The Snit

3 08 2018

Golfing tantrums

Sir Winston Churchill* said it best: “Golf is a game whose purpose is to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose.”

Let’s face it – for most people, golf is a fiendishly difficult game. It has been estimated that fewer than 25% of golfers ever break 100 (and just 2% break 80!), so it’s not surprising that many of us get a little frustrated at our failure to “put the little round white thing in the round holey thing”, as our friend Dave Laird used to put it.

I’ve just got back from my annual golf trip to Victoria with Glennie and his two long-standing Mainland buddies, Jim and Rod. I’m a (slightly dodgy) 14 handicap, Glen’s a 17, Jim’s in the low twenties and Rod’s somewhat north of that. By using our brilliant rolling handicap system (don’t ask) and changing partners for each round we manage to keep things close and – best of all – get to insult different people every day.

As it happens I was partnered by Rod on the first day at the beautiful Uplands golf course. He played lights out, nearly broke 90, and as a result, we won the match fairly handily. Day 2 at the equally lovely Cordova Bay course proved a bit more testing, but Rod remained defiantly chipper. Day 3 at Highland Pacific began more brightly, with Rod making an excellent par on the first hole and a birdie soon after, but a succession of difficult holes took its toll and Rod’s smile began to fade. The smile returned on the 9th hole (a tricky 165 yard downhill par 3) however, when Rod hit a gorgeous tee shot. We all oohed and aahed as it soared through the air straight at the hole, right on line. It landed on the front of the green and rolled towards the cup…which it missed by a couple of inches…and then continued to roll straight into a tiny bunker behind the green.

In hindsight, it may have been unwise of me to offer helpful tips as Rod played his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th shots in a desperate but unavailing attempt to escape the sand. Under the circumstances, Rod’s colourful language in reply was entirely understandable and my protests that I was “just trying to help” probably wouldn’t stand up in court.

So the question is: does this count as a snit or should the fact that Rod was clearly provoked mean that he should be acquitted? I leave it to you, my fellow golfers, to decide.

All da best!

Dave B.

(*Or it may have been Woodrow Wilson or someone entirely different).

 

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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.





B.C. Bud

22 02 2012

Dear Chief,

Just a few quick lines to let you know how things are going in sunny Comox. First off, it actually is sunny in Comox today. True we had a bit of a frost delay this morning, and granted Dave Laird  is still firmly of the opinion that the day would have been better spent working as an (unpaid) labourer on his son’s house rather than spend 4 hours shooting 105 yet again and having to buy Steve Ellis another coffee. Glen Parsons, who cheerfully admits to ‘not being much of a mudder’, is still in a state of shock at being expected to play in temperatures hovering around 6 degrees C. (Serves him right for floating around the Caribbean in his cousin’s gin palace if you ask me). As you know, muddy fairways don’t bother me so much, me being British and all, and it definitely helps being able to tee my ball up on the nearest glob of mud: I’ve been hitting some great 3 woods off the fairway (well, great if you consider 170 yard 3 woods to be great. I do). On the other hand, I actually pulled my groin hitting out of the mud on #6 fairway the other day, so it’s not all wine and roses. Robin’s playing very steadily and doesn’t complain much – he never does, does he? – and is quietly becoming the star performer in the group. But the main focus of attention over the past few days has been the Budmeister:

Is it ‘Honest Bud’ or ‘Not Quite As Honest As He Appears’ Bud?

Last Friday we played our normal three v three, best aggregate net score wins game, as we often do when six of us show up to play. As you know, honesty is key to this game, as each group is responsible for keeping its total net scores and then comparing them at the end. Following the time-honoured ball toss on the first tee, Robin, Lairdo and I finished up playing against Bud, Elmo and Steve. Our group played steady if unspectacular golf and finished with an aggregate net score of 217, or 4 over par. It would have been a couple of strokes better, but for Robin and me somehow switching balls half way down the last hole and thus having to take automatic doubles. Bah! We were hoping it wouldn’t affect the outcome of the match but, sure enough, Bud’s group came in at 216 to win by a single stroke. Double bah!! Somewhat glumly our group paid for the post round coffees in the clubhouse and generally bemoaned our misfortune (or stupidity – call it what you will), while Bud’s group exulted in their victory. “And boy, you sure hit my driver well on those last couple of holes, Bud!”, said Steve. “Pardon?”, I said, “YOUR driver?”. “Shut up, Steve”, said Bud. Too late, the cat was out of the bag. Clear infringement of the rules, two stroke penalty for using someone else’s club. Only trouble was, we’d already bought the coffee and Bud was claiming it wasn’t a ‘proper’ rule anyway. All appeals to his sense of justice and fair play fell on deaf ears. The fact that Robin and I had fessed up to our own faux pas made no difference either. Even my plea to Bud as a fellow Hampshire Hog (motto: ‘Ampshire born and ‘Ampshire bred – strong in the arm and thick in the ‘ead) had absolutely no effect. Calling him a cheating b*st*rd made me feel a bit better, but still didn’t get me my money back.

Today, however, fortune dictated that Bud and I were on opposing sides once again and this time my threesome scored a pretty comprehensive victory. I tried not to be too gleeful as Bud paid for my coffee, not even throwing in the old line about how it was the best coffee I’d ever tasted. Then, unasked, Bud slid a toonie across the table in my direction. ” Now, Brooker,” he said, fixing me with a pretty evil glare, “We’re quits.” “Er, thanks Bud,” I gulped. I guess now’s not the time to mention a certain person in our threesome hitting the flagstick with a putt on #8 today. Probably best left to a future occasion. Anyway, the good news is that Bud has been officially upgraded back to “Honest Bud” again. “Honest Dave?” Not so much. I guess I’d better buy him a coffee on Friday…

In the meantime, Chief,  I hope all is well with you in Arizona. Yes, I am glad that it’s so sunny and warm there and no, I don’t want to see your  knobbly knees when you get back, however brown they are.

All da best!

‘Somewhat Honest’ Dave