18 July 2008

Want to Play Around ?

I’m watching the British Open golf championship at the moment. This is the greatest test of golf in the world and when the wind blows and the rain drives in from the sea, like it is doing at Royal Birkdale at the moment, those golfers who are used to manicured courses and perfect weather suddenly become mortal. I still couldn’t give them a game though – I wouldn’t get near them.

After taking the game up some 25 years ago I still have not scored less than 100 on a full size (18 hole course) but this is due, not to a lack of skill on my part but simply to the fact that I very rarely play. I’ve played three times in the last nine years and never with my clubs which lie forlornly beneath the stairs in my hall. They are brand new, bought some 11 years ago and never used in competitive play. At one stage before our new house took up a large part of the garden I used to stand on a raised part of the terraces and fire shots down into the far corner of the ‘garden’ where Guy was duly positioned to (a) watch the shots as they landed and (b) gather up the balls when I had finished peppering him with shots. It did not take him long to figure out, even at the age of about 6 or 7, that this was a risky job he’d been given and off he stomped, as he does even today when upset about something.

So as I watch the golf on telly and express amazement at some of the skill on show, I wonder just how good I could be if I practised a bit more. After all I’m brilliant at golf on the Nintendo Wii we’ve got, hitting shots to within a couple of feet of the pin/flag and being clapped constantly by the crowds in the gallery. However, even on the Wii if there’s water about I’ll hit it. I dread to think about the balls I’ve lost in water which was nowhere near any line I should be taking. Maybe if I played more often I’d lose even more balls which would be a disaster for a Scotsman.

I have tried to play down here in France and it’s not for a lack of courses that I’ve failed. It’s just that it’s difficult to find someone who is as bad as me and who does not mind walking twice the normal distance as my shots criss-cross the golf course and I spend hours looking for a lost ball which I’d probably found in the bushes on the previous hole !

I tentatively arranged to play with the lady who performed a reading at my wedding, the Reverend Anne Naylor no less but when Julie heard me asking Anne if she wanted to play around my pensioner’s bus pass was removed and now I’m stuck at home having to watch it on the telly ! Women, apart from Anne, never understood golf !

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