Classic One liners
I used to play a lot of golf with a mate called Alex who could play a bit. We were neighbours at the time when we used to get up literally at the crack of dawn every Sunday and be out teeing off at our local municipal pay and play – Wycombe Heights Golf Club. We would play all winter long like this.
The start of the morning’s round consisted of dumping our bags on the 1st tee and sneaking back to the range to pick up a few practice balls. After cracking open a can of Stella Artois “the choice of champions”, we would take it in turns to hit a range ball off the 1st tee and see if you could still see it land down on the fairway. If we could not see where our tee-shot had ended up it was too dark, so we would sup some more beer.
It would slowly get lighter and once our practice balls stood out on the fairway ahead of us we were off. We used to scoot round in just over 2 and a half hours some mornings.
On occasions we were joined by another mate or two, but they never had the stamina to come out on a regular basis. One such lad called Martin the Mouth joined us one February morning for a game that we had put a few quid on to keep the ‘interest’ going.
We were stood on the 16th tee and as you can see from the video it is elevated above the target green.
In fact if you play as we did (illegally) from the members’ tee the green is well below you as you start the hole, as the tee is set up on a large shelf. The hole itself is a par 3 and not too far, especially as it is downhill all the way to the pin.
All the trouble is at the front where two big bunkers deter you from dropping short with your tee shot. Added to this if you miss the green on the right it can run away for miles down a steep bank.
In wintertime one of the best ways in is to smack the ball left into the beech trees and let the ball feed off a steep, chalky slope from there directly onto the green.
Martin was stood at the tee with the ‘honour’ having one the previous hole. He was ahead on points for the money we had wagered and there were only a few holes left. Basically Martin was in the box seat.
Alex saw this shot as a chance to claw back the advantage by means of a bit of sports psychology. As Martin prepared for his shot at the green Alex casually said
“Right, you win this hole and the money is good as yours Martin. So there is a bit of pressure on you here Boy!”
Martin set himself for the shot and as he did he replied in quiet, calm voice with a great comeback.
“Nah, this ain’t pressure. Pressure is when you are sat on the roof of your flooded house being forced to watch your wife give birth in a nearby tree!” he said as he began to tee off.
He had drawn back his club by now, so he paused for a instant whilst he brought the club through the ball and cracked a super tee-shot.
“Now that is pressure Alex” he said calmly as he gazed at his ball sailing on towards the green.
I have a list of “things to do before I die” that I began a few years ago, in fact it was pre-diagnosis, so that is going back a bit. I think I wrote the ideas and challenges down about 8 years ago, certainly at a time that they were not the trendy bucket lists that they are today.
One of the things I had on there was to shoot less that my age at 9 holes of golf. This was a neat challenge as the older you get, the more shots you get, but perversely as time goes by it becomes harder to simply get around a course. Most courses are about 35 shots for 9 holes as a rough guide, so I was never going to achieve this until I was in my 40s.
Anyway this challenge had been sitting on the back burner with a few others, but I had revived it after the sudden realisation that I was spending (and wasting a hell of a lot) of time in front of a laptop screen. It was time to shake a leg and get on with it.
I had planned to cheat a little and attempt this task at a really short 9 hole course such as the Green Course at Wexham Park and maybe go around a few times with Baz, who has just started to play. However it did not turn out like that.
Yesterday the feat was achieved at Princes Risborough Golf Club where I tore up the front 9 holes in 41 shots. I was playing match play with Pest and a former student, Will Fairhead and the format of this game means that you do not keep individual scores. However I was doing a mental tot up as I went around of how many shots I had dropped. I birdied the 9th hole and only then it suddenly dawned on me. I had only dropped 7 shots and it meant that Hey! I had hit a 41 and so ticked another thing off the list inadvertently.
Highlight of the round was on the 1st hole. All three of us were scratching around near the green, but nobody had got their ball on the dance floor yet. There was a bloke stood up on the tee behind us so I thought we could wave him through as he looked a big hitter, and I was proved correct when he slapped his drive with a few yards of the green. It is an easy hole to do this if you are any good, but it was still a nice drive off the tee nevertheless.
Your man then came bowling down the fairway with his girlfriend in tow. I hoped it was not a first date, but she looked a little uneasy as she watched her man come past us and flick his ball to within 4 foot of the flag. Golfing etiquette states that the person that you are playing with takes the flag out of the cup whilst you putt at the hole. Clearly his “non-playing” partner did not know about this, so I stepped in and tended the flag. As I did so matey boy crouched over his ‘birdie’ putt and declared “Now this is the hard bit”
My reply was “Well you know that driving is for show……..” as he lined up his shot,
“…….and putting is for dough!” as his effort just lipped out and stayed up!
The joke was lost on the blonde girl. Who takes a girl out to watch you play golf on your own anyhow?
After the Big Shot stomped off I ended up three putting for a six!