The question I’ve been asked most this week is:  “Did you enjoy the Open?  Wasn’t it marvellous?”  And the only thing I can say is:  “Yes.  It was marvellous.”

I stayed with a friend in Formby and got the train in every day to Hillside, the station that’s a short walk from Royal Birkdale and it was a joy, crammed to a greater or lesser degree with golf fans of all ages and nationalities, intermingled with the odd local off to shop in Southport.  They pointed out the courses en route – Formby, and Formby Ladies, where, if memory serves me right, Michelle Wie launched her opening drive in the Curtis Cup singles out of bounds onto the railway line; Southport & Ainsdale; and Hillside.  It’s a wonderful stretch of golfing territory and Birkdale was in magnificent condition, showed off to its best advantage in a variety of weathers.

The train taking the strain, more or less.

Jordan Spieth, now rather higher up the Open pecking order than most people, said it suited his eye from the moment he saw it but he was nervous enough to wobble on the last day and provide a finish for the ages.  It was a bit of a miracle that anyone even found his ball at the 13th but after escaping with an outrageous bogey, it was as though he’d nipped into the phone booth to change and emerged turbo-charged.  He has a golfing brain that’s as impressive as his putting stroke and it was lovely to see his golfing mates waiting for him at the end, clad in their hoodies.  Hope they were allowed in the clubhouse to celebrate afterwards.

I watched the last day on the telly because there was a train strike threatened for Sunday and my station was being by-passed but I must admit that my viewing was supplemented by 5 Live on the radio, bypassing the ads and director’s delay.  It was all compelling stuff, more than rivalling the end of the Tour de France and England’s last-gasp victory against India in the final of the Women’s Cricket World Cup at Lord’s.  The only downside was that my step count plummeted from the many thousands to the few hundreds.

The post-Open questionnaire that plopped into my inbox wanted to know what had drawn me to attend the championship in person.  To improve my own game?  Are you daft?  Although the Swing Zone was booked out.  So, was the great attraction watching the world’s best players up close?  Well, besides meeting up with friends, it’s the main factor.  And, despite the crowds, you can see quite a lot, though you have to be clued up.  On Saturday, a gorgeous day for golf, I discovered that the 5th hole is ideal for watching.  You can see the entire hole – and, if you’re in the right spot, part of the 4th green.  You’re not far from tea, coffee, beer (bit of a dodgy subject, especially on a hot day), ice cream, burgers and loos.  And, when the tee is up and the conditions benign, plenty of players go for the green (it’s a par 4) and there’s lots of action to keep you interested.  Trouble is, will I remember this gem next time the Open’s at Birkdale?  Unlikely!

All geared up for viewing at the 5th.

And will I remember that trying to get to the 12th green to watch Rory, or whoever the chief luminary is next time around, is a waste of time unless I leave several hours before his tee time?  Probably not.  He and Spieth should still be in their prime but, then again, who knows?  Look at the people, like former US Open champion Graeme McDowell, who failed to qualify this time and the stalwarts, like Laura Davies, who are having to qualify for next week’s Ricoh British Women’s Open at Kingsbarns.  Age creeps up on us all, no matter how gifted.

It’s the Senior (British) Open at Royal Porthcawl, another divine links, this week and the good thing is that, good though these enduring old codgers are, aided by modern equipment and a passion for competition, we can probably keep track of their balls with the naked eye, so to speak…

The seemingly ageless Bernhard Langer coping with Royal Porthcawl at the Senior Open [Getty Images]