Did you ever own a Rubik’s Cube? Perhaps you’ve still got it and once you’ve finished reading this column – or whenever you get scunnered by these haverings - you’ll pick the thing up and start birling and twirling away in the fumbling, footering and forlorn quest to get all six sides matched up.

The reason I ask this is that my son got one at the weekend, even though I told him that if he was so keen to immerse himself in a mentally flummoxing, infuriating pursuit that teases, torments and leads to a lifetime of muttering, cursing futility then he should just accompany me to the golf course.

Apparently, the thinking behind auld Erno Rubik’s cubic creation was that he wanted to solve the structural problem of moving the parts independently without the entire mechanism falling apart. It sounds like the conundrum of my bloomin’ swing to be honest.

As Gary Player once observed, "golf is a puzzle without an answer." Perhaps I should just tell my young ‘un to stick with that daft cube after all?

For Robbie Clyde, the new man at the helm of Scottish Golf, there are plenty of things that need fathoming out. In the last eight or so years, the amateur game’s governing body has churned through more bosses than Hibernian Football Club.

Clyde is the sixth incumbent since 2016 but, having taken on the role last September, he has already made a mark. At last week’s AGM, Clyde and his team were given the go-ahead to increase the affiliation fee that club members pay by £3.00 to £17.50.

A three quid hike is hardly LIV Golf sums – Italian golfers, in comparison, pay a subscription of around £85 a year to their Federation - but for Clyde, the modest rise is hugely significant as he looks to implement various plans to assist clubs, employ regional development officers, bolster memberships and attract more women and girls into the game.

Clyde’s vision is admirable – it will come with considerable challenges too - and he has managed to get the majority to sing off the same hymn sheet.

That’s not always been the case for previous Scottish Golf chiefs who often struggled to win over the masses. Let’s face it, you can trace a disconnect between Scottish Golf and its membership going back to the calamitous financial collapse of the Scottish National Golf Centre in 2003.

Since then, many club members and various associations have just about distrusted everything the governing body has done.

Over the past few months, Clyde has been out and about at clubs the length and breadth of the country, spreading the gospel, answering questions and, importantly, listening. In the push to win hearts and minds, the 51-year-old and his colleagues have put in the hard yards.

Of course, as any leader of a governing body will appreciate, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. A cursory glance at some of the reaction to the subscription increase on that genteel, level-headed platform know as social media threw up such views as ‘disgrace’ and ‘incompetence’. Or was that just my six-monthly appraisal?

As ever, there will be the stubborn pockets of grim resistance who will never get on board with any new strategy. There’s a tendency with golf and golfers to look back, to dwell on this, that and the other or mull over the what ifs, maybes and might have beens, and the ones that got away.

When it comes to the governing body, there will be plenty of folk who still look back and will tell you that things were much better in the good old days when the Scottish Golf Union, as it was known, was run by about three people from a building at the bottom of the car park at the Royal Burgess.

Such a rose-tinted view is all very well – and those involved then were all passionate, tireless enthusiasts -  but those ‘good old days’ were also a time when golf, in many quarters, was hostile to women and children, and clubs were mired in complacency, self-importance and an ‘aye-been’ attitude. Some still are.

Times change, the golfing landscape changes too but the statistic, for instance, that females make up barely 12 per cent of club memberships in Scotland remains a lamentable one for the country that gave the game to the world.

It’s one of the pressing issues Clyde wants to address. “I don’t look at the past,” he said. “We have put a plan together, it has been endorsed by our members and we can now move forward.”

For the first time in a long while, Scottish Golf, and those the body serves, are ready to move forward as one. That’s the first part of the puzzle solved at least. Perhaps Clyde can help my son with that ruddy Rubik’s Cube next?


The utterly dreadful news that PGA Tour winner Grayson Murray had taken his own life has shaken the game to its core.

Professional golfers in the upper echelons have never had it so good but vast riches and bountiful trappings can’t guarantee contentment.

Murray was a tortured soul, whose struggles with addiction and depression were well-documented. The 30-year-old spoke candidly about those issues and shared the details of his fight.

Sadly, tragically, it was a fight he couldn’t win.