I caught a glimpse of my golf clubs the other day, slumped forlornly in the corner like a Victorian class dunce, and thought to myself, “oh blimey, I’m going to have to get these things out soon” with a shudder of foreboding.

Presumably, said clubs, all of which have been forced against their will to commit some appalling golfing atrocities down the years, thought something similar.

I imagine them sighing, “oh Lord, this clown is thinking about going for a hit about soon” as they faced up to a rude awakening from their hibernation.

Dragging the old tools out again will no doubt be a palaver broadly equivalent to trying to cajole a stubborn dog into going for a walk as it digs all four paws into the ground, leans defiantly against your yanks of the leash and delivers a glower of snarling obstinacy.

I wouldn’t be surprised if my Callaway stand bag cocked its bloomin’ leg amid the bitter impasse.

All of this preamble is an elaborate way of informing you that I’ve not played for yonks, so it’s impossible to say if the new golfing season will be a complete debacle or just a mere fiasco. In this flummoxing game, you just never know.

For Matteo Manassero, the ups, downs, twists and turns that are par for the course in this ancient stick and ba’ pursuit reached a delightful high on Sunday when the popular Italian won his first DP World Tour title in 11 years at the Jonsson Workwear Open in South Africa.

In this gluttonous era of golf, brought on by the emergence of LIV and its outrageous millions, coverage of the game tends to come with a hideous belch as all and sundry focus on the financial excesses sloshing around in the men’s game.

Manassero’s conquest was something of a palate cleanser at a time when many observers, scunnered by all the money, moaning and machinations, have been left with a variety of sour tastes in their mouths.

Amid the coughing and spluttering of the rubble that continues to be strewn about in a fractured sport, there have still been plenty of storylines to lift the golfing soul over the past few weeks.

Nick Dunlap winning the American Express as an amateur, former nightclub bouncer Jake Knapp claiming a maiden tour triumph in Mexico and supermarket delivery driver Joe Dean earning a career-changing second place in the Kenya Open. To these heart-warming tales we can add the renaissance of Manassero.

The 30-year-old’s rise, fall and rise again has been well-documented down the seasons. A thrilling, swashbuckling winner of the Amateur Championship at 16 in 2009, Manassero had plonked four DP World Tour trophies onto his mantelpiece – including the flagship BMW PGA Championship – by the age of just 20.

Superstardom and potential major glory beckoned but then it all started to go belly up.

From 25th in the world, his desperate loss of form and faith saw him slither down to 1,805th on the global order and he walked away from the game for a spell in 2019.

Having worked his way back to the main circuit with admirable, roll-up-the-sleeves toil on the Alps Tour and the Challenge Tour, Manassero’s win at the weekend was a fitting reward for his endeavours.

When he regained his main tour card at the end of 2023, Manassero said: “I think I will enjoy next season in some ways more than I did when I was on the DP World Tour the first time.” That hope has been fulfilled.

Manassero’s decline and resurgence underlines the inherently capricious nature of professional golf. It’s a cut-throat industry where any weakness can be swiftly and ruthlessly exposed.

Play poorly and you’re brutally cast aside. Play well and you reap the benefits. Manassero’s return to the winner’s circle highlighted these meritocratic attributes that, in the main, are part of competitive golf’s DNA.

It’s one of the best things about the game. Anybody can win on any given week, a zero can become a hero, a nobody can become a somebody or, in Manassero’s case, a former star can shine brightly again. Even after 11 long years.

These are the stories that really capture the imagination. In an age when we have LIV’s no-cut, guaranteed money shindigs, as well as the PGA Tour’s limited field, no-cut, guaranteed money signature events, the pro game at the top of the tree feels terribly manufactured at times.

Rory McIlroy has called for the PGA Tour to be more “cut-throat” and has expressed his desire for “less players and less tour cards, and the best of the best.”

Among the PGA circuit’s rank-and-file, that suggestion has raised more eyebrows than Kate Middleton’s Mother’s Day picture as they fear being marginalised in an increasing them-and-us environment.

For the PGA Tour's biggest stars, meanwhile, the prospect of fewer snouts in the money-laden trough is seen as another opportunity to enhance their own earning potential and entrench their position of power.

Over the last couple of years, we have heard a lot of bleatings from elite players about how they deserve to be paid more. But being rewarded with even greater sums while shutting out about half the competitors they formerly had to beat? That doesn’t seem right, does it?

Then again, there’s a lot about men’s professional golf that doesn’t seem right these days.