Monkeys and typewriters

14 10 2017

The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

So given enough monkeys and golf clubs it’s only a matter of time before your average golfer gets a hole in one, right? According to statisticians – and I know that’s another way of saying ‘this is complete guesswork’ – your average golfer will get a hole in one once in every 12,500 rounds. If I play roughly 125 rounds a year (which I do, actually) I should get a hole in one every decade or so. More on that later.

For a professional golfer the odds go down to 2,500 to one every time he or she plays a par 3. This video shows what happened when former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari was given 500 balls on a practice day at the Italian Open this week:

You can only admire the way Edoardo kept his cool as shots danced around the hole early doors but failed to drop. And you have to feel sympathy as he slowly unravelled as time went by. Forza Edoardo!

All da best!

Dave B.

P.S. Ridiculously (especially if you’ve seen my golf swing) I’ve had five holes in one. My good friend Bud (similar handicap, much better swing) has never had one. In the words of fellow hacker Glen Parsons, “She’s a harsh mistress!”

 

 

 

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Peter the Impossible

21 09 2017
storm clouds are gathering

Storm clouds are gathering over Alberni…

When it comes to controversy, about the only thing my friend Peter Dobbs and I agree on is how to pronounce it. We’re both proud Canadians now, but our British origins are obvious when we say ‘contróversy’ rather than ‘cóntroversy’ as seems to be favoured in our adopted land. (Well, that and the accent, I suppose.)

So when Peter and I play our annual challenge match every September one thing that is guaranteed is that we’ll find something to argue about. Actually it’s not so much ‘something’ as ‘a bunch of things’. It kicks off long before we get to the course:

Me: ‘My handicap factor is 14.5. What’s yours?’

Peter: ‘Dunno. Give me 8 strokes.’

Me: ‘But we tied last year and I’m playing way worse now.’

Peter: ‘You’re always whining.’

So we arrive at the course (Arrowsmith) and Peter says ‘O.K. How about we just play even up for practice today and then play our proper match at Alberni tomorrow.’ Three hours later, Peter wins the last two holes to halve the match and celebrates as only he can. (Picture Brazil winning the World Cup of soccer).

Me (through gritted teeth): ‘Well played, Mr Dobbs. That was a great game. So we’ll play even up again tomorrow, right?’

Peter: ‘No. Give me 8 strokes’.

……………………(24 hours later, on the first tee at Alberni Golf Club)……………………:

Peter: ‘OK. 4 strokes then, but I’m quitting if it starts to rain.’

Me: ‘Why didn’t you bring your…? Oh, never mind. Just hit the ball.’ (I like to play golf at a fairly brisk pace. Peter plays as if he’s following a funeral cortege.)

At the turn, over 2 hours later (we’re a twosome, mind) Peter is 3 up in the match and I’m sulking.

Peter proceeds to sit on the bench by the #10 tee box and slowly consumes a sandwich. ‘I’m tired’, he says.

Me: ‘Get on with it. It looks like it’s going to rain.’

Three holes later and I’ve made a semi-miraculous comeback, having won three holes in a row. We’re now all square. It starts to rain – in torrents. I put on my wet weather gear. Peter rummages through his bag and finds a flimsy jacket and an umbrella with broken spokes. We play #13, a tricky downhill 200 yard par 3 and halve it in 4. Peter’s now completely soaked. I persuade him to play #14 (back towards the clubhouse) and he chips in from off the green to go one up in the match. Ba$tard.

Peter: ‘That’s it. I said I wouldn’t play if it rained. Game over. I win.’

Me: ‘No, wait. You can’t. There’s still four holes…’

Peter is already disappearing in the direction of the clubhouse: ‘You play on if you want. I’m going in for coffee.’

So I did play on. I raced round the last four holes in under 30 minutes and the sun was beating down before I’d even finished the first of them. Peter was still drinking his coffee when I joined him in the clubhouse.

Me: ‘You’re not seriously claiming you won the match, are you? You quit! And anyway it’s sunny now!’

