Back in ye olde days, before colour or smiling was invented and men spent a lot of time leaning on a mantelpiece while smoking a pipe and twirling their moustache, haughty opinions were everywhere.

When the female golfers of the late 1800s expressed a desire to form what would become the Ladies’ Golf Union, for instance, the derision was rampant and arrogantly withering.

Horace Hutchinson, one of the finest male amateurs of the time, wrote a letter – or a charter for sexism – which stated that ‘women never have and never can unite to push any scheme to success’. Hutchinson added that ‘constitutionally and physically women are unfitted for golf’ while declaring that the ‘first ladies’ championship will be the last’. He was quite the all-embracing visionary wasn’t he?

Things have, mercifully, developed a bit since old Horace was in his pompous pomp, of course, and opportunity, visibility and access for women in golf continues to redefine stereotypes, shake off stifling shackles and dust away fusty cliches. It remains a work in progress, though.

In a documentary to be aired tonight (Saturday) on BBC ALBA, Margot McCuaig’s ‘Iron Women’ explores the history of women’s golf in Scotland and shines a light on the pioneers who blazed a trail amid stubborn patriarchal constraints and widespread resistance.

From the golfing fish wives of 18th century Musselburgh to influencers and innovators like Issette Pearson and Agnes Grainger and through to decorated campaigners such as Dorothy Campbell, Jessie Valentine and Belle Robertson..., ‘Iron Women’ celebrates the defiant endeavours of the female flag bearers who helped spread the golfing gospel.

Karyn Dallas, meanwhile, knows a thing or two about breaking new ground. Back in 1998, she became just the second woman, after Portlethen’s Muriel Thomson, to be appointed the full-time professional at a Scottish club when she took up the post at Kirriemuir. Dallas, a former Ladies European Tour player who is now the professional at Forfar, is one of a number of female golfers interviewed in ‘Iron Women’ as they discuss the hurdles that have been plonked in their way down the years while speaking warmly about the joy that a lifetime of golf has brought them.

That passion has not left Dallas. Thankfully, some of the oddities she has encountered are being erased from golf. “We went to an event down south and there was the sign, ‘No Dogs, No Women’,” she recalled of a piece of signage that is just about as infamous as the hoarding for the Bates Motel. “We actually had a bit of a laugh about it. We didn’t even get top billing on the sign. That was the rule at the time, even though they were hosting a women’s event. They took it down the next day. I think we have come a long way since those days and as each generation goes along the waves get softer for those following behind.”

Dallas’ recollections of her formative golf years at East Kilbride remain overwhelmingly positive. Coaxed into the game by her family, her own inspiring heroine was the American great Nancy Lopez. “She had her hair in a ponytail and she put her tee pegs in the back of it,” said Dallas. “That was it for me. I was sold. I wanted to play golf. There were only a couple of other girls playing at East Kilbride at the time but, luckily, our junior covener was very forward thinking. As I was up there all the time, he amalgamated the junior medals and I could play alongside the boys. Had he not done that, and I ended up playing with the same couple of girls all the time, I think I would have just got bored. Sport should be about mixing and making a variety of friendships. That’s what golf is great at.”

Dallas acknowledges that “we are crying out for more female participation” and, in age of myriad distractions and alternative leisure pursuits, golf can ill afford to stand still. “Some clubs may not allow children under 12 in but by that age you’ve already had access to loads of other sports and golf can get left behind,” she said. “At Forfar, they can be signed up at the age of six. Give them a club, a ball and tell them to thwack it and they love it. It’s about getting them hooked early.”

Dallas certainly got hooked and her personal and professional life has been enriched by golf’s presence in it. “Golf has given me challenges but it’s made me the person I am,” she said. “I didn’t let the obstacles get in my way and golf has made me a stronger person.”

The game’s early female pioneers would no doubt have agreed with that particular statement.

Iron Women was produced by Glasgow based purpleTV for BBC ALBA and airs on Saturday, January 2 at 9pm. It will also be available on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days afterwards.