Golf reporting was a different animal back in the swinging 60s. Have a squint, for instance, at the sports pages of the Glasgow Herald from a July day in 1967 – you may still have a yellowing, dog-earned one under the floorboards or wrapped around an old crockery set – and it was all delightfully formal. 

S.C. Nimmo won the Porteous Trophy at the Falkirk Tryst, G.G. Kerr triumphed in the Old Fettesians Golf Society meeting at Turnberry, R. Scott came out on top in the Polland Trophy at Irvine Ravenspark and A. Wall and W. Casper were tied for the lead in the Canadian Open. Quite a mix, eh?

Taking top billing on this particular day was B.J. Gallacher’s five shot win over C.W. Green – you’ll be familiar with those names - in the inaugural Scottish Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship at Muirfield.

The 18-year-old Gallacher had won the Lothians Championship and the Tennant Cup already that season.

According to Raymond Jacobs, the fine Herald golf correspondent of yore, his win at rigorous, redoubtable Muirfield showed that he had, ‘the game to play a big course in difficult conditions as well as less demanding inland pastures.’ Young Bernard went on to have a pretty decent career, didn’t he?

Here in 2024, the Scottish Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship is back at Muirfield this weekend. The lure of the links at the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers led to the kind of stampede of entries you’d get when they open the doors of an electrical appliance shop during the Boxing Day sales.

Some 375 forms came tumbling through Scottish Golf’s letter box for 144-places, the highest number of entries since the 1999 event over the Old and Jubilee courses at St Andrews.

The game, and the way it’s covered, has changed a bit since Gallacher triumphed in that first staging 57 years ago. It’s changed a bit too since his nephew, Stephen, knocked off a family double and won the title himself at Paisley and Renfrew in 1995.

“My mate worked with the roads department, and he got me a trundle wheel so that I could do my yardages,” said Gallacher of a contraption that, compared to the high-tech measuring devices of today, is as antiquated as the toasting fork. “There were no lasers in 1995.”

That year was a significant one for Gallacher. As well as winning the Scottish strokeplay title, to add to the matchplay crown he had won three years earlier, he also captured the Lytham Trophy and went on to help GB&I defeat the USA – a young Tiger Woods and all – in the Walker Cup at Porthcawl.

“I still remember all my amateur victories and that one in 1995 was a big one for me in a big year,” he noted.

Gallacher would turn professional later that year and go on to enjoy a fine touring career which spawned four DP World Tour titles and a Ryder Cup appearance at Gleneagles in 2014.

The amateur dramatics of his youth still stir the senses and rouse the spirits. For the current crop, the opportunity to test their mettle on the Muirfield links is one that doesn’t come around too often.

The last time the Scottish Strokeplay was held in this parish was back in 1977 when Paul McKellar romped to a six-shot victory.

Gallacher is urging the latest generation to savour the experience and relish the prospect of joining a formidable roll of honour at Muirfield which includes Open champions like Vardon, Braid, Hagen, Player, Nicklaus, Trevino, Watson, Faldo, Els and Mickelson.

“What a chance this is to create memories that will never fade at a venue that is right up there in my all-time top three favourite courses,” said Gallacher.

“It’s not the sort of venue you get to play on every week. I was fortunate to play in the 2013 Open Championship but outside of that I’ve maybe only been there two or three times. But every time, it gives you goosebumps.

“You think of the famous names and winners at Muirfield down the years and here you are, as an amateur, getting a chance to put your name on that list.”

Two names not in the draw, due to a long-standing family commitment, are the talented Graham brothers, Connor and Gregor. Walker Cup teenager Connor is the defending champion while Gregor won last weekend’s Brabazon Trophy.

Plenty others, though, will get their Muirfield moment.