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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All quiet on the western front

4 03 2016

I’d have to say that the past month has been a pretty quiet time for golf here on the wet coast of British Columbia. It’s not that the Sandbaggers and I haven’t been out on the course at Glacier Greens; it’s just that when we have been playing it’s either raining or, even if dry overhead, conditions are – shall we say – a tad soggy underfoot. Every tee shot we hit that lands in the fairway disappears into a hole of its own making, looking a bit like a mini mortar shell crater in no-man’s-land between the trenches in World War One. We’re actually pleased when a tee shot hits the cart path now, because at least we can see the ball bounce.

Li’l Stevie, the Great Robinski and I won a coffee each on Wednesday, but only because the other team, the Axis of Evil (Richard, Billy V and the Budmeister), quit after nine holes, tired of slogging through the mud. After 18 holes I was pretty tuckered out myself, having hit my driver no fewer than 23 times – when you don’t hit it very far anyway and then you get absolutely zero roll, even a 350 yard hole is a long way. I’m getting pretty skilled at finding a nice blob of mud within six inches of my tee shot so that I can perch the ball up in order to hit driver again.

In the mean time, here’s a reminder of what can happen when you’re young and skillful and the ball rolls a bit. I’m not a huge fan of Tiger Woods, but I did enjoy his reaction to this:

Roll on the spring! (Yeah – please let it roll.)

All da best.

Bagger Dave

(P.S. Message to Bud: the kid’s 11, you’re in your 70’s. Isn’t it time you got a hole in one? Just sayin’…)





I coulda been a contender – RWB 2015

7 09 2015
Golfing God (and all-round good guy), Mr Chuck Kennedy.

Golfing God (and all-round good guy), Mr Chuck Kennedy

Well, the 16th annual Red, White and Blue tournament is done and dusted and we have a winner who basically lapped the field. Step forward Chuck Kennedy, whose 74 off the blue tees on Saturday (that’s a gross 74, mind you, net 65) gave him an eight shot lead over the rest of the field. By the time he’d shot a net 68 off the whites on Sunday morning his lead was up to 14 and the tournament was, to all intents and purposes, over.

Now Chuck is a quiet and modest man and no amount of cajolery (now there’s a word you don’t see every day) on my part could get him to say anything remotely boastful at the prize giving ceremony, so I will leave you instead with the reasons given by the rest of us as to why things didn’t quite go as planned this year:

“I hurt my back” – Brian Goodwin (withdrew the day before). Plausibility score: 5/10

“I hurt my back too” – Dave Buckley-Jones (withdrew in parking lot Sunday a.m.): 6/10

“I’ve only played twice this year” – Bruce Coulter (12th place): 9/10

“I had enough grief from Moira for winning last year” – Adrian Haut (11th): 8/10

“I only found out I was playing ten minutes before we started” – Elmo Guinan (10th): 6/10

“I had to play 36 holes with Bud on Sunday” – Dave Brooker (9th): (2/10)

“I had to play 36 holes with Bud AND Dave on Sunday” – Keith Allan (8th): (10/10)

“I had to watch Dave’s swing and it totally put me off my game” – Stan Mills (7th): (7/10)

“I’ve never played in the RWB before and nobody explained the rules” – Murray Polson (6th): (3/10)

“I went to the party of the century on Saturday night and got REALLY wasted” – Steve Ellis (5th): (7/10)

“I had to play with Dave. And I’m too old for this sh!t anyway” – Bud Bryan (4th): (5/10)

“I was in charge of the weather AND taking photos, so I couldn’t concentrate properly” – Dan Fitzgerald (3rd): (6/10)

“No excuses. The best man clearly won” – Bill O’Neill (2nd): (0/10)

Bill O'Neill raises a metaphorical glass to this year's winner. Either that or he's having a rest - 36 holes makes for a l-o-n-g day.

Bill O’Neill raises a metaphorical glass to this year’s winner. Either that or he’s having a rest – 36 holes makes for a l-o-n-g day.

And, finally, from the man himself:

“If I’d have known I had to take the Big Club home AND pay half the engraving costs I’d have thrown away 10 shots in the last round” – ‘Champion Chuck’ Kennedy

Er, you’d STILL have won, Chuck…

Thanks to all for taking part. Wonderful prizes, as per usual. Personally, I can’t wait to try out my plastic back yard driving range golf game (for ages 3 and up).

We’ll try it all again next Labour Day weekend.

Dave B.





Andy Murray – King of the Death Stare

19 08 2015

I’m not a huge tennis fan, but I saw this clip this morning and couldn’t help but burst out laughing. It helps if you’re bilingual (French/English or – to be more precise – Québecois/Scottish), but I’m pretty sure you’ll laugh too even if you’re not.

Incidentally, the way Andy Murray is viewed in England tells you something about the great Anglo/Scottish divide. He was born in Glasgow and raised in nearby Dunblane (he was a student at the primary school on the day in 1996 when a local man entered the school and killed 16 children, their teacher and then himself). Perhaps this accounts for Andy’s steely demeanour, or perhaps it’s connected to his parents splitting up when Andy was just 10 years old.

