BETH ALLEN has always been the kind of lively, effervescent character that’s as bubbly as a bottle of Prosecco in a foam bath. 

As has been the case for all and sundry, though, the prolonged, coronavirus-induced restrictions on life’s comforting, routine pleasures have tested that joie de vivre. “Karaoke, bars and human interaction, that’s what I’m missing,” she said as the Edinburgh-based Californian continues to muddle on through these trying, tiresome times.

Allen is probably sick of muddling on, mind you. Since her glory-laden year of 2016, when she won twice on the Ladies European Tour and became the first American to top the order of merit, her loss of form and confidence has led to much self-analysis and the kind of puzzled head-scratching you’d get at a Downing Street briefing.

“I had so much success in 2016 and then the following summer I hit a wall and I’m still trying to work out what to do,” she admitted. “It got into my head quite badly. I went back to play in the US in 2018 and got my ass handed to me and just went deeper and deeper towards zero confidence. I have been thinking ‘should I try something else away from golf?’ but it’s not really the time in the middle of a pandemic.

“I don’t want to finish because deep down I know I can compete. Even if I got back to 80 per cent of what I’m capable of I feel I could do well. If I was playing my best I know I can win again. 

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"With my coach, Ian Rae, I’ve been working on getting my swing speed up, I need a bit of extra yardage. We’ve had to do something because I can’t go on like this. This is my 17th year as a touring pro but it won’t be worth doing if I’m playing badly. You look back to the days when you were playing well and think golf was so easy. I’ve been flogging a dead horse for the last couple of years but now we’re working on something new and it’s refreshing.”

If her professional life has become something of a millstone, Allen at least has one or two personal milestones to cherish as she heads into 2021. 

We all may have had to sacrifice certain freedoms in this ghastly old period but Allen’s own life-saving sacrifice continues to give her a calming sense of perspective in these torrid times of uncertainty and concern. It’s 10 years now since she donated a kidney to her brother, Dan, in 2011. 

“Everybody has to make sacrifices in one way or another, there are just different levels of it for all of us,” she reflected. “I should think about what I did a bit more because when I do it makes me feel better. Dan thinks about it every day, he’s so grateful. But that makes sense. He’s the one who now doesn’t have to go on that dialysis machine every day. For me, it’s something that will trump everything else I do in my life.”

The new year will also mark the fifth anniversary of Allen’s marriage to her Scottish partner, Clare Queen, the former Curtis Cup player and Ladies European Tour campaigner who is now the performance director with Scottish Golf.

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The tying of the knot coincided with the best season of Allen’s career to date. Happiness off the course tends to have positive effects on it. “We’re still very happy,” she said with a reassuring laugh. “But I think in 2016 I was just riding the crest of the wave. As well as the wins, I had this busy month or so when I played the Women’s British Open and finished in the top-15, then played the US Women’s Open, got married and then finished third in the Scottish Open. I wish I could tap into that feeling again. 

"Growing up in southern California, it was always pretty liberal. My sexuality has never been a big deal and I’ve not made it a big deal throughout my career. It’s just normal. Happiness is what matters and it can make a big difference to your professional life.”

One part of 2021 Allen is perhaps not looking forward to is a certain birthday. “I turn 40 this year,” she said with a wry chortle. But does that no mean life begins and all that? “I still have my ambitions,” she added. “But if this year doesn’t go to plan then I’m not scared of what may happen after golf. That’s actually exciting.”