Golf, at this correspondent’s fairly humble level at least, doesn’t really feature much smiling. Amid the kind of swipings, gougings and gruntings that would make the barbarous exertions on a medieval battlefield look like a genteel interpretation of Swan Lake, my face tends to be frozen in a tortured, mirthless rictus as affairs on the course unravel.

For those of us eking out a grim existence in this barren environment of pitiless golfing futility, the sight of the newly crowned US Women’s Open champion, Ariya Jutanugarn, breaking into her trademark smile as part of her pre-shot routine continues to be deeply confusing.

I mean, how often have you stood on the first tee and been so at ease with your decision making and so confident about the eventual outcome that you end up beaming from lug to lug prior to addressing the ball?

The answer is probably never as a great tsunami of negativity floods your feeble mind and your swing displays all the elegance and timing of a hurried toilet break at a busy motorway service station.

Jutanugarn, meanwhile, had plenty to smile about on Sunday as she earned her second major victory. For the wider women’s game, there have been grins of enthusiasm over the past week with the unveiling of the R&A’s Women in Golf charter, a statement of intent backed by £80m over the next decade in a concerted effort to get more females involved in the game.

For a governing body which, not so long ago, stated that they don’t do “social engineering” in regards to the prickly issue of taking the Open to a single sex club, this acceptance of their responsibilities and historical foibles was another welcome development. A variety of initiatives continue to take place to encourage female participation. Today, for instance, is the second annual International Women’s Golf Day.

In his address, Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A, used phrases like “doing nothing is not an option” and stated that many clubs “are flat and have to change”. These are all admirable if obvious declarations but there’s always that nagging sense that we are just treading over the same old ground and hastily attempting to lock a variety of stable doors as the clippety-clop of bolted cuddies clatter in the distance.

Here in the cradle of the game, golf’s gender imbalance – about 14 per cent of members are female – remains something of a cringing embarrassment, but this is hardly a new issue. How to readdress this is a sizeable task many clubs, and the various custodians of the game, are attempting to counter, but it’s not as if this is a problem that has just suddenly leapt out from behind the couch.

The warning signs have been there for years but a sense of complacency and apathy, both from those running golf and from many clubs themselves, hasn’t helped while entrenched, hostile, pompous attitudes and a bitter resistance to change continues to come home to roost. Certain female members, it has to be said, have been complicit in maintaining an outdated status quo down the years.

This is an age in which people are turning their backs on the High Street and are so obsessed with insular activity on social media as opposed to face-to-face contact, it’s surprising human beings haven’t sprouted USB ports under their oxters.

We have never been more connected yet disconnected at the same time. Where golf sits in this whiz-bang era, and how we get fresh blood to take it up and stick with it, remains a well-documented quandary that would leave Archimedes firmly anchored to his bath tub.

Talking of connection, the sorry retreat of golf from terrestrial television, in this country at least, continues to be an issue. The game is chock-a-block with inspiring, engaging colourful characters, both male and female, but there can be no doubt that golf continues to slowly drift out of the public consciousness.

“I don’t buy the argument around participation and reach,” said Slumbers at last year’s Open when asked about the impact of moving to satellite television.

When golf is desperately trying to reach out to fresh markets, though, you’ll find many who would argue a different case.