Did you know that Alan Tait once played with Tiger Woods? Why, of course you did. Tait’s Tiger tale is so renowned in domestic circles it should actually be housed in its own display cabinet at the British Golf Museum.

Just to remind those of you who don’t know – and there are probably village elders from a remote tribe in Sarawak who are well-versed in the story – Tait played a practice round with Tiger in the build up to the 1995 Scottish Open at Carnoustie.

Woods was the US Amateur champion and already a superstar. Tait was the course record holder at the formidable Angus course and his local knowledge and links nous was much sought after by Woods.

The rest, as Tait has regaled in countless glass-clinking, after dinner speeches, is history. “The first time I told the story, I said the crowd around the first tee was about 1000 but at the last count I think it’s grown to around 20,000,” said Tait with a chuckle.

In a 30-year professional career, Tait, a great bundle of charisma and a man so steeped in golf you just about have to wring him out on a weekly basis, has retained an unwavering enthusiasm for the game he adores.

With the kind of multi-tasking ability that used to be the reserve of a Swiss Army knife, the 51-year-old has never been one for idle thumb-twiddling.

His current post involves him spreading the golfing gospel at grassroots with the innovative, educational and entertaining GolPhin progamme. “This has been a breath of fresh air,” he said of the wide-ranging junior initiative. “For the last 20 years or so, I’d held director of golf roles at a variety of places and as much as I enjoyed them, they were quite stressful. No matter what you did, some people were always having a pop at you.

"I’ve always loved putting a bit back into the game. This post is about getting kids into golf but also about helping clubs boost their junior sections. It’s very rewarding.”

Tait’s own golfing education started at a young age and it took him all the way to the European Tour for one, fleeting season. The learning experience was a harsh one, though, in this school of hard knocks.

“I came off the last green at the qualifying school final in 1996 having earned my card, I got a beer and said to myself, ‘that’s it, I’ve made it’,” reflected the former Scottish Boys’ champion and past Tartan Tour No 1. “I’d waited for that moment all my life and I naively thought I’d have years of making millions and travelling the world. I’m still embarrassed to this day to admit that. I thought I’d conquered the world but I wasn’t even close to getting a foot on the ladder.

"Within a few months I’d had such a wake-up call. What a fright I got. The journeymen players were a different class never mind the stars. Before I knew it, I was in the middle of the season and I’d earned next to nothing. The pressure was building and it became a panic. I didn’t have much sponsorship and every time I boarded a flight it was another £1000 or so.

"If I had someone to guide me and advise me then maybe it would’ve been different but I just got on with it myself. I had one year and I just got stuck in the headlights. You look at young guys now, like Bob MacIntyre or Connor Syme, who are thriving on tour. The standard is mind-blowing and I salute them for what they are doing.”

Tait’s own endeavours on the home front are worthy of a salute too. In a pandemic-stricken year, his Get Back To Golf Tour gave competitive opportunities to professionals and amateurs suddenly faced with ravaged diaries. “I woke one morning at 3am thinking of these players with nothing to play in,” said Tait, who has been behind a couple of pay-and-play domestic mini-tours down the years. “I got eight events together and it was a chance for them to get some competitive golf and earn a wee bit of money.

"It was going to be a one-off but the response I had from players was so positive I’ve decided to keep it going next year. I’ve got 12 events already set up, with a bit of sponsorship too, to top up the pots. There’s hee haw in it for me but it’s a good thing to do.”

Golf is lucky to have people like Tait. Now, what’s that story about Tiger again?