I KNOW I muttered and moaned about the weather in last week’s opening meanders but, given that listening to the relentlessly bleak Met Office bulletins these days is about as uplifting as hearing an air-raid siren when you’ve just taken a perch in the outhouse, there’s nothing much else to do but mutter and moan.

Perhaps it’s just a crushing coincidence, but ever since Brexit was ushered in with all the clanking, stumbling uncertainty of Frankenstein’s hideous aberration taking its first tentative steps, the weather has been bloomin’ repugnant.

It’s as if the first trade deal outside the EU has led to ham-fisted Government oafs striking a lucrative arrangement to become a centralised hub for meteorological misery.

As far as golf is concerned, meanwhile, there are always storms to be weathered. Patrick Reed’s win in the WGC-Mexico Championship on Sunday, against the backdrop of those well-documented cheating claims earlier in the year, has generated so many waves, he’ll soon be appearing on the Shipping Forecast.


Closer to home, meanwhile, the threatened closures of five of Glasgow’s six municipal golf courses has provided another dour outlook for the game in its cradle.

The possible savaging of a number of public courses in Ayrshire, including the terrific Ayr Belleisle, has only added to the sense of doom and gloom.

Reading about golf in this country recently has provided plenty of food for thought. While Glasgow ‘munis’ like Littlehill, Linn Park or Alexandra Park can be played for relative sweeties, a trip to Jura House on the Ardfin Estate in the inner Hebrides, with golf and other extravagances flung in, will apparently cost £20,000 per night.

In some ways, these tales of golfing life at very different ends of the game’s spectrum reminded me – and I say this with a shudder – of the words of Donald Trump about five years ago as he spouted forth about this Royal & Ancient pursuit.

“Let golf be elitist,” he declared. “When I say “aspire,” that’s a positive word. Let people work hard and aspire to some day be able to play golf. To afford to play it. “They’re trying to teach golf to people who will never be able to really play it. They’re trying too hard. People should come to golf, golf shouldn’t come to them.”


What a load of phooey. Of course, in this country, where ‘grow the game’ initiatives are here, there and everywhere, such an outlook would, in many quarters, be laughed out of town.

But there is a sense in which we have to ask where golf in its birthplace is heading? Can it still be a game for all or will Scotland just become a playground for an elite band of day-trippers with the kind of riches that would make King Midas look like Albert Steptoe?

In the next couple of months, Dumbarnie Links in Fife, a golf heartland hardly short of cracking facilities, will open its doors with a standard green fee of £235.

No disrespect to the good folk involved with this venture but do we really need another expensive expanse of golfing land in a nation already saturated with them?

Meanwhile, the strange situation surrounding the multi-million pound gWest resort next to Gleneagles, a virtually deserted yet fully maintained venue which is as mysterious as an abandoned galleon floating and creaking in a low mist, was highlighted again in a Radio 4 documentary at the weekend.

READ MORE: Reed wins but he's not winning them over

Elsewhere, the news that the contentious Coul Links development near Dornoch has been refused planning permission was at least a relief; a moral victory against the whims of marauding corporate interests. Enough is enough, surely?

The closure of golf courses in Scotland is accelerating and the demise of established old haunts like Eastwood, Dollar, Mount Ellen and others in recent months has simply underlined the parlous state in which many clubs are operating.

This indiscriminate, savage cull was always going to happen, of course, and chronic over-provision, combined with a withering cocktail of complacency, societal shifts, market forces, falling participation and even a bit of climate change, continues to come home to roost.

READ MORE: Golfing great Mickey Wright dies

The nation’s municipal courses, meanwhile, have their heads on the block. Nostalgia won’t save them. Yes, it’s regrettable that these relatively cheap, accessible and valuable first points of entry into the game are being lost but, sadly, it’s just another sign of the golfing times.

Cut-price golf all over the shop has been easily available for years now and the good old ‘muni’ stands as a monument to a very different landscape.

Glasgow City Cooncil struggles to fix a pothole, let alone maintain an 18-hole golf course. Making these layouts nine-hole or even six-hole facilities would possibly be of greater benefit but even then they may wither on the vine in an age when supply is outweighing the demand.

Amid austerity, cloth-cutting and budget cuts, you don’t have to look any great distance to see the need for spending on far more essential public services.

Lamentably, the municipal may soon be out of bounds at a time when golf club closures in general are becoming, well, par for the course