It’s not everyday you get a crested letter from the Cabinet Office. “I was thinking, ‘oh my God what have I done?’,” chuckled Stephen Gallacher of this eyebrow raising delivery from the postman.

Said letter was nothing to be concerned about, of course. It was a notice informing the Scot of the award of an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours list for various services to the game that’s been his life.

Gallacher was already something of an MBE, mind you. Along with his uncle Bernard, and the mighty Eric Brown, the 49-year-old Gallacher remains a Member of the Bathgate Elite, that celebrated triumvirate of golfers who were reared at the West Lothian mining town’s club, and all went on to be Ryder Cup players. In Bernard and Eric’s case, they were captains too.

Given Stephen led Team Europe to a thumping 20 ½ - 9 ½ win over the USA in the Junior Ryder Cup in Rome last year – he’s been re-instated for the 2025 match in New York after a first European victory since 2006 – perhaps he’d fancy following uncle Bernard and the late Bomber Brown as skipper at the main event?

“I think I’ve maybe missed the boat on that one,” he said with a smile. “The Junior Ryder Cup will do me.”

As he climbs the brae on the age front – he’ll reach his half century in November – Gallacher is ready for the next phase of a professional career that spans almost 30 years.

In this game of great longevity, a sporting life can begin again at 50 as long-in-the-tooth campaigners on the regular tour suddenly become young rookies again on the auld yins’ circuit.

“I can feel it coming,” added Gallacher, who won the first of his four DP World Tour titles at the Dunhill Links Championship 20 years ago.

“It’s a natural evolution. You get to a certain age and it’s tough to compete with the young guys. I’ve played 650 odd events on the tour. It takes its toll on the old body.

“There are not many guys who get to 50 and are still playing on the main tour. Luckily, I’ve managed to avoid that no man’s land between the ages of 45 and 50.

“Some players lose their tour cards at around 45 and are in a barren area for a few years until they can play as a senior. What do you do to keep your hand in then? I’ve been fortunate.”

The hugely lucrative Champions Tour in the USA is the ultimate destination for Gallacher as he looks to pit his wits against some decorated oldies who are so golden, they could be housed next to the bullion in Fort Knox.

With only five cards available at the stern examination of the qualifying school, though, it’s probably easier to jemmy the door of that aforementioned Fort with a 9-iron than it is to earn a ticket to tour.

“It’s a tough gig,” admitted Gallacher, who at least doesn’t have to go through any qualifying rigmarole to get onto the European-based Legends Tour.

“Ideally, I’d keep my card on the main tour this year and go to the Champions Tour qualifying school with a free hit. The hardest thing is getting on to it, but we’ll give it a go.

"That’s where I want to be. Three rounds and no cut on the Champions Tour is much more appealing to me these days.”

As he inches towards the milestone of 50, it would seem an appropriate time to reflect on a career of accomplishment. Then again?

“In golf you never want to look back,” he said. “You’re always trying to improve. I still put in the hours. I maybe can’t work as hard as I used to, which is frustrating, but that’s just natural as you get on in years. I still have a huge love for the game and hopefully I can keep going as long as I can.”

Those advancing years don’t come themselves. The aches and pains that are par for the course have ruled Gallacher out of this week’s Open final qualifier at Dundonald.

“I tweaked my back the other week in Holland so I had to pull out,” he groaned. “I’m gutted. I’ve never actually played Royal Troon (host venue of The Open) which is odd really. My wife’s family lived in Troon for 20 years, but I never had the opportunity.”

Despite that, golfing opportunity continues to knock for Stephen Gallacher ...MBE.