Time for men and women to share fairways?
So the new season is underway. Yes, within a fortnight of this year's European Tour campaign reaching its conclusion in Dubai, the 2011 calendar is already clicking with Pablo Martin's victory in South Africa.
The young Spaniard thus becomes our early leader in the next Race to Dubai.
Thankfully, however, the somewhat ridiculous notion that a new season can start before the old year finishes looks likely to end in 2011 with the European Tour season coming to its climax in mid-December.
It is a sensible move and worth noting that this is how it already works on the Ladies European Tour, which ended its season in Dubai at the weekend - and what a story it produced with Danish Solheim Cup player Iben Tinning claiming a two-shot victory with a birdie on the final hole of her last tournament before retirement.
Tinning is stepping away from golf to "balance life and family" and boosted her pension pot by 75,000 euros.
"I have no plans to reconsider my decision of retiring. It's really not an option. I am on so many painkillers and playing golf is no more fun," the 36-year-old revealed.
"Winning in Dubai had been my main goal and that has been accomplished. My next goal is get a diploma in psychotherapy. That's the main thing at the moment."
Tinning edged out Anna Nordqvist, with Britain's Melissa Reid finishing third, three strokes behind. Reid has the potential to become one of the UK's most successful sportswomen, but one wonders whether the country will ever notice.
Players like Melissa Reid need wider exposure to maximise earnings potential - photo: Getty
The women's game continues to live in the shadow of men's golf. Tinning's outstanding victory was eclipsed in monetary terms by the top-20 finishers in the men's Dubai World Championship at the end of November.
Of course, such anomalies are explained by market forces - sponsorship and television revenues dictate the rewards for professional sport. But could the game do more to help promote women's golf?
There is a fine product on the LET and LPGA tours but too few people know about it.
If Britain had a tennis star of equivalent standing to Reid she would be one of the most recognised sports figures in the country and the potential is global for someone like South African Lee-Anne Pace, who headed the LET's money list, but only if players like them are seen by mass audiences.
Where women's tennis has a big advantage is that for at least four fortnights a year they share their sport's biggest stages with the men at the Grand Slam tournaments. It brings the women massive exposure and parity in pay that is out of kilter with the rest of the tennis season.
Golf doesn't work that way. It would be impossible for majors to share the same stage, although the USGA's decision to play the 2014 men's and women's US Opens in consecutive weeks at Pinehurst's No.2 course is a step in that direction.
What would be more practical would be for a regular tour event to perhaps share the same stage and infrastructure at the same time. The former Women's British Open Champion Karen Stupples certainly believes the idea could work.
Stupples and this blog have been in twitter chat on the subject and the American based English player tweeted: "45 men 45 women. Alternating groups of men and women. Men's yardage, women's yardage. No cut, place according to score all one division not separate."
So an out-and-out mixed tournament. Could it work? Either way in those 140 characters we surely had a starting point for a discussion at the very least. The idea would certainly make for a different week on both tours, generating publicity and attention for each schedule.
The men would take most persuading because they would be sacrificing better-paid tournament places than their female counterparts, but there is surely an untapped market here because golf is a game men and women can play together.
Michelle Wie's attempts to compete on the PGA and European Tours were a disaster at every level but the sort of event envisaged by Stupples is different and a starting point for a much needed conversation.
There must surely be room in the calendar - after all we've been in an era where the break between schedules is less than a fortnight.