Peter: ‘I clearly explained that the match was over if it started raining. It rained. I won. Simple.’

Me: ‘Bah. You’re impossible!’

ugly-trophy-2        Peter the Impossible, self proclaimed winner of the 2017 Brooker-Dobbs Trophy.

Not sulking

Me (in no way sulking).

Grrr! You deserved it, Peter. But just wait till next year!

Dave B.

 

 

 

 

 

 





Big Ed! (R+W 2017)

18 09 2017

 

Ed 02

Mr. Ed Hayes, ladies and gentlemen. The very worthy winner of R+W 2017

The 17th edition of the prestigious Red, White and Blue tournament took place this past weekend, and with it came a number of firsts: last year play was washed out on the Saturday, so we played 18 holes from the blue tees on Sunday morning and then 18 more from the red tees in the afternoon and thus RWB became R+B 2016. This year the weather was lovely on Saturday but Sunday – as promised – dawned wet and windy. A unanimous pre-round decision was made on the putting green: no 36 holes this year – just a quick 18 from the reds and hope we missed the worst of the weather. So R+W 2017 it was. Perhaps defending champion Joe Dunham summed up the general consensus: “Listen, Brooker – I’m too old for this sh!t.” He’s always had a way with words has Joe…

Three groups of three set off down the first fairway, and the first group (best described as ‘the No Hopers’ after their pitiful efforts on Saturday) were also the first to set a record: the fastest round ever played in the history of the tournament. Just 2 hours and 25 minutes after teeing off (and 2 hours and 23 minutes of pouring rain), Chuck Kennedy, Rod Gray and Rudge Wilson were back in the social centre with a variety of beverages in front of them. Their scores? Irrelevant. Their pace of play? Magnificent.

Group 2 (‘The Stragglers’), consisting of Joe Dunham, Dave Buckley-Jones and Yours Truly, failed to break any records but at least were still on speaking terms as they walked off the 18th green. Yours Truly had put a ball in the pond and racked up a triple bogey, Smokin’ Joe had just had a miraculous chip-in birdie and Mr Buckley-Jones had failed to notice either occurrence. Like the others Dave was very, very wet and just wanted to get inside, where he enjoyed being ‘leader in the clubhouse’ – for about 20 minutes.

The final group, the three players who were in  serious contention after their fine rounds on Saturday, took a bit more time about their golf. They consisted, said one of their number, of ‘two sandbaggers and an idiot’. The players concerned were low handicapper Bill Village and somewhat higher handicappers (and first time RWBers) Phil Ball and Ed Hayes. Obviously it would be unfair to identify the idiot, but let’s just say that it wasn’t Phil or Ed. Of the three, Bill hit lots of fairways and greens, Phil missed nearly all the fairways but hit all the greens (eventually) and Ed? Well, Ed had a splendid round and shot a 95. That’s 95 gross which comes to er, 59 net, which is a record for the RWB, as is his 12 shot winning margin. Blimey!

It was a pleasure to watch everyone at the prize table, as we all picked our well-wrapped prizes – in reverse order of finishing, of course – and laughed gleefully at what we’d chosen. I think Bill Village won the jackpot, though – a sort of troll thingy, designed to hold a bottle of wine to its mouth with a big, hairy claw. Just the sort of thing to grace Bill’s new gaff on Crown Isle. As Bill said afterwards – we can expect to see it again on the prize table next year, really well wrapped.

As for this year’s winner, Ed took the prize giving ceremony with good grace, even when he realised that the $9 prize money would not cover the cost of engraving and that he was honour-bound to keep the Big Club on display at home (for at least a day). After that? Well, past winners tell us that sheds, crawl spaces and garages appear to be the location of choice for the magnificent trophy

Many congrats Big Ed, and thanks to all for taking part. It’ll be a new, no 36 hole, Joe Dunham-inspired format next year. See you all then!

All da best.

Dave B.

