GOLF, even at this scribe’s fairly ho-hum level of enthusiastic incompetence, has always been a game of ups and downs, wildly fluctuating fortunes, giddy moments and teeth grinding calamities. Some of us probably go through all of those emotions during our bloomin’ practice swings to be honest.

In this most furiously fickle of pursuits there is no magic recipe, no simple, one size fits all formula for fulfilment and certainly no fast-track to success.

“It sounds boring and there’s nothing flashy or exciting about it but it’s just hard work and being disciplined with my practice,” said Martin Laird as he tried to put his finger on why he has reached the lofty peaks countless others never get close to scaling.

After bridging a seven-year title gap on the PGA Tour with his fourth victory on the world’s most lucrative and competitive circuit recently in Las Vegas, the Glasgow exile is a golfer reborn. That winning feeling never loses its lustre. “Of all my wins, this one feels the best,” said the 37-year-old after emerging from a period of injury and a loss of form to claim a thrilling win in the Shriners Open.

“After a seven year drought, there were many times I’d think ‘will I ever win again?’ I wasn’t getting any younger, my game wasn’t great for a few years and the standard on tour gets better and better. The winning feeling certainly gets more satisfying with age. Hopefully there are better years to come. This is certainly not a farewell win. It’s like a restart.”

But let’s go back to where this particular American dream began. It’s two decades now since Laird left his native Scotland as a teenager in the year 2000 to begin a scholarship in Colorado. The pleasant climes, combined with the golfing rigours of the US college golf scene, helped to mould a player of considerable substance while his own work ethic and jaw-jutting, competitive obstinance would come to the fore.

“I was speaking to my old college coach recently and he said ‘you practised harder than anyone and you fought harder than anyone on the team’,” reflected Laird. “In golf, you’re going to have a heck of a lot of ups and downs. It’s a pretty easy sport to get down and dejected about and question what you’re doing. But I seem to have this stubbornness to just keep at it and see where it goes.”

The PGA Tour was the ultimate destination for Laird but getting there, through mini-tours, qualifying schools and the second-tier Nationwide Tour, demanded a level of grit that used to be the reserve of the Ancient Mariner.

“I’d won my second event as a pro, the Denver State Open, and then managed to get on to the Nationwide Tour,” added Laird of this clamber up the pro ladder. “I naively thought ‘oh well, I’ve won a couple of mini-tour events so the Nationwide Tour shouldn’t be a problem’. But I went out that first year and finished somewhere like 160th on the money list. It was a real wake up call. You quickly realise you’re not as good as you think you are.

Laird would certainly put in the hard yards. By 2008 he had earned a place on the PGA Tour. On the final hole of the final event of his rookie season, his unwavering, defiant resolve shone through.

With only the top 125 on the money list keeping their tour cards, Laird needed to par the last hole to earn enough to move to the safety of 125th on the order of merit. As those of a Scottish persuasion nibbled their fingers into calloused stumps, he splashed out of the greenside bunker and trundled in a knee-knocking putt to retain his full playing privileges by the skin of his pearly whites.

“Who knows how my career would have turned out had I missed that,” he said. “It was so huge. It gave me a full status for the next year and, in 2009, I ended up winning my first event.”

A resurgent Laird now hopes there will be a few more memorable moments to come.