The times, they are a-changing. For some staunch traditionalists in the amateur game, the sight of a GB&I Walker Cup team being led out by a professional captain would be viewed as act of heresy punishable by ritual drowning in the Swilcan Burn.

“I’m a traditionalist when it comes to golf too and I’m thrilled by this,” said Dean Robertson, who will be that professional who leads out GB&I’s amateurs in the biennial tussle against the USA next year.

“I was told before Christmas that the terms of the captain had changed and was asked if I would consider applying. I didn’t need to think long about it.”

Having appointed Catriona Matthew as the GB&I women’s captain for this year’s Curtis Cup, the R&A broke with convention again earlier in the week when they unveiled Robertson as skipper for the men’s squad. At this rate, the St Andrews-based governing body will be renamed the Radical & Ancient.

In an age when professionalism is king and the career amateur is about as old fashioned as a thatched roof, the conversation about former Walker Cup players, who subsequently turned pro, possibly becoming a GB&I skipper and, thus, opening up more captaincy options for the R&A has been doing the rounds for a while.

The talking can now stop. Robertson, a winner on the old European Tour back in 1999, will be something of a trailblazer and the R&A could not have appointed a better qualified man to lead GB&I into this new era.

The 53-year-old, who was a Walker Cup player himself in 1993, ticks more boxes than someone filling in the Census form.

His work as the high performance coach at Stirling University has burnished his reputation while his in-depth knowledge of the international amateur scene, and the unwavering enthusiasm he has for the game he adores, will ensure that his captaincy will be as meticulous as a CT scan.

“To still be involved in a sport I love is a real privilege and I’ll put everything into this,” he said. “I want to create an environment that helps the players be their best and I want them to recognise how important the Walker Cup is on their journey.

"You don’t really realise it when you’re young. I’m not saying you take it for granted but it happens so quickly and before you know it, it’s over and, in many cases, it’s never to be repeated. You look back and think, ‘those were the best days of my life’. And they truly were. My amateur days were special, special times. Tiger (Woods), Rory (McIlroy), whoever. They’ll agree with that too.”

First up for Robertson is this July’s St Andrews Trophy, the encounter between GB&I and Europe, before he cracks on with assembling a team for the Walker Cup at Cypress Point in 2025.

There is a lot of golf to be played before then, of course. There is, potentially, a lot of chopping and changing of personnel to come too. The stampede of young amateurs into the professional game thunders on but Robertson has some words of caution to those who are tempted.

“If you’re not beating the best in class as an amateur, then you’ll have an uphill struggle to go out and play against the best pros,” he said. “A lot don’t realise how hard it is.

"I remember years ago coming home after a poor day on the course and my dad said, ‘well, if you think you’re turning pro, son, you’ve got another thing coming’. He was always hugely supportive but he was a realist too. He was right. You need to learn how to win first. And I want winners on my team.”

GB&I have only won the Walker Cup on American soil twice, in 1989 and 2001. If Robertson masterminds an away win, he will probably get the freedom of St Andrews.

His own playing experience in the event, while memorable, ended in a hefty 19-5 defeat at Interlachen. “The USA holed putts from all over the place,” recalled the Paisley man.

“The greens were so fast over there and we hadn’t really been exposed to that. Players nowadays are much more used to it. And that’s where the Walker Cup is won and lost; on the greens. It will be imperative that the players are ready for that.”

Robertson will certainly have his charges well prepared. You could say he will be professional in his approach. Just don’t tell the traditionalists that.