Hamish McALPINE got his hands to a few things in his pomp as the Dundee United custodian. Getting his fingers on a ticket for The Masters proved elusive, though.

If things had been all well in the world this week, he could have been off to Georgia to watch his son, Kevin, help plot a path round Augusta National as caddie to fellow Scot Martin Laird.

“I remember The Masters being the only television programme that my dad didn’t flick through the channels when it was on,” Kevin said. “I wish I could call him while I’m on the property to show him the course but, as are the rules, you can’t have your phone.”

McAlpine is getting his first taste of the charms and challenges of this revered citadel of the game. As a fine amateur golfer – he won both the Scottish matchplay and strokeplay titles before turning pro – he always harboured ambitions of walking through golf’s Pearly Gates as a player.

“That was always a dream but I guess caddying is the next best thing,” he said. “I’m not looking forward to wearing those white caddie jumpsuits, mind you. But that’s a small price to pay in order to grace the hallowed turf.”

After his successful career in the unpaid ranks, McAlpine’s stint in the professional scene was largely unfulfilling. His time as a trusty bagman, though, has been much more rewarding. Alongside Lexi Thompson, he helped her win two LPGA Tour titles while the duo came within a play-off of Major glory at a contentious ANA Inspiration in 2017. McAlpine was also by the side of Amy Yang for another win on the women’s stage.

Augusta may be a step into the unknown but the Scot is ready to embrace the examination.

“I’ve had four-and-a-bit years’ experience caddying at a professional level all of which I’m sure will help me,” he said. “I’ve been on the bag for three tour wins. That combined with Martin’s four wins, three Masters outings and 13 years on tour makes for a pretty decent pot of knowledge and experience between us.”

And what about seeking out some additional guidance and pearls of wisdom of the caddie brethren?

“Last week in Texas, Martin was paired with Jim Furyk who has Fluff Cowan on his bag,” said McAlpine of a redoubtable caddie who has been around so long, he has strokesavers etched on parchment.

“After the round I asked Fluff two top tips for Augusta. After some humming and hawing, he couldn’t come up with anything. Surprised, I walked away only for him to follow and say ‘caddie like you would anywhere else’.

“By the time we tee-off, I’ll have plenty information to do my job. I’ll just try to be myself, have the answer to any questions that may be thrown my way and be confident in my decisions. I think experience and years of work are needed to feel 100 per cent comfortable with Augusta but I’ll do my best. Winning isn’t easy and there is a very fine line between making the cut and being in the hunt on Sunday. A few putts here, a nice bounce there and who knows?”

McAlpine started working with Laird this year. The pair have a connection through Colorado State University and the golfing education continues.

“Working with Martin has been a learning experience, as it should be,” noted McAlpine. “I’m learning, he’s learning and we’re both trying to get better at what we do. I think it’s hard to compare the tours and the genders but there is no doubt that every single player out there can play.”

With the number of patrons restricted amid the on-going covid pandemic, McAlpine will at least have some familiar faces behind the ropes to rally him on. His wife Anna Nordqvist, the Solheim Cup stalwart and two-time women’s Major winner, and her Scottish caddie, Paul Cormack, will both be on site.

“Martin was kind enough to get me two tickets and I think Anna is more excited for me being there than actually coming to watch herself,” he said. “As for Paul? He is on a Masters beer cup collecting mission.”

A caddie having a drink? That will never catch on.