How you store your golf clubs after a round probably says a lot about how you actually play the game. There will be some of you, for instance, who bring them into the house, give them a thorough clean down and a buff up and place them in a designated space during a routine of unceasing diligence that ensures they are primed for another day of fulfilling endeavour out on the course.

As for this hapless correspondent? Well, my old sticks tend to get shoved into the back of the car with the same kind of callous disregard adopted by a hitman when he has to bundle a tarpaulin-wrapped corpse into the boot.

To tell you the truth, I’ve not played a heck of a lot of golf this year so it’s hard to gauge where my game is just now and it’s certainly too early to say whether the season will be a complete farce or just a mere debacle.

In this game, you never know. As that great golfing imposter Maurice Flitcroft once observed: “Things were going quite well until I four-putted from eight-feet on the first.”

Golf has always been a mystifying pursuit and it can leave most of us scratching our heads like Stan Laurel trying to fathom out the Deposit Return Scheme.

On Sunday, Matteo Manassero – remember him? – gave himself a much-needed tonic with victory on the second-tier Challenge Tour in Denmark and made a statement which underlined golf’s unwavering ability to flummox.

“Golf is strange and hard to understand at times and we probably shouldn’t try too hard to understand it,” he said.

I’ll bear that pearl of wisdom in mind and use it as a response any time a curious playing partner watches me limber up on the first tee and says, ‘good grief, is that how you actually swing the club?’

Unless you have a heart chiselled out of quartz, it was hard not to be cheered by Manassero’s success. Somewhat fittingly, it came on the weekend of the 10th anniversary of his greatest conquest at the BMW PGA Championship back in 2013. His Danish win on Sunday was not in the same league, of course, but in terms of galvanising a career, it could be hugely significant.

Manassero’s victory at Wentworth a decade ago at the age of just 20 saw him become the youngest player to win the DP World Tour’s flagship event as this very special talent from Verona moved into the top-30 of the world rankings. 

It was a spectacular Italian Job that should’ve featured a commentary from Michael Caine. While the bus from that comedy crime caper was last glimpsed see-sawing on the edge of a mountain precipice, Manassero would topple over the golfing cliff in the years after that PGA conquest.

His well-documented spiral into golfing despair made for a painful unravelling, particularly when we think back to way he burst into the spotlight with such carefree, charismatic gusto in 2009 by winning the Amateur Championship at just 16. He then went on to land the silver medal at that year’s Open by finishing in a share of 13th at Turnberry before turning professional in 2010.

From reaching a career high of 25th on the global order, Manassero would descend into the kind of bleak depths usually reserved for the humpback angler fish. By 2020, he was ranked 1805th.

In this period of toil and trouble, he embarked on various technical tinkerings that resulted in more pain than gain while some deeper, personal lows added to the burdens in a game already full of weighty, complex demands. There’s no place to hide in the harsh, brutal business of professional golf and Manassero’s fragilities were ruthlessly exposed.

After the savage dunt of hitting rock bottom, however, Manassero may just be poised for a second coming. He’s still only 30 and his weekend win propelled him up into the top-five of the Challenge Tour rankings and well inside the promotion places for the DP World Tour.

Had things worked out differently, Manassero could’ve been the poster boy for this year’s Ryder Cup in his home nation of Italy. But golf, as we all know, is full of what-ifs, maybes and might-have-beens.

From that spectacularly rapid rise as a teenager, Manassero is now on a very different journey as he continues to put in the hard yards on his long road to recovery. Good luck to him.

And another thing ...

Rose Zhang, the Stanford University golfer who’s broken more records than a rampaging bull at a second-hand vinyl fare, is set to make her debut as a professional on the LPGA Tour in New Jersey this week.

In a glory-laden amateur career, the 20-year-old has won the US Junior Championship, the US Women’s Amateur Championship, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and back-to-back NCAA Championship titles while she was world amateur No 1 for 141 weeks. 

Her haul of 12 college wins set a new Stanford record which was previously held by a certain Tiger Woods. “I'm quite certain I'll never coach anyone quite like Rose again, she's a generational player,” said Zhang’s Stanford coach and Strathaven exile, Anne Walker.

Amateur accomplishments, of course, are never a guarantee of professional success. Stepping up is a different ball game but Zhang is more than equipped for the test.