It’s a funny old game at all levels. At the weekend, European Tour stalwart, Anthony Wall, announced he was retiring at the age of 42 with the physical ravages of two decades on the circuit finally taking a toll.

Wall won his maiden tour title in 2000 and then waited 16 years for another one to come along when he secured the Paul Lawrie Matchplay crown on Scottish soil. It was the longest gap between wins in European Tour history.

On the amateur front, meanwhile, Grantown’s Hannah McCook didn’t have to wait quite as long for a second crown of her blossoming career. Seven days after winning the Welsh Ladies’ Open Strokeplay Championship in a play-off, McCook doubled up and captured the Irish Open title at County Louth by two strokes.

“This is very weird, I’m not sure what’s happening,” said a clearly delighted McCook. “To have won one was amazing but to now have two? Wow.

“I’d won a couple of University events, but this is the first time I have found some form in an international sense.

“At the beginning of the year my goal was to win but to have done so twice in a row is just amazing. Last week I was in tears when I won but this week I am just in shock.”

Meanwhile, the R&A have unveiled figures showing a significant rise in nine hole scores being submitted at club level.

With leisure time being squeezed due to a variety of factors, the game’s governing body has been making a concerted effort to push shorter forms of the game, both competitively and recreationally, in this increasingly hectic, breathless age when folk seem to run out of breath halfway through reading the word breathless.

In Scotland, there was a 30 per cent increase in nine-hole competitive scores returned (30,021 to 39,107) between 2016 and 2017 while nine-hole club rounds by women and girls in Ireland went up by 64 per cent and by over 200 per cent among men and boys.

Shorter formats of golf are hardly a new innovation, of course. The scalable nature of the game, whereby you could nip out for a little loop of holes, is one of its great strengths but at a time when speed is demanded by society, the powers-that-be are making a major play of getting the message across.

Elsewhere, Catriona Matthew may be the European Solheim Cup captain but she still has to do things the hard way.

Yesterday, at The Buckinghamshire, the North Berwick veteran secured a place in the US Women’s Open after coming through a 36-hole qualifier which was offering just four places for the major next month.

Matthew had rounds of 69 and 75 for a level-par 144 and finished second behind Swedish amateur Linn Grant.

There was disappointment for Matthew’s compatriot, Heather MacRae, who missed out in a play-off for the final spot. MacRae finished in a share of fourth place but lost in the four-way shoot-out.