AS one old scribe scribbled back in ye day, “Augusta is the closest thing to heaven for a golfer … and it’s just about as hard to get into.”

Turning off Washington Road and driving up the 330-yards of Magnolia Lane is a bit like entering the Pearly Gates. You half expect to glimpse some chubby cherub strumming a harp as you approach the clubhouse.

In this respect, it’s no surprise that Robert MacIntyre is delighted to be returning to golf’s promised land. But let’s play devil’s advocate. What did the Oban man savour more? Earning a return to The Open Championship at the first time of asking or securing an invitation back to the Masters after his thrilling debut last year?

“Getting back to The Masters,” he said, before looking over his shoulder to check that an R&A official hadn’t overheard his declaration. “It’s the fact that that there are only 80 to 100 guys and there’s no qualification. You can go to The Open and play two rounds of qualifying and get in. You ain’t qualifying for the Masters unless you are playing unbelievable golf, you are in the top 50 in the world or something wild happens and they send you an invitation. It’s some achievement to get there in the first place. To have a good performance to get back is probably one of the greatest things I’ve done so far.”

A year on from that eye-catching, eye-opening share of 12th, MacIntyre returns a little older and a little wiser. “I’m not sure I’m wiser,” he added with a wry chuckle. “But I’m going back with more knowledge of the golf course. And more belief than ever before. When I first played it last year, I didn’t know what to expect or what was to come.

“But the way I performed showed I can play the golf course and I can compete. I still made lots of mistakes, though. In the last round, I double-bogeyed the sixth, attacking that back pin. There are shots I threw away. You can play defensively and plot your way round there and I knew that. But that’s not the way I play golf. I play to have fun and the only way to have fun is to attack. But you have to be cautious. If you’re too reckless, you’ll be home on Friday night.”

As for mastering those devilishly eclectic putting surfaces of varying shapes, sizes, character and frightening speed? “You can practice on a wooden floor down the slope,” laughed the 25-year-old.

It’s a decade now since another lefty, Bubba Watson, conjured a memorable Masters moment en route to winning the Green Jacket in 2012. His outrageous recovery through a gap in the trees during the play-off has become the most famous hook since the captain in Peter Pan.

MacIntyre has his own act of escapology to reflect on. “My favourite shot of my Masters debut was probably on 14,” he said. “I hit it left into the trees. My caddie got there before me as I was a wee bit angry walking off the tee. He looked at where we’re laying up and I’m looking up in the trees and saying, ‘there’s a gap there’. He says, ‘where?’. I’m pointing up and he says ‘I don’t see a gap, Bob,’ but I’m saying ‘no, trust me, I see it up there’. I hit it, a big high draw and ended up making birdie from the middle of the trees.”

Memories are made of this, a little bit of that and a touch of the other. This week, MacIntyre will hope to create some more.

“That memory of entering the property for the first time last year and the feeling I got is something I’ll never forget,” he said of a drive that was accompanied by the Gunna Sound ceilidh band blaring out of the car stereo. “I had goosebumps. My mum was probably in tears in the back. My dad was probably acting cool and saying ‘ach we’re just going down the road here’. I’ll get goosebumps again when I get there. It doesn’t change. People say it never changes, even if you’ve played the Masters 10 times. It’s somewhere you dream of playing.”

As for dreams of that famous jaicket? “I’m a large,” he chortled. “But I’ll squeeze into anything.”