Modern life tends to be a maelstrom of unnecessary stress. Beeping mobile phones here, shrieking social media there, torrents of e-mails piling in everywhere?

There’s barely time to draw breath. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I peered wearily at my inbox and found a bloomin’ e-mail reminding me to draw breath.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to think of a single

human function that technology hasn’t somehow commandeered, apart from, say, forlorn sighing.

Oh, hold on, there’s a WhatsApp message warning me that my ‘forlorn sighing storage limit’ is almost full. For goodness sake.

At least affairs in Scottish golf continue to give us some soothing escapism.

A week ago we were writing about Grant Forrest’s maiden win on the European Tour and how his time had come while suggesting that Calum Hill’s time would also come too, even though we can never say with any great authority when that time will actually come. Well, it arrived on Sunday in the Cazoo Classic and we were all left to toast back-to-back tartan-tinged triumphs on the European Tour for the first time since 2012.

Hill is now into the top 100 of the world rankings for the first time and the 26-year-old’s confidence will have rocketed even higher. It wasn’t that long ago that us crotchety lot who cover this flummoxing, fickle stick and ba’ game for a living were grousing and groaning about Scotland not having a European Tour player under the age of 30.

It was a justified grumble, though. On a circuit full of talented teens and thrusting 20-somethings, we were left to mull and mutter over something of a lost generation. Of course, in a global, cut-throat profession of formidable strength in depth, the home of golf has no God-given right to success but the lack of fresh talent coming through left our troubled brows as furrowed as a badly ploughed field.

In this cyclical game of peaks, troughs, feasts and famines, however, we are now savouring a fairly rich harvest.

A few years ago, Paul Lawrie, a national golfing treasure whose tireless efforts to bolster golf and golfers in his homeland knows no bound, aired his concerns about the lack of a flag-bearer leading the way on the tour; that trailblazer who would set the standard while coaxing and cajoling the others into upping the ante.

Success, they say, breeds success and it seems that is ringing true just now. The crop who all turned professional at a similar time are thriving. With Robert MacIntyre, Forrest and Hill at the vanguard of this new wave, there is presence and exposure which can inspire.

On the second-tier Challenge Tour, meanwhile, Ewen Ferguson and Craig Howie are both occupying places in the top-10 of the rankings and remain on course to earn promotion to the main European circuit.

At an amateur level, the weekend gave us more reasons to be cheerful. Hannah Darling, a terrific teenage talent who has an engaging personality that’s as bubbly as a vigorously shoogled bottle of Prosecco, added yet another title to her burgeoning collection as she became the first Scot in 20 years to win the prestigious Girls’ Amateur Championship.

With West Kilbride’s Louise Duncan winning the Women’s Championship earlier in the campaign, the Scottish double whammy is a first since Catriona Matthew and Mhairi McKay plundered the women’s and girls’ crowns back in 1993. And their careers turned out quite nicely.

Predictions in golf tend to be a fool’s errand. Who knows what the future holds for Darling, or indeed Hill, but, in this very individual game where you lose more often than you win, it’s important to savour the successes when they come along.


In the face of adversity, there can often be humour. “My first tournament after I lost my leg, I played with a man who also had one leg but also had only three fingers,” recalled the Swedish golfer Caroline Mohr during the launch of an initiative between the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) and the European Tour a couple of years ago. “He scored 75 easily but wasn’t pleased and told me, ‘I think I’ve got too many moving parts in my swing’.”

Mental fortitude and the ability to keep smiling has always been a valuable virtue in golf. For those with a disability, it’s very much a case of mind over matter. Over the last few weeks you may have caught some televised coverage of the EDGA events that have been running alongside the regular tour’s Cazoo Open, World Invitational, Hero Open and Cazoo Classic. It remains inspiring, uplifting stuff.

Golf has always taken its fair share of brickbats. Issues around sexism, for instance, have burdened the game for years but the notion that it’s riddled with exclusivity often stems from cliches and lazy assumptions.

The disabled competitions continue to prove that golf can, in fact, be one of the most inclusive sports of all and the efforts of those behind the initiative deserve to be championed.

Golf is not in the Paralympics yet but, given the vast opportunity for growth, its inclusion must be inevitable. This Royal & Ancient pursuit truly is a game for everybody.