Confessions of a Golf Hacker – Two golf hackers


golf fairway water tower MiddletonIf you have asked yourself what the [expletive deleted] was I doing losing my keys and mobile phone, not to mention 30p out of my golf bag you were not alone. Mrs Bamber asked the very same thing…  Actually it was her fault.

The afternoon Bob and I were battling it out for the Old Codgers Match Play Championship she had to go off to the dentist for some teeth re-arrangement that promised to be painful. So on a couple of occasions I had got my phone out (with, I suppose, my keys, not to mention the 30p) to send her a text to see if she was okay, or whether I could claim on the life insurance. Being an amoeba of little brain, I had replaced these articles not in a compartment of my golf bag with a zip, but one with a rather worn Velcro fastening.

Now, I have mentioned the 16th before. This hole is played from an elevated tee down Scafell Pike and up Scafell to a green. At some point I believe my trolley must have tipped over when I was searching for my ball. As Plato probably said: “An unbroken zip is mightier than worn Velcro.’ After I was reunited with my phone, keys, not to mention, so I won’t, I managed to throw my LeedsCard up in the air which disappeared under the front wheel of a 4 x 4 parked in the adjacent bay to Bob’s car.  Fortunately, Bob was paying attention although I was a bit dis-chuffed that he made me bend down and retrieve it… Really, what was the point of letting him win?

I haven’t mentioned Vin (as in Vincent) before. Vin is a bit older than me and has had a few health problems – legs not always doing what they’re supposed to, that kind of thing, so I thought I wouldn’t be shown up if I managed to inveigle him onto a golf course. Periodically, he and I go for a few pints and discuss foreign policy and recently we got on to golf. Turns out that thirty years ago he used to play, but hadn’t picked up a club since Sunny Jim* was Prime Minister.  As he still works it took some time to find an occasion when he was free to play but one day we trotted off down the 1st at Middleton Park. This was highly satisfactory as, at last, I had found someone who was (surely) worse than me.

For some reason I still can’t fathom, he found it easier to hit the ball with a 5 wood than an iron. As I’m still hopeless with a wood except occasionally with my driver off the tee, this has me baffled. For the first 9 holes or so I thought this is good – no reason why he and I can’t play an occasional game to restore my confidence after I’ve been shredded by Bob. However towards the end of the round he showed signs of the thirty years of rust disappearing – the WD40 having reached the parts other beers can’t reach – and I began to wonder…

A second outing was arranged which happened to take place just after the round with Bob I described in my last article. So I felt reasonably confident, except that golf is the absolute opposite of riding a bike. Once you can ride a bike the theory is you always can – in my experience of getting on one about once every ten years, this is right. With golf one good shot can always be followed by a duff one…  In fact, in my case, for ‘can’ read ‘will’.

To show his seriousness Vin had come up trumps at an auction and bought a bag of clubs for £14 (he wasn’t born in Yorkshire, but has lived here long enough to get the general idea) but the bag had more holes in it than the average colander and he didn’t have a putter. Sometimes, I don’t believe how magnanimous and generous I am… I gave him a spare putter I had.

golf bunker MiddletonGiven what happened on the 2nd I’m not sure why I bothered. After a reasonable drive he duffed his second shot and then hit an approach shot from about 120 yards, which looked worryingly close to the flag. After a good drive, which a bunker moved to intercept, I managed to go from that bunker to another.  When we arrived on the green his ball was leaning against the flag and when said flag was removed in it dropped. Goodness me, or words to that effect, Vin had only gone and holed his approach shot…

On the 3rd he somehow managed to hit someone else’s ball*, which was, of course, a decent one and managed to get through the rest of the round without losing it. We got to the 12th, which is a hole I hate with the hatred I normally reserve for midges and Simon Cowell. This is the one where you’re supposed to hit your tee shot over some enormous trees about five feet (or so) in front of you.

I explained to Vin we would have a sex change and play off the ladies’ tee, which is sited to the left and not in a direct line to the trees. Needless to say I still hit the trees and then nearly knocked myself unconscious when hitting a recovery shot straight into a tree which rebounded towards me. Eventually we got to the green or I did – Vin was about 20 feet from it. He decided to take his (or should I say my?) putter and said:  “I suppose I shall have to give this a bit of a slap…”

I smiled sweetly.  Of course, he holed it.

Vin dropped me off at my house. I rapidly checked I had my mobile phone and keys. Of course, I had. However I didn’t have my LeedsCard, but didn’t discover that til later…

I suppose if you looked at the game dispassionately you would say I played better than he did but I reckon my advantage won’t last long and I’ll be back to being the only golf hacker in town…


Glossary of technical terms

Sunny Jim – A sobriquet (all the fancy words today) for James Callaghan, who was Prime Minster from 1976 – 1979 before Margaret Thatcher handed the country over to the bankers

Hit someone else’s ball – A big no-no.  I don’t quite know how he did this.  I think the guy playing behind us hit his ball on to our fairway and Vin confused his ball with that one.  No doubt it was nearer the hole…