Flagstick in or out?

14 02 2019

A couple of weeks ago I posted a video my friend Peter had sent me which showed that it was definitely a good idea to leave the flagstick in when putting (see my most recent blog ‘As Shakespeare might have said’, below). Then my other friend Keith sent me this video which shows the exact opposite:

The plot thickens…

So I’m not exactly sure where that leaves us, except to say that a lot of golfers are going to be trying out both methods in the next wee while. Not here in the beautiful Comox Valley though, where there’s six inches of snow on the ground and sub zero temperatures are forecast for another week at least. Beautiful it may be, but it’s not much use for putting (see what I did there?) all the new rules of golf into practice…

All da best!

Dave B.

Guilty as charged

15 03 2017


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)

The furry soap story

17 10 2010

In my experience, given the nature of  the sport and those who play it, most stories linked to golf  – Tiger Woods’ infidelities notwithstanding –  are pretty tame affairs. In this particular case, however, some fairly graphic images may be conjured up and so reader discretion is advised.

Dear Mrs Benedictson,

I was on the practice putting green at Glacier Greens yesterday, waiting out the frost delay that is so often a part of October golf here in the Comox Valley, when I was approached by a very irate Chief. “Why didn’t you tell me the furry soap story?” he demanded. I tried to  ignore him, well aware that a large number of members were hanging around with nothing better to do than listen in on what must have seemed like a promising argument, but Adrian was having none of it. “You might as well tell me, because Lynn Benedictson told her friend, who told my wife, who told me and now I want to hear it from the horse’s mouth”.

Mrs Benedictson, I have to tell you that I was shocked. Shocked and horrified, as a matter of fact, because this was an episode from my brief career caddying for your son this summer that I thought I had left behind me in that hotel room in Edmonton where the traumatic incident took place. Brian’s brother Bobby and his girlfriend had driven down from Fort McMurray to watch Brian play in the ATB/Telus Open. Brian hadn’t played well, I’d made a few caddying mistakes and we were both hot and tired and ready to go out for a beer or three. First, though, we stopped off at Bobby’s hotel room where we could have a shower before heading out. Age before beauty meant that I got first go in the shower. Luckily Bobby had conjured up a spare couple of towels but I could only find one, grotty hair-covered piece of soap. There was really no other option than to pick off the numerous bits of hair so that I could get on with the job of  getting myself clean and presentable. When I emerged from the shower, Bobby and his girlfriend were quick to ask if the shower was ok. “Great,” I said. “Towel all right?” “Yeah, good thanks”. “How about the soap?” asked Bobby, a little too quickly. I had a bad feeling about this, but had to know why he was asking. “Well, we knew Brian was going to have a shower, ” said Bobby’s girlfriend, ” and Bobby thought it would be hilarious if he cut off some pubic hair and stuck it on the soap to see if his brother would notice. We didn’t know you’d be having first shower…”

So, Lynn, you will understand when I say I have now been doubly traumatized by the Benedictson family. Just when I thought I had recovered from the original emotional shock, I found myself having to repeat the whole sordid tale to half the membership of Glacier Greens on the putting green yesterday. I knew that, shaken to the core as I was, I would be unable to play my usual game. I decided that the Benedictson family would have to pay for my public (pubic?) humiliation and that I would seek damages for mental trauma through my lawyers, Sue, Grabbit and Run.

And I certainly did not play my usual game. In my traumatized state, unable to focus on the mechanics of my swing or putting stroke, I shot a 72 – my best round for over five years – and won Low Gross at Members’ Morning for the first time ever. Under the circumstances, Lynn, it only seems fair not to proceed with the lawsuit and instead to give credit where credit is due. I shall be giving you 10% of my winnings – a whopping $3 – next time we meet.

All da best!

Dave B.

And now for something completely different…

5 02 2010

Hi. My name is Dave Brooker. I retired last June after over thirty years of teaching high school French, Spanish and German. “And now,” I said to myself as I walked out of school for the final time, “for something completely different”. I know I was guilty of  plagiarising Monty Python but, hey, I’m 56, I’m British and I’m allowed.

In my case, the “completely different” was to take up a career I’d been thinking about for ages: to be a golf caddie. I’m fit and sociable and I love playing golf, although my 10 handicap is based more on dogged determination (and creative accountancy) than skill. I read somewhere once that the caddie’s mantra is “show up, keep up, shut up” but, when I shared this information – and my career aspirations – with my golfing buddies, Glen, Robin and John, immediate consensus was reached: there was every possibility that I could achieve the first two on the list – and no chance whatsoever that I could manage the third. It is true that I like to talk – often during John’s backswing (more of El Bandito Juan and his 4 handicap later) –  but in my defence it’s usually something positive and/or constructive. Just slightly mistimed, maybe…

As it happens, my first foray into caddying was somewhat embarrassing for all concerned and might make you wonder why I’m determined to choose this particular profession. Let me describe what happened: there’s a local event in the Comox Valley here in Beautiful British Columbia (as the provincial government insists it be named) called the Tillicum that takes place every August . It’s a tournament known for a prize table that is generous to low and high handicappers alike. I failed to win a prize one year when I putted out of bounds, but that’s another story. The following year my friend George, who belongs to the high handicapper category (more stratospheric, really), was playing (for him) pretty decent golf. We figured that, with a handicap of 32, three rounds of 100 or so would be sure to see him in the prizes and so he paid his entry fee. All he had to do was employ me as a caddie, listen to my sage advice and success was assured! After nine holes of the first round George was 19 over par, having resolutely ignored every single club selection and every piece of course management that I had offered, along with my suggestion that while a beer on the first tee wasn’t a bad idea “to calm his nerves”, another one on tees 2 through 9 was possibly overdoing it. I resigned on the ninth green, after his second successive four putt,  a split second before I was fired “for being a spoilsport”. Two and a half days later, George had the last laugh when he won a $300 patio heater in the draw prizes.

(By the way, George, if you don’t want me to reveal the true story of your alter ego Cap’n Dave in a future blog, you might want to mail me my share of the winnings – say, 10% ?).

Funnily enough, this didn’t deter me from the idea of caddying at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’d heard of a Scottish caddie running away down the fairway with a selection of woods in his hands when his player didn’t want to lay up on a tricky par 5. I wanted to be that caddie! Now all I had to do was find the right player…

(To be continued)