Anyway, whenever Andy Murray wins a tournament (Wimbledon, say) the English consider him to be a Brit. Whenever he loses, he’s Scottish.

Canadians would never be like that, would they?

All da best, and let’s not bring Scottish Wife into this, eh?

Dave B.

P.S. I was going to write about the hole in one I got on #17 at Glacier Greens on Monday, but seeing as I never even saw it go in the hole and I’ve really only got Bud Bryan’s word that it did, it’s not much of a story. Anyway, monkeys and typewriters…





Mother said (there’d be days like this)

8 08 2015
Please don't make me play 13 more holes - I. Can't. Stand. It. Anymore.

Please don’t make me play 13 more holes.  I. Can’t. Stand. It. Anymore.

My friend Bud has a saying that goes “Mother said the cream always rises to the top”. He uses it, of course, just after he’s made a long putt or chipped in for par or done something equally unlikely which means he’ll have the honour on the next hole.

I must admit I used it myself today as I walked to the 4th tee at Glacier Greens. I’d just birdied #3, having hit two good shots in a row, followed by a 20 foot putt. As I’d butchered the 2nd hole (triple bogey 8, thanks for asking) I was pretty pleased with myself and wondered aloud what the opposite of a PBFU was (‘Post Birdie F*ck Up’ for those of you who don’t play much golf). “Well, obviously that would be a PFUB” replied my playing partner Kiefer (I’m sure you can figure that one out for yourself).

Even after putting my tee shot in the pond on #4 and walking off with a double bogey – my card now reading PBFU, PFUB, PBFU  if you’re trying to keep track – I was still pretty chipper and pointed out that even though I was 4 over par for the first 4 holes I was actually one under if you only counted the two par fours.

In hindsight this may have been a mistake. Not for nothing is hole #5 at Glacier Greens rated the hardest on the course. My tee shot wasn’t actually too bad, landing in the fairway but then taking a bit of a nasty kick right so that I had to play my second shot standing on the cart path (a free drop would have put me right up against a tree). Nothing too scary here – I just needed a nice little fade around the tree 20 yards ahead of me and I could definitely get the ball up near the green. Nice slow back swing and…BANG. The ball ricocheted off the tree and straight out of bounds. Hmm – a little bit of bad luck, as my friend Adrian would say. I dropped another ball, aimed left of the tree once more and…BANG, hit it again, thus proving that the first one wasn’t a fluke. This time the ball stayed in bounds, about six inches away from the boundary fence. A tricky shot, but by no means impossible – a subtle, handsy hook shot with my seven iron and the ball should be back on the fairway. Except I hit the fence instead of the ball. Outwardly calm, but inwardly seething, I repeated the stroke with exactly the same result. At the third attempt I did manage to hit the ball a couple of feet, allowing me to then chip sideways back onto the fairway. I was now lying 8, and my ball was about ten feet away from where it had been after my tee shot. My ninth shot was, if I say so myself, a thing of beauty – a nine wood from 145 yards to the fringe of the green. A delicate chip and a tap in putt for an 11 followed. As we walked to the 6th tee box I tried to put on a brave face to my playing partners: “Well, at least I got a one putt – that’ll help the stats!” “Hate to tell you this, Dave,” came the reply, “but you never took the flag out for the putt, so with a two stroke penalty that’s a 13.”

Well, Lennie Doyle, God of all things connected with Saturday Men’s Club at Glacier Greens, I’m the one who was filling in the scorecard and I have to say I left it as an 11. Tell the Beaker to DQ me by all means, but I figure that there should be a limit as to how much a guy can suffer on a single hole. I mean, a man’s got his pride, right?

Actually, after all that palaver, I guess the answer is no.

All da best!

Dave B.

P.S. Much later, as we walked off the 18th green, I asked Wayne O’Gilvie (the third member of our group) how long our round had taken: “Just a tad over four hours,” he said. “Of course, if you don’t count all the time you spent effing about on the 5th hole it would have been three and a half.”

P.P.S. I guess by Kiefer’s reckoning my woeful efforts on #5 would go down as PFUFU…

And of course I can’t leave the blog without this:





Hail to the Chief! RWB 2014

1 09 2014

Adrian (aka ‘Chief’) has been a stalwart of the annual Red, White and Blue tournament for eight years now. He’s come close to winning a couple of times, but his aggressive play off the tee, while exciting to watch, has always meant that eventually the big numbers have come and the Big Club has eluded his grasp once again. Recently, however, the Chief has taken to hitting irons off the tee (further than some of us hit driver, I might add) and the results have been impressive. Could 2014 prove to be the year that the Chief finally achieves his dream and takes the Big Club home to impress Mrs Chief?

The field was a little smaller than usual this year, but here are the men that stood in his way – and how they fared:

Bruce's first tee antics were well up to scratch. His golf? Not so much

Bruce’s first tee antics were well up to scratch. His golf? Not so much.

