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.

 

 

 





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.

 





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





Me and Clement Attlee

13 05 2017

churchill

If you mention Sir Winston Churchill, most people will think of his bloody-minded leadership of Britain in World War Two and his determination not to give an inch to the Germans. I, on the other hand, tend to think of his withering put-downs of political opponents. Perhaps Churchill’s most famous insult was his reply to the Labour MP Bessie Braddock, who accused him one evening of being drunk in the House of Commons. “I may be drunk, Madam, but you’re ugly – and I shall be sober in the morning.” He also had a particular dislike for the Labour leader Clement Attlee, whom he described as “a sheep in sheep’s clothing” and “a modest man with much to be modest about”.

It’s this last quote that I think about when I try to describe my ability at golf. I have a lot to be modest about. I’m not a terrible golfer – I nearly always break 90; a few times a year even 80 – but there’s nothing about my game that would lead the casual observer to think that I have learnt much from the 100+ games that I’ve played every year for the last decade or so. Normally, it doesn’t matter so much – the group of guys I play with range from a 7 handicap to a 19, so my handicap of 13 puts me pretty much in the middle of the pack.

But it’s when I play with other – much better – golfers that the trouble begins. For a start they all hit it further – and I mean much further – than I do. For example, today in the last round of the Glacier Greens Pairs Shoot Out I hit a perfectly decent tee shot on the first hole – right down the middle, maybe 180 yards. My opponent then also hit it centre cut, but 85 yards – 85 flippin’ yards – further than my effort. The format being alternate shot this week, my partner Doug McArthur, then had to hit a hybrid from 170 yards while our oppos hit a sand wedge from half that distance. A few minutes later – just after missing a three foot putt as a matter of fact – I found myself muttering the dreaded words “Sorry, partner!”

And so it went on. Doug and I would discuss where he’d like me to hit the ball. I’d then hit it somewhere entirely different, Doug would conjure up a miracle recovery shot and I’d tap in for par from a couple of feet. I wasn’t quite as bad as I’d been in the pouring rain two weeks previously – when I’d not contributed on a single hole (other than, as Len Doyle somewhat unkindly pointed out, holding the umbrella over Doug’s head as he selected clubs) – but I wasn’t a whole lot better. Somehow we (i.e. Doug) cobbled together a decent score (always difficult in an alternate shot competition)  and were definitely still in contention when we reached the last hole. Doug hit a great drive, leaving me with a straight forward shot of 100 yards over the – gulp – pond and a greenside bunker. Well, I cleared the pond…but not the bunker. But wait! In this competition each player gets a mulligan and somehow I hadn’t used mine yet. I dug into my bag and produced another ball. “What are you doing, Dave?” asked Doug. “We’re not in the water, are we? Are you sure you’d clear the pond with your mulligan?” Put like that, the honest answer was no. “I’ll play it out of the bunker and you make the putt.” It sounded like a pretty good plan, although I wasn’t looking forward to the ‘me making the crucial putt’ bit.

As it turned out, Doug made things easy for me. His beautiful sand shot rolled to within three inches and even I couldn’t mess up that tiddler. An hour or so later, the score cards were all tallied and the team of Brooker and McArthur had won the 44 team gross competition by a single shot. OK, let me express my contribution by rephrasing a well known saying:

“There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’ – but there was an awful lot of Doug!”

Thanks, partner!

Dave B.

shoot-out-may-2017

Glacier Greens Shoot Out winners, May 2017: on the left, gross winners Doug McArthur and Tonto; on the right, net winners Gabe Tremblay and Al Cabilan. (courtesy: L Doyle)





Guilty as charged

15 03 2017
03.12.13_Golfer_Laid_OUT470

I’m not sure I can go on like this for much longer…

My intentions are always good as far as keeping my blog up to date is concerned, but recently it’s been really hard to find something to write about. Firstly, the winter here in the Comox Valley has been the worst in living memory so I’ve hardly played at all. Secondly, when I have played, my game has also been…the worst in living memory. As a result my handicap has been getting higher and higher and my spirits (not to mention my self-esteem) lower and lower.

It was decent weather today but we didn’t get off to the best of starts when only five of us showed up to play. This meant that we would have to split into two groups, a twosome and a threesome. This is rarely a good thing, as there would be foursomes ahead of us and the pace of play was bound to be slow. Actually, my round started quite promisingly and I even birdied the par 5 second hole, albeit in somewhat dubious circumstances. I was on the green in three shots but miles from the pin, so I told the Budmeister not to bother tending the flag. Of course I then holed the putt. Strictly speaking that’s a two stroke penalty for hitting the flag stick, but I explained that I was just playing by the proposed 2019 rules a bit early, so it should still count as four. Being my partner, Bud said that sounded fair enough.

However, by the fourth hole Bud and I found ourselves filling in time by practising our chipping on the tee box while waiting for the group ahead (who were also probably waiting for the group ahead of them). When Richard, Joe and Bill joined us on the tee someone suggested that we play as a fivesome as the guys ahead were unlikely to move any faster. Now some golf clubs have a fairly relaxed attitude to winter golf and I must admit that as long as players keep up with the group ahead I can’t really see any harm being done. Even so, I felt a little uneasy and insisted we check with the group behind us to make sure they didn’t mind. They were fine with it, they said, as long as we kept up with the group ahead – which of course is exactly what didn’t happen. Balls went into trees, balls went into ponds and we quickly dropped behind. After three holes of this Richard declared that he’d had enough and went home for a nap.

So at least we were a legitimate foursome for the remaining holes. Not that my game improved. Bogies were followed by double bogies and despite the sunshine overhead – the warmest day of the year to date – my mood became blacker and blacker. I skulled a chip into the pond on #18, muttered some words I wouldn’t want my mother to hear, and skulked off the course with a score of 89*.

Over coffee afterwards the rest of the guys were discussing my round in nauseating detail when Ben, the food and beverage manager, who I’d always thought of as one of the nicest men on the planet, came up to me with a big grin on his face. “Hey Dave! I saw that big splash when you hit into the pond just now, but what was that thing I saw sailing into the air just after? Was that a club?”

“Er, yes, but it kind of slipped out of my hand,” I lied. Somehow the rest of the group hadn’t spotted my club toss and I thought I’d got away with it. Now, however, I was done for. Billy V spoke on behalf of the rest of the group. “So let me get this straight. We find out this week that you’re to become captain of this golf club for the next two years and then in the space of a single round you commit four major transgressions: ignoring a penalty on #2 for hitting the flag stick with your putt, allowing a fivesome to play together contrary to club rules and then club tossing on #18 fairway.”

Well, when he put it like that it did sound pretty bad. I didn’t really have much to say in my defence, although I did point out that he’d only come up with three transgressions and not four. “I was coming to that,” said Bill. “Do you realise that your fly’s been undone ever since you came out of the washroom?”

Oh boy. This could be a long two years… I plead guilty as charged and throw myself upon the mercy of the Glacier Greens membership. (Like that’s gonna work.)

All da best.

Dave B.

(* OK. 91)