You devotees of The Herald are an erudite lot so one presumes you are aware of Sisyphus? He was that poor rascal from Greek mythology who was forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down every time it neared the top. On and on he went, repeating this laborious, futile endeavour for an eternity.

In some ways, it’s a bit like wearied readers attempting to heave their way through to the end of this column.

Anyway, I was reminded of auld Sisyphus the other morning as I gazed wearily at my email folder and realised that the task of actually cleaning up the digital detritus that has accumulated in it is, well, Sisyphean in its fruitless enormity.  

Looking at my overflowing inbox is akin to walking down a country lane and suddenly being confronted with a startling pile of mattresses, tyres, paint pots and burst black bin liners that have just been hurled out of a white van by a fly tipper. It’s a bloomin’ disgrace. Perhaps I should ask Nicola Sturgeon for hints on deleting things?

Amid this non-stop tsunami of overwhelming online correspondence, there was one message that stood out recently. It was from Scottish Golf and it outlined changes to the Scottish Boys’ and Girls’ Championships in 2024.

In a nutshell, a merged event will now feature a field of 156 players – only 44 girls, though - competing over the same course for individual titles. The matchplay aspect has been binned and, instead, the new competition will be a 54-hole strokeplay shoot-out with no cut. LIV Golf comes to the under-18 amateur scene, eh?

The Scottish Golf heid bummers gave various reasons for the facelift; it recognises that more flexibility in the schedule is needed, the shorter format is more accessible and appealing for players and parents. That kind of thing.

Given that entries had been dwindling for both events in recent years, it’s perhaps understandable that something had to be done. Only 43 players entered the Girls’ Championship this season, for instance. That not enough juniors, for whatever reason, can sustain two events, however, is both a major shame and a concern.

For us creatures of habit in the golf writing scene, meanwhile, the end of the Scottish Boys’ Championship as a treasured matchplay affair has just about prompted the kind of nostalgic yearning that should be accompanied by a colliery brass band.

Back in 2017, when the under-18 showpiece was moved from its traditional April slot to the height of the summer, we lamented the loss of this cherished golfing rite of spring.

Along with that hit about out over at Augusta National, the Scottish Boys’ Championship in these parts was viewed romantically by many as the true start of the season. Even newspaper sub-editors with very little interest in junior golf had the event seared on their minds.

“Oh God, that’s the one with all the bloody results isn’t it?,” they would gasp as they braced themselves for the annual prospect of shoehorning a quite staggering number of ties onto a page.

Getting a result wrong from a mighty field of 256 players almost led to the kind of grim punishment dished out to the aforementioned Sisyphus. I, for instance, may have sent a batch of scores which included, J McAnespie (Lochwinnoch) beat S McCracken (Hollandbush) 6&5.

But hold on a minute. It should’ve read, S McCracken (Hollandbush) beat J McAnespie (Lochwinnoch) 6&5. And how did you know you’d made a mistake? Because S McCracken from Hollandbush’s fuming faither would come knocking on the small press room door to complain.

“Who’s here from The Herald?,” came the slightly menacing question from a seething parent whose son had been denied his moment of glory in print. “Er, I think he’s out at the extreme end of the course just now,” came the cowardly response from the sheepish man from The Herald.

Matchplay golf, the purest form of the game, spawned a variety of triumphs, tantrums, tears and some quite terrible tankings. The ruthless, no second chances, lose and yer oot format led to some sobering experiences.

One young hopeful from Wick had travelled all the way down to West Kilbride only to suffer an 8&7 trouncing in round one. Oh well, you learn more from your losses, so they say. What the young ‘uns will learn from a no-cut, 54-holer in terms of competitive resolve, meanwhile, is open to debate.

Amid the abundant tales during a marathon six-days of the Scottish Boys’ Championship, there were the odd controversies too. One unedited, self-penned player biography which slipped through the net, and included in the ‘other interests’ section a colourful description of his nocturnal carousing and conquests, ended up making the front page of a national red top.

Not surprisingly, the appalled Scottish Golf Union officials swiftly began leafing through every single bio with the kind of stringent censorship usually adopted by Kim Jong Un.

Either that, or they were feverishly trying to find out the locations of some of those effervescent night spots where said player had enjoyed his lively dalliances.

It was all part of the event’s rich tapestry. The times, though, they are a-changing. For many with fond memories of the dear old Scottish Boys’ Championship, however, this latest change has gone down like a 9&8 thumping.