Rather like prising open a casket of ancient treasures, a club golfer lifting up the hatch of the car boot to reveal a bewildering array of putters never ceases to spark gasps of wonder.

In the endless quest to find a better way to get a little ball to drop into a cup – not quite the Holy Grail, more the holing out travail - many of us have accumulated the kind of vast armoury you used to get at the Glen Douglas Munitions Depot.

This tangled pile of assorted putting paraphernalia, which has been banished amid much cursing condemnation, merely serves as a sombre shrine to muttering futility on the greens.

What was it Tony Lema once uttered about the putter? “Here is an instrument of torture, designed by Tantalus and forged in the devil’s own smithy.”

Through the golfing ages, the act of putting has teased and tormented. The mighty Old Tom Morris was so renowned for his putting woes, a letter sent back in the day simply addressed ‘The Misser of Short Putts, Prestwick’ was delivered straight to him by the postman.

Gary Nicol, the well-respected Scottish golf coach, has just about seen it all when it comes to the old flat stick. “I probably owned a boot full of putters myself,” he said with a reflective chuckle. “It’s the finality of putting which creates much of the anguish. The closer you get to the hole, the higher your expectations are.”

The putting process has been back in the spotlight this week with the likes of Brad Faxon and Billy Horschel railing against the increasing use of the arm-lock grip, a method many suggest constitutes anchoring, which was banned by golf’s high heid yins back in 2016.

“I’d rather see two hands on the putter and nothing else,” Nicol said of golf’s ultimate test of nerve. “It’s all part of the many skills required to play golf. The arm-lock grip looks dicey. It’s a crutch. People who go to that don’t have control of the putter. In my view, that’s down to trying to perfect a technique. They are trying not to get it wrong rather than trying to get it right. I’m not a fan.”

In collaboration with sports psychologist, Karl Morris, Nicol’s book, The Lost Art Of Putting, has been gobbled up over the last couple of years by those who thought they were a lost cause on the greens.

In those carefree golfing days of youthful joie de vivre, you probably holed just about everything. Or so it seemed. As the years pass, and you actually begin to think about this infernal game, putting can descend into crotchety confusion and incompetence.

“When you work with kids, you tell them to get the ball in the hole and they just figure it out,” added Nicol, who has worked with a raft of European Tour champions and Ryder Cup campaigners down the seasons. “As you get older, you tend to lose that. You get so far away from the real you, you end up completely lost.

“We’re a bit too afraid to trust our instincts. We are always looking for reassurance and confirmation that we are putting properly in a technical sense. I know guys who have beautiful putting strokes but you’d still fancy taking a tenner off them on the putting green. We have all probably fallen into the same trap of spending too much time on the putting stroke and not enough time on the putting skills.”

When it comes to putting, the phrase ‘pace is king’ is Nicol’s mantra. “It all sounds very simplistic but we do get very wrapped up in the line of a putt,” he said. “Line is a bit more obvious than pace. But if you don’t know how hard you are going to hit it, then how can you choose a line? The pace determines the line but nobody talks about the pace. If you can find a training aid that focuses entirely on pace I’ll buy it for you because it doesn’t exist. They are all about line.”

And what about the increasingly popular Green Books, those Ordnance Survey maps for reading putting surfaces? “For me, all they do is slow down play and provide more confusion than clarity,” Nicol said. “We should burn them.”

We could stick a few putters from the car boot on the pyre too.