Well, are you all set for this COP 26 climate thingy? Regular readers will appreciate that I’ve always been actively aware of my environmental responsibilities.

Every Tuesday, for instance, your correspondent recycles the same auld codswallop on this back page. “This really is unsustainable,” sighed the sports editor as he gazed at my latest emission while glowering like Greta Thunberg watching someone shove 60 quid of diesel into a gas-guzzling 4X4. 

Presumably, a rocket up the you-know-what from the big boss comes with a sizeable carbon footprint? Well, it certainly felt like it did.

Talking of all things green, what about the evergreen Bernhard Langer? The indefatigable 64-year-old won his 42nd title on the Champions Tour at the weekend and set a new record as the oldest winner on the over-50s circuit. 

The celebrated, decorated German’s competitive longevity remains a thing of wonder. He’ll probably still be churning out wins by the time China gets round to its net zero emissions target in 2060.

Old Bernhard’s lust for golfing life remains undiminished but he’s had plenty of toils and troubles to endure. Those well-documented putting yips, for instance, earlier in his career almost led to him quitting. “It can be brutal,” Langer once said of golf’s capricious winds. “It can bring you back down. It's a very humbling game.”

Golf has always been a pursuit that toys, torments and tortures the mind.  Even at this casual howker’s modest level, when any smattering of confidence can swiftly become as brittle as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the descent into the gloomy depths that are usually reserved for the lanternfish is merely a knifed pitch away. But at least we’re not trying to make a living from it.

With men and women in other sports opening up about their mental well-being, golfers are becoming much more vocal about the rigours of their own profession.

“More than my body, it is my mind that can’t take it,” said the world No 1 Jon Rahm after announcing recently that he’d be taking a month off to re-charge after a hectic, topsy-turvy, globe-trotting year which included the giddy mix of a major championship breakthrough, a couple of positive Covid tests and the onset of fatherhood. “This is the first time in my life that I don’t want to see a golf club.”

In the rarefied, money-soaked scene of the upper echelons of the professional game, Rahm, on the whole, would appear to be living the dream but, in a world of constant attention, unrelenting scrutiny and the scourge of social media oddballs passing endless judgement on performances, that life must feel a bit like living in a petri dish under the unflinching gaze of a microscope in laboratory conditions.

As for the vast legions chasing that golfing dream? Well, take a quick squint down any order of merit on a variety of professional tours and you’ll find some fairly numbing figures which are about as uplifting as reading a row of sombre tombstones.

On the Challenge Tour, for example, a fellow called Kim Koivu has played 15 times around Europe, made one cut and earned about 500 quid. On the third-tier PGA EuroPro Tour, which costs £295 to enter each tournament before you take into account the usual expenses, there’s a lad who’s cobbled together £257.50 from 13 events. It’s a grim, harsh coalface.

The mental fortitude required to deal with touring golf, the complexity of its various demands and the crushing despair of its regular disappointments, would just about break a Navy Seal. A small percentage of the pro population get handsomely rewarded for doing what they do best but money and success doesn’t make them immune to mental pressures that have no respect for superstar status. For those, meanwhile, who are eking out an existence in the quest to gain a foothold in the paid ranks, it can be an overwhelming burden.

At all levels of the professional game, it is an unforgiving, cut-throat business where fragility is ruthlessly exposed. In the Covid age, where players, caddies and all those involved with keeping tournament golf going in a pandemic have been plonked into bubbles and solitary confinement, there has been a heightened sense of strained isolation to this very individual sport. Only the other day, John McLaren, a well-kent tour caddie of 30 years, announced he was taking an indefinite mental health break due to the general anxieties caused by travelling around in a world of restrictions, testing, quarantines and the ever-present spectre of a positive result hanging around. Everybody has a tipping point.

The newly released documentary on the late Seve Ballesteros reveals that the swashbuckling Spaniard had huge struggles with depression all his life.

Scotland’s own Paul Lawrie, burdened by the constant carping that his 1999 Open win was more about Jean van de Velde’s calamity than his own brilliant assault, descended into a downward emotional spiral as a result.

We’ll never know how many other great players, or those tipped for success coming through the amateur ranks, were hamstrung by golf’s mental grind. At least now, there is an acceptance, an openness and a greater understanding of these psychological pressures and issues. Golfers are beginning to confront them and talk about them. And that can only be a good thing.