Quadratic equations

19 05 2014

 

Smiling Rock, the good luck charm next to the first tee at Quadra Island golf course. It worked very well on the first hole and then obviously forgot all about me for the next seventeen!

Smiling Rock, the good luck charm next to the first tee at Quadra Island golf course. It worked very well on the first hole and then obviously forgot all about me for the next seventeen!

 

There’s quite a lengthy list of things I wasn’t very good at during my time at school, but the subject that stands out as being a particular nightmare was high school mathematics. I was okay at sums you could work out in your head – my dad made sure that I had all the times tables up to 12 memorised by the time I was ten – but as soon as formulae were involved I was dead in the water. It didn’t help that I wasn’t that kid who sat quietly at the back of the classroom hoping to avoid attention. I was that other kid who, when bored, found forms of amusement such as nicking classmates’ pens and paper or flicking gobs of paper at the blackboard above the teacher’s head. Sometimes I got away with it, sometimes not. They were quite keen on corporal punishment in those days and a smack across the back of the head was often my ‘reward’ for minor indiscretions. Obviously I wasn’t going to complain to my parents – chances are that would only have led to another clip round the lughole  – so I would just accept whatever punishment was meted out as being a fair cop. On one occasion, though, my maths teacher, ‘Slim’ Folland (height 5 foot 2; weight 220 pounds), got his own back with a few succinct words on my end of term report card: “Prefers to muddle, apparently”. I still have that report card today and laugh at the memory of trying to explain to my parents that “It was just Mr Folland’s weird sense of humour” and “I was pretty sure I was going to pass the course anyway”. Somehow I did scrape through, but that was the end of me and maths and to this day I have no idea what a quadratic equation is or what you would do with it if you found one. It did, however, inspire me to my choice of future career. I mean, what could be more brilliant than saying or writing whatever you wanted about a kid and them having virtually no right of reply? And so the seeds of a lifetime in teaching were sown.

It’s probably pretty obvious by now that this week’s post has nothing whatsoever to do with quadratic equations. It’s just that six of us Sandbaggers played at Quadra Island golf course for the first time last week and the name of the course and the difficulty I had with it brought the obvious connection to mind. The nine hole course is in just its second full year of operation and is an absolute beauty – under 5900 yards off the white tees and with pretty generous fairways, but changes in elevation and some cunningly placed hazards meant that no one in our group found it a pushover. For those whose knowledge of the geography of Vancouver Island is a bit shaky, Quadra Island lies a ten minute ferry ride from the dock in Campbell River which, in turn, lies 45 minutes north of the Comox Valley. A couple of club members picked us up from the ferry and drove us to the course, which was less than ten minutes away and overlooks the Sutil Channel and the coastal mountains of BC. There we were warmly greeted by Carol Ann, the operations manager of the course, who pointed us in the right direction for the practice putting green and driving range. A couple of members (there are, I believe, around a hundred playing members in total, of whom maybe half are what you’d call frequent players) asked if they could play through, having completed their first nine, but by the time we took to the first tee we had the course pretty much to ourselves even though it was a lovely sunny spring day.

I won’t go into details about my round, other than to say I birdied the first hole and then didn’t hit another green in regulation for the next three hours – and even then it was only after my approach shot bounced off a huge rock in the middle of the 16th fairway and ricocheted to within twenty feet of the pin. To use Glennie’s time worn phrase: “I LOVE golf!” Of course I then doubled the last two holes, losing two balls in the process, and the love/hate dial on my relationship with this game switched back to ‘hate’. My black mood soon passed, however, as I watched the group behind us try and fail to reach the 18th green with their tee shots. Two flew straight into the hazard to the right of the green, while Rod’s low trajectory meant that at least his ball skipped right across the pond (three bounces!) before hitting a rock on the far side, rising twenty feet or so into the air before achieving splashdown. Rod re-teed and hit a beauty on his next attempt to within six feet. It goes without saying that he missed the putt.

Not even time for a post round beer on this occasion, as our ride back to the ferry was ready and waiting (we made it by the skin of our teeth), but I for one am really keen to come back and try it all over again.Thanks again to Peter, Carol Ann, and all those Quadra members who helped make our day so enjoyable. I highly recommend you to try it for yourselves – it’s a great day out!

The course designer obviously liked his inukshuks - they were all over the place! These two were at the back of the fifth green.

The course designer obviously liked his inukshuks – they were all over the place! These two were at the back of the fifth green.

 

 

 

Despite appearances, this tree takes up only a very small part of the eighth fairway. Li'l Stevie hit it with unerring aim!

Despite appearances, this tree takes up only a very small part of the eighth fairway. Li’l Stevie hit it with unerring aim.

 

All da best!

 

Dave B.

 

 

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8 responses

19 05 2014
Martin

Ah …another beauty from Dave.
Dave I totally empathise with the quadratic equation thing. I finally found out how algebra worked when I was trying to help Ben in a bar in Fiji on our year off school. (Right…I was drinking and he was doing the algebra) I suddenly looked at one equation and the penny dropped, all those years later.
Loved the post. when I get back to golf, maybe a visit to the Quadra course would be in order…maybe Myrtle Point too in Powell River…never been there either. Thanks for the laughs and the fine read. Best wishes.

19 05 2014
Bagger Dave

I’ve heard it all now, Martin! The Welshman helping his son with algebra in a bar in Fiji…so ridiculous it has to be true!

19 05 2014
BHD

I’ve heard good things about that course; definitely have to be on my list!

19 05 2014
Bagger Dave

You should read you Dad’s comment about you learning algebra in a bar in Fiji, Ben. It’s killer!

20 05 2014
Robinski

Mathematics was my major in University so I really don’t see the problem. I use Trigonometry, Calculus, Algebra, and Matrices every day in my golf game to calculate the perfect shot. I only wish I had the skill to hit that shot. I didn’t study that part. Oh well, Quadra was fun. I really enjoyed the course and the company. We will definitely do it again. Maybe Martin and Ben would llike to come along next time.

20 05 2014
Bagger Dave

Ah. That probably explains why I can’t hit my irons to save my life, Robin. I’m getting the angle of the dangle all wrong. Good idea about Ben and Martin!

20 05 2014
Peter

By the way Dave, in your course of study and play in school were you ever treated to a debagging? Remember that?
Great blog as usual. I was never good at algebra, french, or anything at school. Come to think of it I ain’t good at anything except getting into trouble.

20 05 2014
Bagger Dave

I certainly was! When you’re a cheeky brat and the smallest kid in the class there was no avoiding the occasional debagging. Your second point is spot on, Peter. You are the MASTER of getting into trouble!

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