ANYONE who plays golf for fun would go to hell for a pastime.

Well-meaning sadists suggest I take up the game – to shift excess weight.

Seldom do I quote Churchill, but he did opine that, “Golf is a waste of a good walk.”

Well, I’ve watched players jog to the 18th hole. Actually, most hop on motorised buggies – phoning the club bar to line up celebratory whiskies to toast their ‘athleticism.’

PR people labour mightily to present golf as sexy; positioning film actor Jamie Dornan club in hand. Fifty Shades of those checked trousers beloved by Rupert Bear. Garish shirts that scorch retinas. Dornan picked that garb from a catalogue?

Add to this, an old pal’s twitter feed is causing me concern.

For years, I read sportswriter Euan McLean’s dispatches from the football front line. As students we played in the same football team. Euan was a decent player, if lacking the flourishes which earned me the soubriquet: the Johan Cruyff of Jordanhill.

He’s now tweeting panoramic views of courses, affixed with ejaculatory statements – “Look at these Mounds. Those curves and contours.” He speaks of fairways in fetishistic tones.

Call this an intervention. In print. To a splendid bloke taken in by a cult.

Nudging the foothills of middle-age I may be. I’m still unprepared to go gently into that ungood night.

My one ungood night was speaking at a Burns Supper at Hagg’s Castle Golf Club. I’d been warned they were bean-feasts for the bourgeois.

The room was ablaze with bracelets and pinkie rings. Elitist, did you say?

Not one had ever sung along to Sweet Caroline on a bus trip to Blackpool.

Also speaking was Jimmy Reid, and king of clubland comics, Ben Gunn. Ben was a lovely man who sprained my knuckles giving me masonic grips.

He asked me if Jimmy was a retired revolutionary. “He’s part of the Perry Como collective,” I said, “they’ve sleepers around the country. Ready to rise from slumber, don slippers and stir up apathy.”

Swells of laughter from the table. Club secretary, Ernie Walker CBE, asked us to hush, as we were in grave danger of enjoying ourselves.

My speech was greeted with a wave of indifference. The inmates weren’t just making paper aeroplanes. They were constructing battleships of such intricacy Jimmy Reid wanted to launch them on the River Clyde.

But Ben jumped up to salvage a desperate situation. “When I point at you sing, “Red Wine!’ Okay?”

He started singing, to an improbable Bossa Nova beat, Red Wine and a Wench, from Lock Up Your Daughters – a musical play by Lionel Bart.

“Ah-a-wench,” he sang, and then pointed.

I sang, “Red wine!” He poured a full glass of red wine over my head. Tables erupted. Tears rolled down Ernie Walker’s cheeks.

“Again, son!” as he approached the chorus.

“Red Wine!” I sang. Another baptism of Burgundy.

On the last chorus I got the full bottle.

I’ve had an aversion to red wine ever since. I’m only glad it wasn’t whisky.

Brian McGeachan is an author and playwright. His books include They Rose Again and The Cardinal. His plays include Twisted and The Johnny Thomson Story.