 

 

 





The proposed new Rules of Golf

17 08 2017

As you may know, the USGA and the R&A, the bodies responsible for implementing the rules of golf worldwide, are in the process of introducing a major overhaul of the rules. These will not come into effect until January 2019, but the following video will give you an idea of what is likely to be in store. Many of the changes are designed to simplify the rules and to speed up play, neither of which can be considered a bad thing, but for traditionalists and rules nerds (and I plead guilty to both charges), some of these changes may be difficult to accept at first.

For the casual golfer, I doubt they will make much difference, and I’m pretty sure even I will get over it eventually. If you’re a keener and you’d like to give feedback to the R&A, follow the link to their homepage once you’ve watched the video.

Warning: if you really don’t like golf, you may wish to forego the video – unless, of course, you are a lover of the Scottish accent (“And who isn’t?” asks Scottish Wife), in which case pour yourself a dram and enjoy:

 

All da best!

Dave B.





Tales from the golf course

5 08 2017

two women golfers in a cart

Every week at Glacier Greens Golf Club dozens of members take part in our Saturday Men’s Club competition. At this time of year there might well be nearly 100 players competing, some of whom are really pretty good golfers. I, along with my two perennial partners, Kiefer and Rod, am one of ‘the others’: we’re not terrible golfers as such, but nor are we likely to play 18 holes without the odd mishap along the way. As a result, our concentration tends to waver after a while and we resort to laughing at each other’s poor shots (of which there are usually plenty) and telling jokes and stories. Some of these stories are obviously only loosely based on fact, but occasionally the teller swears that the story is true.

The following is the story that Rod, who also works as a greens keeper at the club, told us today while waiting on the 18th tee:

A couple of days ago he and a fellow greens keeper were tidying up one of the bunkers on the 18th hole. It’s a tricky dog leg par 4, requiring a decent drive followed by a well-judged approach shot across the pond. Two young women were walking past them towards the green, each with a number of clubs tucked under their arms. Their cart was still at the tee box, apparently abandoned.

“Trouble with the cart, ladies? Can I be of assistance?” asked Rod’s workmate Paul, obviously keen to help out these damsels in distress and, in Rod’s words, being ‘sickeningly polite’.

“No, we’re fine,” said one of the women, “We’re just, you know, following the instructions on the sign.”

The women carried on walking towards the green while Rod and Paul, somewhat perplexed, walked back to the tee, where they gazed at the sign in question. It read as follows:

“GOLFERS ATTEMPTING TO DRIVE THE GREEN WILL HAVE THEIR PLAYING PRIVILEGES SUSPENDED.”

Rod swears it’s a true story. Do you have anything to match it?

 

All da best.

Dave B.

 





The Book of Jeremy Corbyn

11 06 2017

Sometimes you read something so brilliant that you just have to share it.

This piece, by Anthony Lane, appeared in the New Yorker on Friday, the day after the British General Election:

