I was reading something the other day about the rise of dental tourism, by which folk with higgledy-piggledy teeth that look like headstones in a vandalised cemetery venture to foreign climes to get their crumbling gnashers pointed and polished at a knock-down price and return home with a mildly sun burnt neck and the kind of gleaming smile thatâs so eye-wateringly dazzling you may as well stare into the very epicentre of a nuclear explosion.
Given that the enamel-covered protrusions in my mouth bear more than a passing resemblance to a decaying, decorative cornice on a sandstone tenement, itâs not a dentist this scribbler requires but a highly-skilled masonry craftsman.
Mercifully, my dilapidated fangs have been hidden from public view of late as thereâs not been much cause to break into a gaping, toothy smile when dealing with the to-ings and fro-ings at Scottish Golf.
The downbeat aftermath of Saturdayâs AGM, during which the proposal to raise the annual subscription from Â£11.25 to Â£15 was bombed out by Areas, Counties and clubs, was so dispiriting, the haunting sound of the Four Minute Warning would have probably raised the morale.
Not so long ago, at the Future of Golf Conference , the phrase âan incredibly uplifting and positive experienceâ was being trotted out and there was a sense that, perhaps, the top brass of Scottish Golf and those the governing body serves were beginning to foster a closer sense of engagement, openness and mutual understanding.
Just when you thought the sensitive battle to win hearts and minds was being won, Scottish Golf has been forced into something of a fighting retreat.
Regardless of your stance â and that can swing wildly from being willing to work enthusiastically with Scottish Golf to lambasting the governing body as wholly unfit for purpose â the wider perception of the game in this country has taken another hefty dunt. Some of these negative views about the game are thoroughly justified, others are borne out of lazy assumptions
To the casual observer, however, the idea of adults bickering and politicking over a Â£3.75 price hike is, well, so very golf. Add in claims of sexism from Scottish Golfâs chair, Eleanor Cannon, in the outpourings after the results of the AGM and the sighs of resignation could have blown those birling contraptions at the Whitelee Wind Farm for weeks.
Rather like Elvis during his bloated, rhinestone jumpsuit years, there are times when golf borders on self-parody. Of course, there is more to the Â£3.75 rise than just a simple number, but an outsider looking into all of this will just shrug his or her shoulders and sneer that golf should just muddle on with its own fusty, petty squabbling from a bygone age and leave the rest of the world to get on with more grown-up matters.
It wasnât that long ago that the initial vote on amalgamating the Scottish Golf Union and the Scottish Ladiesâ Golfing Association was blocked by hardcore pockets of grim, bitter resistance as the cradle of the game, once again, had to deal with an embarrassing episode that, to a wider public, appeared preposterous.
For those used to dealing with the cumbersome bureaucracy of golfing governance in this country, which sees the Areas and Counties hold considerable representative sway, it was all depressingly predictable and familiar.
The current buzz words around the game feature jaunty soundbites like, âlooking beyond the rules that have always been thereâ and âengaging with new marketsâ, but outcomes like Saturday merely highlight just what a task this stumbling evolution continues to be.
Trying to bring in outside investment, meanwhile, against a backdrop of division, uncertainty and hostility will be an equally tough sell for those involved with that side of affairs.
Golf is trying to move forward and adapt to an ever-changing and challenging environment. Itâs a process akin to pulling teeth, though. Now, where did I put those dental tourism brochures?
Source : HeraldScotland