ARE you scunnered by the coverage of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational event and all its associated palavers yet? Yes? Well, that’s good to know because for the next 700 or so words you can escape all that money-soaked kerfuffle and reflect on a more wholesome golfing occasion.

Back in 1986, the good ladies of the GB&I Curtis Cup team managed to achieve a feat that was bigger than some of the cheques being dished out down at The Centurion Club when they won on American turf for the first time in the biennial bout’s history.

No other GB&I side has managed to replicate that effort since but the current crop, which includes the Scottish duo of Louise Duncan and Hannah Darling, will have another go at it this weekend when the transatlantic tussle takes place at storied Merion in Pennsylvania.

Things have changed a bit since 1986, of course. Belle Robertson, the celebrated and decorated Dunaverty golfer, is well aware of that. “I think the oldest player competing this time will be only 23 or something?,” suggested the sprightly 86-year-old.

Robertson was pretty close with her estimation. It’s actually 22. “I was 50 when I played in 1986,” she gasped with a reflective chuckle. “The idea of a 50-year-old playing these days is ridiculous.”

Robertson may have reached her half century when she made her seventh, and final, playing appearance in the Curtis Cup at Prairie Dunes in Kansas 36 years ago but those advancing years were certainly no barrier to success.

She won both the Scottish Women’s Matchplay and Strokeplay titles that season and an historic 13-5 victory in the Curtis Cup was the icing on the cake for Robertson having suffered six losses as a player – and two as non-playing captain – since a debut way back in 1960.

“We had a wonderful team, a great mix of youth and experience and it was an utter joy” added Robertson with the kind of glowing sense of nostalgia that should’ve been accompanied by a tune from a colliery brass band. “The young ones would come into the team room for breakfast and say ‘it’s very quiet’ and before you knew it, the radio was on, the TV was on and the noise was blaring. They made you feel young again. You laughed with them, they gave you respect but a bit of cheek too and you would do the same. It was a lovely mix.”

This mix of players wasn’t the only special concoction in the GB&I armoury that week. “It was so hot in Kansas and in her preparations, our captain, Diane Bailey, had a long chat with the England football manager (Bobby Robson) about a drink they used during that year’s World Cup in Mexico,” recalled Robertson. “It was a mix that helped combat all the salt you lost when you were sweating. The US players said it was our special medicine.”

GB&I certainly put in a special performance. Robertson, and her playing partner, the Irish great Mary McKenna, aided the cause with a win and a half from their two foursomes matches as GB&I eased to a mighty conquest.

“I holed a putt of some 20-feet to grab a half on that second day and the captain came up and said, ‘will I let you go out on a high?’,” said Robertson about sitting out the singles session. “I said, ‘I’d be delighted’. I would’ve struggled to have played a singles match straight away. I walked around watching in the afternoon and almost felt embarrassed for the Americans as we were so far ahead.”

An indefatigable campaigner, Robertson was the non-playing GB&I Curtis Cup skipper in both 1974 and 1976. “But I always preferred playing in it,” she stated. “When I was captain, one of the young girls came up to me the day before it started and said, ‘I’m awfully frightened I let you down’. I said to her, ‘I’m terrified I let you all down with my decisions’. It was much better being a player.”

In 1986, Robertson was back on the frontline and competing with wonderful aplomb. “The whole team just clicked,” she said.

Hopefully, a new generation of GB&I golfers can find a winning formula on US soil this weekend.