As many of  you know my golf is not a thing of beauty – although my now cramped, constipated backswing was at one time a fair imitation of the real thing (roughly half a century ago) – and I never harboured hopes of being a professional.  At one Dinah Shore tournament, in the press room, somebody, an American, assumed that Elspeth Burnside, a Scot with a work ethic way beyond my ken and I were professionals manquées.  We looked at each other, laughed and said, “No,” in unison.

In my day – is it really no longer my day even though I’m still on the right side of the sod and breathing? – even the best women golfers on my side of the Atlantic didn’t think that becoming a professional was a sensible option.  It was tough having to go to America and fit in there.  Even getting a card was a huge achievement, not least because there was no sense that golf was a universal game, it was an all-American well-nigh closed shop.  Changed times.  It’s still tough but the LPGA has learned to embrace the world.

This year it is the 45th anniversary of the start of what is now the LET (Ladies European Tour).  It has been through numerous iterations since then but by several miracles it is still going, a tribute to its founders and their determination and inspiration.

Last weekend Mo and I headed to Suffolk, not a county either of us knows well, to Thorpeness, just south of Sizewell, of nuclear power station fame and just north of Aldeburgh, of Benjamin Britten fame.  On the way there, on a lovely day, we drove through lots of villages awash with thatched buildings (and signs saying ‘No to Sizwell C’, ‘Nuclear Power is Not Clean Power’, that sort of thing).  It was delightful.  And what we were heading for was even more delightful.

Maggie Hambling’s sculpture Scallop on the ‘beach’ – North Sea shingle – between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh

We’d been invited to a get-together to celebrate the founding of the tour and it was a joy.  Even those of us who hadn’t seen each other for years found that there was an amazingly strong connection, a bond.  We’d shared so many experiences, fought the same corner, had so much fun – and all because of a silly game called golf.  Not so silly when you consider the people it brings together.

Liz Kahn, Lewine Mair and I were there, not as golfers – although Lewine, who stopped playing golf with her sons when they started to outdrive her (and keep their drives on the fairway), did turn pro at one stage – but as chroniclers of people who could play golf.  We and many others made a living reporting on the game and, there’s no denying it, we had a great time doing so and made many friends – and pissed off a few people, though always trying to spell their names right and get most of the facts right.

Liz, out in front as ever, on her 89th birthday, preparing for the photo call.

Mo and I didn’t play golf but left that to others and did a bit of exploring instead, rather snootily wondering where the sand was as we tramped alongside the shingle that constitutes the beach in these eastern parts.  Even in the rain Aldeburgh was a delight and well worth the journey.  As were the people.

What golf’s all about: friends having a round together.

Earlier in the week, England Golf were honouring some of their finest at their centenary celebration in Manchester, inducting a dozen people into what they described as “an all-new England Golf Hall of Fame”.  Any centenary is an occasion to celebrate – with a bit of luck I’ll only be 30 years off mine later this year – but it made me realise how young centenarians really are.  After all, Whittington Heath Golf Club was founded in 1886, so it obviously took the English as a body a while to get their act together.

I’m not sure I’m a fan of halls of fame – perhaps because I’ll never be in one – but there’s not much arguing with the names here:  Sir Michael Bonallack, Alison Nicholas, Gerald Micklem, Peter McEvoy (Dai’s and my best man, heaven help him), Trish Johnson, Gary Wolstenholme, Georgia Hall, Peter Alliss, Dame Laura Davies, Sir Nick Faldo, Bridget Jackson and Luke Donald.

Bridget, a stalwart of Handsworth, is one of Staffordshire’s finest and won the British Girls the year I was born, the first of many trophies in a glittering career as a player and an administrator. If you want to know about golf, speak to Bridget, she is the game personified, it’s in her heart and soul.  And if it’s good enough for Bridget, it’s good enough for all of us.

Nick Dougherty, left, the master of ceremonies, hands over to Hall of Famer Bridget. Peter McEvoy looks on [England Golf]

It’s been wet and muddy everywhere recently and most of my footwear is out of its depth, my beloved dubarry boots having given up the ghost at last and no longer stopping soggy socks.  They made their debut – a triumph – at the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, so the cost per wearing is beyond minimal.  A classic case of  ‘you get what you pay for’.  Let’s hope their successors prove as durable.

The sainted Alice in her element.