Mike's confidence on the first tee proved to be sadly misplaced.

Mike’s confidence on the first tee was, once again, sadly misplaced.

The two shot per round penalty for winning last year proved too much for Sir Stanley to overcome.

The two shot per round penalty incurred for winning last year proved too much for Sir Stanley to overcome.

Billy V's verdict on his first foray into the RWB? : "Disappointing. Very disappointing."

Billy V’s verdict on his second foray into the RWB? : “Still disappointing. Very disappointing.”

Tied 3rd place for Dave. Just like the man himself: very respectable.

A 3 round net score of 206 and tied 3rd place for Dave. Just like the man himself: very respectable.

Al seemed to have a good time, although with his accent it's always hard to be sure.

Al tied for 3rd place and seemed to have a good time, although with his accent it’s never easy to be sure.

Sitting on the bench on the 10th tee, Bud knows that he holds a narrow lead. he's not to know that it will all fall apart on the very last hole of the tournament - a dreaded double on #18.

Sitting on the bench on the 10th tee, Bud holds a narrow lead. He’s not to know that it will all go pear shaped on the very last hole of the tournament – a dreaded double on #18.

Bud's misfortune on #18 means that Adrian sneaks through for a total of 204 and victory by a single shot. Hail to the Chief!

Bud’s misfortune on #18 means that Adrian sneaks through for a total of 204 and victory by a single shot.  There’s a rumour going round that Mrs Chief is going to post this picture on Facebook.

Many thanks to all who took part in the RWB this year and congratulations on the stunning array of gift wrapped prizes. As Stan Mills said: ” I don’t really want to win the tournament – I just want to see who gets what in the prizes!” No Indonesian sex gods this year (Mike Worley was away) but I got a flagon of beer, a bottle of wine and about 200 ‘experienced’ golf balls. It took away a lot of the pain brought on by three rounds of decidedly average golf. Thanks, mystery donor!

Hope to see you all next Labour Day weekend for the 15th annual running of the Red, White and Blue.

All da best and hail to the Chief!

Dave B.





Dave Laird

13 07 2014
Dave Laird (1946-2014)

Dave Laird (1946-2014)

In all honesty I have to say that Dave Laird, who passed away earlier this week, was a pretty awful golfer. In all fairness, however, I should add that he was also awfully good fun to play with. Dave’s handicap, which hovered around the 30 mark throughout the decade that I played with him, was a pretty accurate reflection of his inability to “get the little round white thing into the slightly larger round holey thing”, as he once described the purpose of his twice weekly outings at Glacier Greens. (Dave only did Mondays and Wednesdays; the rest of the week was dedicated either to the gym or to being Poppy and devoting himself to grandchild sitting). It also gave him a sense of perspective which the rest of us Sandbaggers sometimes lacked: while Joe and Bud would be bemoaning their ill luck in narrowly failing to break 90, Glen and Robin would be dissecting their 85’s, Richard and I would be cursing an outbreak of three putts and Ringer was railing at the injustice of the putt he missed for a 72, Lairdo would sit reflectively at the patio table over a post-round coffee. “106 today, was it?” he’d enquire. “A bit better than Monday then…” Talking of John Ringstead, Ringer partnered Lairdo once in the annual Glacier Greens Shoot Out. After the third round – the dreaded alternate shot format – John tried to describe his experience: “Dave put me in places on the course that I’d honestly never even seen before. I have to say I have a whole new respect for Lairdo and what he has to deal with just to complete 18 holes of golf.”

Twice I saw Dave hole out from the middle of the fairway, both times from 80 yards or so, once on #13 and once on #16. Both times it was for par. More often, however, Dave’s progress on the Par 4’s and 5’s was measured by a half decent drive followed by a series of chunks until he finally reached the green. Occasionally he would hit an approach shot way over – I mean WAY over – the back of the green. Lairdo would always be pretty pleased with himself. “Right club, but I hit it well” was his explanation. He actually birdied #17 twice in the space of a couple of weeks. The second time he had a picture taken of himself on his i-phone for posterity. I suggested that we rename #17 ‘The Dave Laird Memorial Hole’. It seemed quite funny at the time. It doesn’t now.

The Sandbaggers are going to play our round of golf in Dave’s honour tomorrow. At Rod’s suggestion we’ll play Stableford points “because the highest score wins” and Joe has suggested we use ‘experienced’ Top Flites because, well, that’s what Dave always used. We’ll try to be a bit more organised than usual as we sort out our groups on the practise green before the round, but I guarantee that someone (probably Robin) will do their best Lairdo impression and mutter: “Come on, you guys – it’s like herding cats out here!”

There’s one other impression that the rest of the Sandbaggers already do on a regular basis. Dave probably hit more provisional balls off the first tee at Glacier Greens than anyone but on one occasion, just as his provisional was disappearing into the same tree as his first one, he announced to the rest of the group “The first ball was a Top Flite 3 and er, the second ball was a Top Flite 3 as well.”

All da best, Poppy. Awful golfer, really good man. You’ll be missed.

Dave B.