I played (non-crazy) golf for the first time in over 30 years this afternoon.
It was always the fear of my youth that I would descend into the world of golfing and caravanning as favoured by my then middle-aged parents.
As one of the characters said in my 1998 play “Playing Hide and Seek With Jesus”, "I’m just having one more go at trying to make life make sense, before accepting that it doesn’t and taking up golf…” You can read the whole script here.
So have I accepted the inevitable?
I don’t think so.
I was just up for a bit of pitch and putt in front of the hotel with my mum, father-in-law and brother-in-law. Mum is a keen (though now less frequent) player and has her own clubs, Catie’s dad had last played in 1969 and her brother had next to no experience of this strange world. I had played a little bit in the 70s and maybe 80s and had a little putting course set up in the garden. But I think even then I only ever went for pitch and putt (though have vague memories of going to a driving range once) and my main memory was of a game with my grandad Don, when I was about 14, where he was a bit annoyed that I was quite good at it (I might be wrong). Mum said that that sounded like him as he was a competitive man when it came to games. Rather like his daughter. And this particular grandson.
Not that I was going to take it very seriously today, mainly because I had no idea how to play any more, so decided to put into practice what I have learned from Adam Sandler films and put on the shoes of a brilliant golfer, take on his or her attributes and wipe the floor with them. Or dress up as my own sister and distract the other players with my sexual allure.Or if that didn’t work, I could just Happy Gilmour the fuck out of everything.
The balls were very light, we assumed to prevent injuries caused by very poor players like me who would knock the balls all over the shop, hitting other golfers and innocent passersby. We got to pick out a couple of ropey clubs and were told we had to pay a pound for every lost ball. I think even then I knew my main contribution to the event would be scuttling around in undergrowth trying to save a small fortune.
Indeed my mum’s first shot flew into some bushes, rather denting her professional veneer and I went into them trying to squirrel it out. Successfully of course.
When it came to the golf I was pretty sure I wouldn’t even be able to hit the ball, but I started with a reasonable if unorthodox shot. Due to my mum’s dropped ball I might even have equalled her tally on this hole, but after that things started to become a lot more erratic, though I was very proud of the way that after I sliced a shot to the right and into a huge clump of bracken, I waded in and achieved the almost impossible goal of finding my ball (or at least somebody’s ball) and saved another pound. My father-in-law was amused when I managed to chip a ball over the green of one hole on a big mound and then putt it back over to almost exactly the same location. Not that he could really talk as he later blasted a ball into a nearby bush and was the only person to lose a ball on the course. Though to be fair he did produce the shot of the match as he chipped in from some distance to tie the final hole.
I found two balls, making me the winner overall.
It was a fun good-walk-spoiled, even if Don Hannan would have not have feel threatened by my skills. My mum was the winner of the golf (as if that’s what counted), but golf was the real winner today.
I had a gin and tonic to celebrate not having lost any balls. Either golf or other.
The bonus audio RHLSTP from the Machynlleth Comedy Festival with Jess Fostekew and Holly Burn went up today. Listen here
or on iTunes.
Sadly the one from Wells with Michael Eavis will not be going up online, so possible but not planned other specials aside this is the last one til October.