Nobody likes change. My increasingly fusty old habits, for instance, are now so deeply entrenched they can only be shifted through a process of fracking.

Ask me to clamber out of my comfort zone and I’ll tentatively totter about with all the shoogling hesitancy of a freshly-born foal trying to balance itself in the middle of a see-saw.

And as for embracing the new? Well, my latest bumbling attempts to get to grips with an updated mobile phone remains a palaver of excruciating awkwardness not seen since Captain Hook embarked on a spectacularly ill-advised experimentation with contact lenses.

In this twirling, birling world of constant change, though, we can’t afford to stand still. All of which brings us stumbling into the first topic of this week’s collection of golf-related haverings.


The National:

Back in the olden days, before smiling was invented and men spent a lot of time leaning on a mantelpiece while smoking a pipe, haughty opinions were everywhere. Just like today then?

When female golfers of the late 1800s expressed a desire to form what would become the Ladies’ Golf Union, the derision was rampant and arrogantly withering.

Horace Hutchinson, one of the finest male amateurs of the time, wrote a letter which in many ways provided a charter for sexism which, dare we say it, is still adhered to in some grimly defiant golfing pockets of resistance.

Stating that ‘women never have and never can unite to push any scheme to success’, Hutchinson added that ‘constitutionally and physically women are unfitted for golf’.

To conclude, Hutchinson declared, in capital letters, that ‘THE FIRST LADIES’ CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE THE LAST’. He was quite the all-embracing visionary wasn’t he?

We can only wonder, then, what crotchety old Horace would have made of the decision by organisers of one of the amateur game’s premier male strokeplay events, the Berkhamsted Trophy, to allow women to compete in it as of this season.

Following a trend that’s building in the professional scene, the event, won by the likes of Sandy Lyle and Luke Donald down the years, will be a mixed affair for the same prize.

At an amateur level, of course, golf, with its handicap system and use of multiple tees, has always offered an ideal opportunity for such equal competition.

Yet, stubborn, discriminatory attitudes and practices at clubs across the land has meant such a platform has been woefully underused.

Things continue to move, though, and the concerted, if belated, efforts by golf’s global stakeholders to increase opportunity for women golfers at all levels is welcome.

The Berkhamsted Trophy news has generated plenty of upbeat coverage and has promoted a message of welcoming inclusivity.

In a game often hamstrung by self-imposed millstones and stifling negative perceptions, that can’t be a bad thing.


The National:

Muddling on with this game requires patience, persistence and the kind of jaw-jutting obstinance you’d need on an Arctic trek.

And that’s just during the cursing guddle for a bloomin’ glove in the dark recesses of your bag.

The resolve required to get through a tour’s qualifying school process, meanwhile, would test a Navy Seal.

In Spain this week, the Scottish duo of Heather MacRae and Hannah McCook will be trying to pass the five-round entry examination for the Ladies European Tour.

If they do, it would be two wonderful, inspiring tales of defiant, against-the-odds conquest.

Grantown youngster McCook is a type-1 diabetic who has certainly not allowed the condition to be a barrier to her ambitions.

Meanwhile, MacRae’s well-documented battle with cervical cancer has not diminished her competitive instincts and she continues to demonstrate a strength of character that extends far beyond any challenges posed on a golf course.

We wish Hannah and Heather all the very best.


The National:

One of golf’s enduring appeals is the fact that age is, indeed, just a number.

At 46, Lee Westwood won his 25th European Tour crown in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, beating a varied field that had encompassed the spectrum, from a teenager to a 51-year-old.

At 60, meanwhile, a sprightly Fred Couples was pipped to a Champions Tour title in a play-off.

This week, the 44-year-old Tiger Woods tees-up at Torrey Pines to begin a 2020 campaign awash with intriguing possibility as he continues to hunt down Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.

Nicklaus, by the way, turns 80 today. And he can still beat his age.

His last round at his home club just before the new year was a 78.

Golf remains the greatest of generation games.