Foul weather golfers

2 12 2012
"Can I have a ruling on casual water, please?"

“Can I have a ruling on casual water, please?”

I think my favourite cartoon is of two golfers trudging down the fairway in the pouring rain who see a man fishing from a riverbank next to the course. “Look at that guy!” says one of the golfers. “I mean, what kind of idiot would be out in weather like this?”

Well, I would for a start. There are many categories of golfers, but as far as the weather is concerned they fall into one of two camps: you’re either a fair weather golfer or, like me, you’re beyond hope and you’ll play in anything. In the former group are some of my walking buddies: Butch, Don, Brian and Mike, for example – all of whom, with the possible exception of Mike, are fine, upstanding and sane gentlemen who play their golf on a variety of local courses in the summer months and who put their clubs away once October arrives and the Wet Coast (sic) starts to live up to its name. The latter group consists of my Glacier Greens buddies, most of whom take the view that they’ve paid for their membership and so they’re going to play come rain or shine. One or two, like Glennie, openly admit their preference for sunny skies overhead and firm footing underneath, but most of the rest are easily led and by the time they are absolutely soaked they can usually be persuaded to finish off the round. The phrase “Big Girl’s Blouse” seems to work wonders in convincing the likes of Bud and Robin that their manhood will be called into question if they quit after nine holes.

So I have to admit I felt a little guilty yesterday when I looked out of the window at first light, saw teeming rain and decided I would give Men’s morning a miss this week. As it happened it pretty much rained all day and I spent most of the daylight hours with my nose buried in a book. If I gave any thought to my playing partners it was to think “silly sods” before making myself another cup of tea and getting back to John Grisham.

Today it dawned bright and fine and I couldn’t wait to get to the course. When I arrived at 8:00 I was surprised to see that the parking lot was virtually empty. Apparently nearly all of yesterday’s silly sods had decided that they weren’t going to risk getting soaked two days in a row and had decided to bail on Bruce’s usual Sunday morning skins game. Luckily (or maybe unluckily) Stan the Man and Dave Buckley-Jones were waiting on the tenth tee and hailed me as I drove by. Lucky for me, because I would have headed for the first tee, forgetting that we switch nines at the start of December, but also unlucky because these two characters rejoice in giving me the gears from start to finish whenever we play together. Sure enough, Stan and Dave (or Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber as I prefer to call them) were in fine form and the insults soon started to flow: “Would you like to borrow some hipwaders?” asked Stan just as I was eyeing up a tricky shot across water on # 10. (Sure enough my approach shot  sliced straight into the pond). “Try hitching up your pantie hose” was Dave’s helpful advice after a particularly poor drive of mine on # 5. And so it went on – three guys using their three and a half hours together in the best possible way: golf and a non-stop barrage of insults. Stan is actually considering videotaping our next round together, although it should probably carry some kind of parental advisory warning concerning bad language and squishing of self esteem. Stan played well, Dave and I less so but were not unhappy – we’d agreed that low net would buy the coffee today, just for a change – and a good time was had by all. It was topped off by finding out in the clubhouse that Dave must have set some kind of record in yesterday’s gale blown Men’s morning: he shot 104 (yes – a hundred and flipping four) and won third low net in his flight! And they say all the prizes are won by sandbaggers…

All da best.

Bagger D..

(P.S. I’d also like to thank Dave for the sterling work he’s doing increasing the width of the fairways at Glacier Greens: so many of his tee shots are bringing down branches from the trees on the left that every fairway on the course is gradually getting wider and wider!)



20 03 2010

As I get older I am realising that, although in some areas I am open minded, indeed progressive, there are other things I just can’t come to terms with. In the world of sport this would include soccer – or hockey – teams full of expensive foreigners, compared to the good old days when teams were filled with (underpaid) local lads who often spent their entire career with the same home town team. It would also include over-exuberant celebrations of goals, outs, touchdowns or whatever, whereas back in the day players would  make their way almost sheepishly back to the centreline, keen to get out of the spotlight as soon as possible.

In golf, too, I am not a fan of making a big fuss over a crushing drive or a long putt, and I have noticed that it tends to be the high handicappers who get more carried away than most – though as someone with increasingly hackerish tendencies myself I have to say I can empathise with them. El Bandito Juan is not showing off when he says he expects to make a birdie on each nine – it’s a simple statement of fact. He knows he’s probably going to miss a few greens and make five or six bogies in most rounds and so he needs a couple of birdies to play to his handicap. And, indeed, John’s birdie celebrations usually consist of a wry smile and a quick ‘Thanks’ in response to our congratulations. Robin, Glenny and I know that we’ll be lucky to hit five or six greens in regulation, so even one birdie per round is definite cause for celebration.

