I use to train the Golden in my avatar with the Springer Club every weekend. Some of the folks there would jokingly say, " if you painted him white & docked his tail, he could win a trial". I had started him off as a puppy just like a springer, encouraging his nose & quartering a field for planted pigeons. He hunted pheasant & grouse every year until he was 9 & tore his ACL.
In reality, although he was the best upland retriever I've seen, compared to a competitive Field Trial Springer, his pace was methodical & he just didn't have the stamina spaniels are known for. The other shortcoming I've noticed w/ retrievers in general is that they tend to trail running birds slower than a Springer. I can recall several wild birds that took us over a quarter mile before he produced them where my Springers can usually catch up to them quite a bit sooner.
Like most retrievers though, he was very intelligent & learned how to use the wind, running a textbook pattern appropriate for whatever the wind conditions & he found his birds from outrageous distances. There was never a question of when he made scent either, the hackles on his shoulders would raise & he drove like a missile into the bird.
He would have been very underwhelmed running a Master Spaniel test.
"The bird hunter watches only the dog, and always knows where the dog is, whether or not visible at the moment. The dog’ nose is the bird hunters eye. Many hunters who carry a shotgun in season have never learned to watch the dog, or interpret his reaction to scent."
Aldo Leopold, Round River