The closer I get, the further away it seems.

I’m near enough to a single figure handicap to be able to touch it but, at the same time, realise this lifetime golfing ambition appears almost unachievable.

I did something on Saturday morning I haven’t for a long time. I quit on a round. Just mailed it in.

Things had started badly. We began in a fog that looked like something out of 1950s London.

St Bernards were running round rescuing stricken golfers from the fairways.

Inexplicably, it actually got worse when I could see where I was hitting the ball.

I casually backhanded a putt on the 14th, watched it horseshoe out of the hole and then blobbed the next three in a state of utter indifference.

Getting out the big bucks…

Nothing cheers me up more than a round of golf but my patience is being sorely tested. 23 points will do that to you.

The 25-year-old me, who couldn’t play to a 21 handicap and considered breaking 90 an achievement worthy of a Bank Holiday and a street full of bunting, would have snapped your hand off if you’d said one day I be off 11.

But, as with all things, now I’m there it’s not enough.

Why do rich people always want more money? It’s just the way of things – the way we are.

Is a single figure handicap that important? Isn’t it just a symptom of my poor self-esteem? Can I ask any more pointless questions?

You see my relentless pursuit of a digit and a decimal point is now on the verge of costing me big bucks.

As regular readers (an assumption I know, but give me this one) will be aware, I have a love-hate relationship with my irons.

I’ve even been to a fitting centre to set my mind at ease – everything was present and correct – but I still can’t rid this nagging feeling that something isn’t right.

Here is my rationale. Although there’s nothing rational about it.

My big miss is a pull. It’s actually more of a hook but I’m in denial. My current set are rather heavily offset.

This is no good for a player who hooks (I mean pulls).

Therefore, by my twisted logic, I must invest in the new wonder irons. Preferably ones with a straight face.

Then all will be well and I will hit every green in regulation and seamlessly move into single digits.

Soon to be single?

I also know that to improve I have to practise.

But if I spend any more time out of the house I am going to get divorced.

I’ve given up a second job to get my weekend rounds in but am still enough of a stranger that my 14-month daughter gives me a quizzical look every time I step through the door.

She’s worryingly taken to calling the cat ‘da da’.

I’m trying to fulfil both golfing and fatherly duties by investing in an indoor putting mat. I can hone my stroke and not have to leave the living room.

8ft by 3ft seemed about perfect.

Until I realised this was a bit of a tight squeeze – and that Amy likes nothing better than propelling whatever is in the contents of her stomach, or just in her hand at the time, onto it.

This is now a ‘green’ in the loosest possible sense.

So, for the first time since I was about 7, I have written a letter to Santa.

With the promise of a nice glass of malt, a tray of cookies and the assurance that I will be a good boy, all I want for Christmas is a handicap of 9.4.

Don’t let me down.