I was back at the driving range recently with my four-and-a-bit-year-old son and I’m pleased to report that there are encouraging signs of progress.

The club is being held the right way up for a start, the ball is now getting off the ground instead of skittering along it and the startling hissy fits, screaming abdabs and foot stamping tantrums have been tempered somewhat by these little glimpses of improvement.

As for my son’s golf? Well, he’s coming on in leaps and bounds. You knew that cornball gag was coming didn’t you?

The gentle, satisfying thwack of club striking ba’ in a relatively quiet practice bay is a sound far removed from the jarring racket being created in the game at large these days. Have you ever known a period of such relentless grousing, harrumphing, upheaval and uncertainty? Dear me.

From club golfers grumbling about the World Handicapping System right through to elite players moaning that they’re not getting paid enough compared to other elite players, while displaying the kind of unhinged entitlement that used to be the reserve of insane Roman emperors, the auld game is in a right pickle.

If it’s not moan, moan, moan, then it’s all me, me, me. With the real world mired in truly desperate straits, golf could do with getting a grip of itself.

But that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon because the next stooshie is hurtling towards us like the asteroid that obliterated the dinosaurs. We're now bracing ourselves for the announcement from the R&A and the USGA about a rolled back ball which will add some much-needed mayhem to golf’s current madhouse.

In March, the governing bodies unveiled plans for a Model Local Rule (MLR) which would require professionals and elite amateurs to play with a limited distance ball while the rest of us would just carry on battering away with whatever dimpled orb we fancied.

The MLR proposal, though, went down like a sack of spanners among the game’s powerful brokers amid great bleatings of self-interest. You may remember the statement from equipment giant Achushnet, the parent company of Titleist, which claimed, “multiple versions of golf balls in the market would be confusing to golfers.” This was from a company which had 19 different balls listed on its website at the time. You had to chuckle.

Now it’s anticipated that an across the board roll back, which would encompass everybody, from the world’s best to you sitting there reading this and wondering if you’re winter league match at Pumpherston will be called off again, will be unveiled in the next couple of days.

According to reports, the shorter balls for the top brass, which would take 15 yards or so off the longest hitters, would come into play in 2028. For the rest of us, it would be adopted in 2030 and it’s suggested the average Joe may lose around four yards.

To tell you the truth, my golf, amid many ills, is so unprecise, I don’t work in yardages anyway. It tends to be measured in vague vicinities. Would I notice a four-yard difference? Not in the bloomin’ slightest.

The distance debate, of course, has been a thorny issue for yonks. The argument from the purists is that distance has distorted golf in its upper echelons and the game has become a boring, one-dimensional trudge. It’s all crash here, bang there and wallop everywhere while craft, invention and nuance is sacrificed and treasured, storied old courses are rendered obsolete.

Those with an opposing view reckon the roll back evangelists are merely fusty old Luddites who spend their days romanticising about the sound of a nicely struck Persimmon wood. Meddling with an already endlessly complicated game that’s enjoying a great surge in participation is, in their eyes, a retrograde step.

And is it the ball that’s really the main problem anyway? What about huge headed drivers that now have so much forgiveness, they just about recite the Lord’s Prayer on impact.

In the middle of all this is plonked the R&A and the USGA as they try to find common ground with measured diplomacy, patience and prudence.

The powerful equipment manufacturers in golf have, in many ways, been allowed to influence how we play the game almost with impunity. Now, the governing bodies are standing up to them.

They have mighty support too from the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods – they both wanted bifurcation which is different equipment rules for elite and recreational golfers – and the game’s custodians have continued to declare that doing nothing on the distance issue is simply not an option.

Last weekend’s South African Open was played on a course measuring an eye-popping 8,233 yards. At its summit, golf has been getting longer and longer at a time when, in the sport’s broader sense, we are encouraging shorter formats to make it cheaper, more accessible and less time consuming.

There’s no avoiding the increased scrutiny of golf’s environmental credentials, either. You don’t need to be a climate activist to fathom out that increased hitting distances leads to longer courses, the need for more land and greater strains on maintenance. Issues surrounding sustainability will become ever more pressing as the years pass.

The roll back, it seems, is coming. The debate and division, though, will roll on and on.