I’ve just returned from competing in the Scottish Alliance Championship held around the Old and New courses at Moray Golf Club in Lossiemouth. If I’m perfectly honest, I’m feeling a little broken today.

There are a number of reasons for my fragile state but, principally, I’m suffering because of poor golf:

It seems like an age ago that, on Tuesday morning, I started round one. I was a younger man then, with a spring in my step. Things began promisingly with a birdie on the first hole of the Old Course. But, because my putt rammed into the back of the cup and dropped I was given no indication of just how fast the greens were. It took three three putts in the first eight holes for me to grasp it. For this time of year, they were phenomenally fast. The only greens I’ve putted on this year that come close were in Abu Dhabi.

I continued to play well for the rest of the round, but a lost ball on the 16th sent me to five over and that’s where I ended the day.

If I thought my putting was bad in round one, round two saw my incompetence on the greens rise to dizzying new heights. I was round in 78 with no lost balls and a good percentage of greens found in regulation. I couldn’t bring myself to do the count-up after the round, but I can’t have had less than 40 putts.

I was feeling pretty low on Wednesday evening and was sure things could only improve in the final round. But, much like the current money markets, the lowest was yet to come.

My personal nadir was reached on the eighth hole of round three. I’d already lost a ball on the second and had come close to NR’ing on the third after hitting three balls off the tee and being unable to find any of them before a chap way over on the practice ground found my first effort on the edge of the gorse.

The combination of some extremely wayward hitting and putting that continued to be comically awful, meant I was six over through seven. On the eighth I sliced my tee shot (again) but it stayed just inside the gorse. The green was over 200 yards away across a sea of gorse – attempt one nearly made it, attempt two didn’t nearly make it and attempt three was a bail out to the left. I knocked it on and a couple of putts later I’d racked up a nine – 11 over through eight.

To be honest, I played ok from there on to limp in with an 86 – at least I finished I suppose.

I said there were a number of other reasons for my fragile state:

– A lager/Guinness/Rioja/gin combo on night one was followed by something vaguely similar on night two. Yes, ok, the booze was probably a factor contributing towards my crimes against putting.

– Our hotel (which will remain nameless) could most fairly be described as grim. Stewart and I shared a twin room and it was fortunate he elected not to take his cat as he’d have been unable to swing it. On the first morning we woke (early) and big Stu piped up, “Fergus, I imagine these would be the sort of beds you would get in prison.” Enough said.

– My diet. Here’s what I ate over the three days: Tuesday morning – bacon roll; Tuesday afternoon – salt and vinegar crisps (two bags); Tuesday evening – steak and chips; Wednesday morning – full fry up (poor); Wednesday evening – steak and chips; Thursday morning – full fry up (poor). It would have been ok if I was on the Atkins, but I’m not.

Despite all this, I’m going to have to get back on the golfing horse as it’s the final medal of the year tomorrow and I’d like to finish with something respectable so a trip to the range this afternoon is imminent.