THEY like things big in the good old US of A don’t they? Take dining out, for instance.

Having been billeted in deepest Iowa for the past week at the Solheim Cup, this scribe never ceases to be amazed by the sheer scale of the carnivorous excesses that get plonked down in front of you on a nightly basis.

At times, you may as well just lie back, open your mouth and let an entire herd of stampeding cattle come thundering down your thrapple and into your creaking, groaning stomach. Ribs here, vast clumps of charred carcasses there? It’s a chomping, sooking, slootering feeding frenzy that resembles a barbecue in Sawney Bean’s cave. Only slightly less civilized.

Loading article content

The bigger the better is the motto and that certainly was the case at that Solheim Cup. Des Moines, the host venue for this latest edition of the biennial bunfight between the USA and Europe, put on a shimmering show and, in an area starved of top level sporting fare, it was hardly surprising that huge crowds turned out to savour what was on the golfing menu.

The 2017 showpiece certainly raised the bar. It’s now Scotland’s turn to inch it up that wee bit more. In two years’ time, Gleneagles will roll out the welcome mat as the Solheim Cup is held in the cradle of the game for a third time and a first since Loch Lomond was the stage back in 2000.

After the success of the 2014 Ryder Cup at the plush Perthshire resort, there shouldn’t be any problems dealing with the Solheim Cup bandwagon. One of the main issues, however, relates to people actually going.

Regular readers of these weekly wafflings – yes, I believe there are one or two hardy perennials - will be aware of the concerning drop in attendance figures at various Scottish golf events, a topic that has been highlighted in these bletherations a few times this summer.

It’s a problem that is not lost on those charged with showcasing golf and Scotland to the wider world.

“I guess my worry for 2019 is, will the Scottish public come out?,” said Paul Bush, the events director with VisitScotland. “Without being critical, I think there is a degree of complacency in Scotland. We have to try to make the Solheim Cup a bucket list event. In 2014, for example, they all wanted to go to the Commonwealth Games.

Perhaps some didn’t know what it was. But it stuck out. They felt like ‘we’ve got to go’. There’s none of that with the Solheim. Some people don’t know the Solheim Cup is coming.”

Just the other month, the home of golf welcomed the best female golfers in the world for both the Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald and the Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns. While you can’t frogmarch folk through the gates, the attendances at both were disappointingly modest but again illustrated the problems that come from having such a jam-packed schedule of events.

Next year’s calendar, for example, is bursting at the seams. In the space of a month and in a relatively small radius on the east coast, there will be the men’s Scottish Open at Gullane, the Open at Carnoustie, the Ladies Scottish Open back at Gullane and the Senior Open at St Andrews.

The fact the Ladies Scottish Open takes place the same week as the golden oldies showpiece is a quite crippling clash and whoever scribbled that one into the diary should be given a rap with the cat o’ nine tails.

Nobody benefits in a scenario like that. The various golfing bodies and stakeholders always say that they are aware of other events taking place and that they co-operate with counterparts elsewhere but these ridiculous overlaps smack of self-interest.

Raising the profile of the women’s game here remains a key priority. In Germany, for instance, female membership at golf clubs is nearer 40 per cent.

In the home of the golf, it’s just 14 per cent, a statistic that a former Ladies European Tour chief executive once described as “shocking” and made Scotland resemble “a developing country.”

The Solheim Cup at Des Moines was a terrific occasion featuring some quite mesmerising golf.

If that didn’t whet the Scottish public’s interest, then nothing will.