And there came from the land of Britain a prophet, whose name was Jeremy. And he cried aloud in the wilderness, and said, Behold, I bring you hope.
And it came to pass, in the land of Britain, that the High Priestess went unto the people and said, Behold, I bring ye tidings of great joy. For on the eighth day of the sixth month there shall be a general election.
And the people said, Not another one.
And they waxed wroth against the High Priestess and said, Didst thou not sware, even unto seven times, that thou wouldst not call a snap election?
And the High Priestess said, I know, I know. But Brexit is come upon us, and I must go into battle against the tribes of France, Germany, and sundry other holiday destinations. And I must put on the armor of a strong majority in the people’s house. Therefore go ye out and vote.
And there came from the temple pollsters, who said, Surely this woman will flourish. For her enemy is as grass; she cutteth him down. He is as straw in the wind, and he will blow away. And the trumpet of her triumph shall sound in all the land.
And the High Priestess said, Piece of cake.
And there came from the same country a prophet, whose name was Jeremy. His beard was as the pelt of beasts, and his raiments were not of the finest. And he cried aloud in the wilderness and said, Behold, I bring you hope.
And suddenly there was with him a host of young people. And he said unto them, Ye shall study and grow wise in all things, and I shall not ask ye for gold. And the sick shall be made well, and they also will heal freely. And he promised unto them all manner of goodly things.
And the young people said unto him, How shall these things be rendered, seeing that thou hast no money in thy purse?And he spake unto them in a voice of sounding brass and said, Soak the rich. And again, Pull down the mighty from their seats.
And the young people went absolutely nuts.
And they hearkened unto the word of Jeremy, and believed. For they said unto themselves, Lo, he bringeth unto us the desire of our hearts. He cometh by bicycle, with a helmet upon his head. And he eateth neither flesh nor fowl, according to the Scriptures. For man cannot live by bread alone, but hummus is quite another matter.
And the High Priestess saw all these things and was sore. And she gathered unto her the chief scribes and the Pharisees and said unto them, What the hell is going on?
And they said unto her, It is a blip, as if it were a rough place upon the road.
But they said unto themselves, When the government was upon her shoulders, this woman was mighty. But now that she has gone abroad unto every corner of the land, she stumbleth. For surely it is written that ruling and campaigning are as oil and water, and there shall be no concord betwixt them.
And the chief scribes wrote upon tablets, saying, Jeremy is false of tongue. He hideth wickedness in his heart. And his sums do not add up. And nobody paid any attention.
And the elders rose up and said to the young people, If ye choose Jeremy, he will bring distress in your toils and wailing upon your streets. Do ye not remember the nineteen-seventies?
And the young people said, The what?
And the elders spake again, and said to the young people, Beware, for he gave succor in days of yore to the I.R.A.
And the young people said, The what?
And the young people said, Jeremy shall bring peace unto all nations, for he hateth the engines of war that take wing across the heavens. And he showeth respect for all peoples, even unto the transgender community.
And the elders said, The what?
And it came to pass that the heathen of this land came among the people, with fire and sword, and slew many among the faithful. And great was the lamentation.
And the High Priestess waxed exceeding wroth and said to the people, Fear not. For I shall bind your wounds and give ye shelter from the heathen, and shall take up the sword against them.
And there came again pollsters from the temple, who said, Will the people not vote for her in this hour of need? And nobody paid any attention.
And it came to the vote. And the elders went up to vote, and the young people. And the young people were as a multitude. And in the hours of darkness there was much counting. And the young people watched by night, and the elders went to bed.
And there came in the morning news that the High Priestess had vanquished the prophet Jeremy. But the triumph of the High Priestess was as the width of a nail. And she was vexed.
And the elders and the chief scribes and the Pharisees spoke among themselves, yea, even in the corners of their houses.
And there was great rejoicing amidst the multitude of the young. And they took strong wine, and did feast among themselves. And there were twelve baskets left over.
And of the pollsters there was no sign.
And the people saw Jeremy and said, Surely this man has won? Doth he not skip in gladness like a young hart upon the hills?
And there was great murmuring among the elders. And they said unto themselves, Weep not. For the High Priestess doth but prepare the way. Cometh there not one who is greater than she?
And they said, Behold, for the hour of the redeemer is upon us. And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Prince of Peace. And they cried in one voice, Boris.
And the young people said, Oh, shit.
And the people gave tongue, and made supplication unto the Lord, saying, Lord, let our cry come unto thee.
And the Lord thought the whole thing was absolutely hilarious.
And then the people said, Lord, what shall we do regarding Brexit? For henceforth the High Priestess shall be as weak as a newborn lamb. How shall we hope for continued access to the single market?
And the Lord said, The what? ———————————————————————————————————————————–
(Mr. Lane – you’re a genius.)
All da best!Dave B.
Oh yeah. JC’s a thing all right…




Par Four? No – Parkour!

24 05 2017

Ever heard of parkour? No? Well, watch this short video of parkour pioneer Chase Armitage trying to make a tee time with Belgian pro golfer Thomas Pieters and you’ll get the idea:

Not unlike me trying to make my 8.23 tee time at Glacier Greens this morning…

All da best!

Dave B