys Club to golf's old boys' club .

Robert Arnott in action at the European Senior Tour Qualifying School Finals at Vale da Pinta, Pestana Golf Resort, Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal. Picture: Phil Inglis/Getty Images

. . Robert Arnott has been around the block more times than a long-serving postie but he is now relishing a new lease of sporting life. A professional since 1986, one of the most popular and prominent campaigners on the domestic Tartan Tour is preparing himself for "a new career" at the age of 50. Arnott's spirited efforts in sharing 11th place during the European Senior Tour's qualifying school in Portugal recently were rewarded with a conditional card for the circuit. In this ultimate generation game, senior service rookie Arnott will be among a new generation of golden oldies in 2014.

"I played for Rangers Boys' Club for three years but broke my knee and that was the end of that," recalled the Bishopbriggs Golf Range stalwart, as the mind drifted back those days when he dreamed of having the world at his feet. "I'm glad I took up golf in the end, to be honest. You get more longevity out if it."

That has certainly been the case for Arnott and his dedication and desire have been key weapons in the armoury down the seasons. Having been kept on the straight and narrow in his formative years by serving his PGA apprenticeship under the watchful eye of the wonderfully named Donald Slicer at Falkirk Tryst, Arnott's good, honest work ethic has spawned well over 60 Tartan Tour wins and some £300,000 in career earnings.

His category for the Senior Tour will not guarantee him a full schedule of events but the opportunity to perhaps rub shoulders with a Colin Montgomerie or a Sam Torrance is a prospect to savour while the recent conquests of his old PGA Cup team-mate Paul Wesselingh, the English club professional who has won four times on the over-50s scene and topped the order of merit last year, provides plenty of inspiration.

"It's not easy to get on the tour and there are only six full cards on offer; they are quite mean," he said with a smile. "All the guys who are 50 on the main European Tour get on straight away and the likes of us are well down the pecking order.

"But there are opportunities and for PGA men like myself, the success that Paul has enjoyed shows just what can be done.

"The big-name players, like Monty, may not play in many of the European events. They have been great golfers over the years and have played at the top most of their careers. It's maybe not as big a challenge for them . . . and they'll have wads of cash anyway. For someone like me, this is my wee shot at the big time. This is like a new career; a chance to start afresh."

Tall and lean, and with a passion for the gym that would make the aforementioned Monty break out in a shuddering sweat, Arnott remains in fine fettle and his drive is undiminished. "The body is not quite a temple but it's doing all right," he added.

The Tartan Tour will still continue to provide Arnott's bread and butter and he is hoping the first few months of the new campaign on home soil will help sharpen his game for an assault on the Senior Tour when it swings into action in June.

"I still enjoy practising and that's a big thing," he said. "I actually enjoy practising more than playing. Every year I work out something to try and improve on. As long as you think you can get better then you keep going . . . or maybe I'm just stupid and I'm just battering on for no reason."

A chance for a few Senior moments in 2014 should give Arnott plenty of reasons to keep going.

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