What do we want? Fame and fortune. When do we want it? Now … right NOW. In fact, we want it quicker than that. What’s a quicker phrase for ‘right now?’

In a demanding age when all and sundry appear to have the kind of unhinged sense of entitlement that used to be the reserve of a Babylonian Prince, golf remains one pursuit which doesn’t dish out success on a silver spoon.

This game of complex, varied demands asks all manner of questions. Coming up with answers is never easy.

Spencer Henderson, Scotland’s national under-18s boys’ coach, has watched a raft of talents come, go, flourish and flounder during a long stint in the junior scene.

For every Rory McIlroy, who was a superstar in waiting as a boy and would surge to the top of the world, there are hundreds of supremely gifted players who have disappeared off the face of the earth.


“Lloyd Saltman, for example, had all the attributes but the fact he didn’t kick on as a professional shows that you can never predict anything,” Henderson said of Saltman, who was billed as Scotland’s very own McIlroy during his period of amateur prosperity.

Henderson is out in the pleasant climes of Spain this week – the lucky blighter – with the latest batch of up-and-coming Scots which includes the likes of Belleisle’s 15-year-old Ruben Lindsay, the reigning Scottish Boys’ champion, last year’s Scottish junior No 1, Gregor Graham, and the left-hander Cameron Adam, who landed a trio of national under-16 titles in 2019.

All of them clearly have lofty ambitions in the game but Henderson, who also passes on his coaching pearls of wisdom to the young ‘uns in Paul Lawrie’s Foundation, remains keen to emphasise one thing.

“Patience,” stated the 46-year-old, who has also had coaching stints in Turkey and Azerbaijan.

“It’s the biggest thing we preach. But it’s hard to tell a 15-year-old to think 10 years down the line when they are all in a rush to get to where they want to be.


“The way they talk, it’s all about being professional and they all want to play at the top level. You can’t be in a hurry to get there.

“And you have to enjoy it while you’re trying to get there. The guys you are playing with now can be friends for life so embrace that. It’s a long journey.

“In their approach they are so professional, so young now and the approach is very different to when I first starting coaching in 2004.

“A couple of year ago we had a squad at the European Boys’ Team Championship and Denmark had the two Hojgaard brothers. Last year, one of them (Rasmus) won on the European Tour at just 18.

“You tend to find that young lads see someone like that and think ‘I’ve played against you in amateur events or at college so why can’t I get on tour?’ As we all know, though, it’s bloody hard.”

Tempering the impetuous, starry-eyed enthusiasm of youth is just half the battle, of course.

“Getting parents to understand how hard it is, is a big part of the job,” added Henderson, whose formative golfing years were spent in South Africa where his contemporaries were future tour winners like Tim Clark and Rory Sabbatini.

“Luckily just now we have a good crop of players in the Scotland set-up and, importantly, a good crop of parents too.

“They get it and they know they have to keep a realistic check on expectations.”