It’s a different ball game these days. When North Berwick’s Grace Crawford became the first Scot since 2002 to win the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Amateur Championship last season, she was only 15.

In 1986, meanwhile, the indefatigable Belle Robertson won her third Helen Holm title at the age of 50. “I think it’s safe to assume you’ll never get someone winning it at that age again,” she said with a reflective chuckle.

Here in 2023, Robertson, one of the greatest amateur golfers to emerge from the home of the game, remains in fine fettle. Yes, there have been a couple of running repairs – a cataract operation last week got her through her latest MOT – but the 87-year-old is, in her own words, “as fit as a flea.”

The Helen Holm Championship, which is already underway at Troon Portland and Royal Troon, celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend. Robertson, the winner of that first staging back in 1973, will be on site tomorrow to present the prize to the latest champion. The trophy itself features the old jigger club of the celebrated, decorated Helen Holm. “Her famous shot was a little pitch and run,” said Robertson. “She had a lovely touch. It’s something I tried to copy.”

In the amateur scene, of course, there were plenty of trophy plinth bands engraved with Robertson’s name. In a fulfilling career of unwavering longevity, the Dunaverty great accumulated the kind of vast collection of silverware you’d get in the cutlery drawers at a Royal banquet.

Victory in the inaugural Helen Holm Championship was a particularly gratifying accomplishment for Robertson and one achieved with rounds of 80, 77 and 81. What were we saying about golf being a different ball game these days? “Those scores would leave you nowhere now,” she said of her triumphant tally from half-a-century ago. “That must have been up there with one of my highest winning totals. But back in my day, a score in the low 70s would have had you smiling all the way home.

Nowadays, it’s got to be in the 60s. The standard of girls and women’s golf now is remarkable and it’s great to see.”

One thing that has not changed over time is the rigorous challenge of the host venues. The formidable championship links of Royal Troon, where the final round is held, remains an exacting examination that would make the Mensa IQ test look about as mentally taxing as a baby’s rattle. “That’s why my wins in the Helen Holm would rank right up there as some of my best victories,” said Robertson of her three wins at the Ayrshire seaside. “It was a true links test. I had a long association with Troon going back to 1961 when I became a member of the Ladies’ Golf Club there. It was a golfing home-from-home.”

Completing her hat-trick of Helen Holm wins at a sprightly 50, some 13 years after that maiden success, underlined Robertson’s enduring competitive gusto. In this generation game, the advancing years have never been a barrier to success. “There were plenty of very good, young players like Pam Wright, Gillian Stewart, Elaine Farquharson and Dale Reid,” she added. “Winning is always satisfying but even more so as the years pass.

All you can do is win in your era against the competition that is there. And I was fortunate that I managed to do that a lot.”

Robertson, a multiple Scottish and British champion, as well as a Curtis Cup mainstay, still keeps the hand and eye in with the occasional dunt around her beloved Dunaverty. The outings may be few and far between – “I’ve had two nine-hole rounds this year” – but the lure of a pursuit that has enriched her life remains.

“There are all sorts of emotions involved in golf and that keeps you at it,” she said. “When I’m golfing now I keep saying, ‘I used to be away up there when I was playing my second shot’. That’s the frustrating thing about golf now; not having the power. But the will is still there. I’m fortunate. I keep very well. The sadness is seeing friends of a similar age who are not as fortunate. But as the great Jean McCulloch of West Kilbride would always say to me: ‘Now Belle, KG, keep going’. That’s all you can do.”

The indomitable Robertson continues to do just that.