So when I tell you that I got SIX birdies in my Saturday morning men’s round today, you’ll realise that something totally out of the ordinary was going on. With our usual shotgun start on #14, just about as far from the clubhouse as possible, I got a couple of nondescript bogeys before nearly holing my second shot on #16. I then sank a 30 foot putt for birdie on #18 and unleashed the “tickie dance” (think Rich Beem’s reaction after sinking the winning putt to beat Tiger at the PGA Championship back in 2002). Further birdies arrived on #2 and #3, good putts both, but sadly counterbalanced by doubles on #4 and #9. Even so, things were looking very good in the snips department. When I holed a 20 foot putt on #10 for a fifth birdie I was in totally uncharted waters, and the tickie dance had got more of an airing than it does in an average calendar month. Standing on the 12th tee I was already counting up how much I was likely to get in snips, low nett prize etc. Remember how #12 used to be ranked the easiest hole on the course? They obviously knew what they were doing when they re-ranked it. My tee shot wasn’t terrible, but just failed to clear the pond. Oops. My next ball didn’t even come close to making it over. Double oops. A poor chip and two putts later I was walking off with an eight. Five birdies in the round and I’d just made a quintuple on a hole measuring 107 yards! Then on my last hole , the 13th, I chipped in from fifty feet for yet another birdie and the craziest 79 I’m ever likely to score in my life…

On the long walk back to the clubhouse, my three amigos (who’d stopped laughing somewhere around my sixth shot on #12) tried to cheer me up with the prospect of a snip or two. OK, #2 and #10 didn’t hold out much hope, but surely #3 and #13 had a pretty good chance? Not so. Barry Norris, who I’m sure in many ways is a decent and honourable human being, had already birdied them both. What a bas%@*d! I left a few minutes later, merry laughter from the patio ringing in my ears – everyone, I’m sure, unaware af the minor personal tragedy that had befallen me (or, in the case of Stan Mills and Dan Fitzgerald, not unaware at all). I still had a glimmer of hope that #18 might hold up, but I was already rationalising that it might be better if it didn’t – it’s no good being 5/6ths miserable, when you want to go home and have a bloody good sulk.

By the way, there’s another thing that gets my goat in the world of sport: it’s when someone drones on and on about a game they’ve just played and gives you a blow by blow account of every shot. Annoying, innit?

All da best.

Dave B.

Golf 101

18 02 2010

Our Saturday morning men’s foursome had an unusually successful outing a couple of weeks ago. Or, to be more precise, three of us did…

Robin (nicknamed ‘Robin Hood’  because of the large amount of time he usually spends  in the woods over the course of a round) broke 80 for the first time ever on a Saturday morning and duly won low net in the B flight; el Bandito Juan would have shot even par but for bogeying the last two holes; I myself managed a very respectable 76, including the unheard of (for me) tally of three birdies, all of which I had high hopes for in the snips competition.

‘And what of  the fourth member of your group?’ I hear you ask. Well, Glenny didn’t exactly have the best of days. I put down 101 on the score card, but to be honest it could have been a couple more. I know, I know – on Saturday mornings you have to play every shot and every shot counts; but the better John, Robin and I played the worse things got for Glenny and after a while I couldn’t face asking him if he’d scored a double or a triple on the same hole that John had just chipped in on for a birdie. Sometimes there’s a glimmer of hope in a round like that: a monstrous drive, perhaps, or an amazing par saving putt, maybe even a birdie on the pot of gold hole. But not for Glenny, not this week. Bad was followed inevitably by worse until his four hours and ten minutes of suffering were done.

On the patio afterwards, Robin was his usual modest self – the difference being that after most Saturday morning rounds he has lots to be modest about; John was describing his misfortune on the last two holes to anyone at the table who cared (i.e. nobody) and I was loudly cursing people who were crossing my name off the snips board because of their own (obviously fluky) birdies.

And Glenny? He slowly sipped his pint and said philosophically, as he’s been known to say on occasion before, ‘She’s a harsh mistress, golf is, a harsh mistress…’

By the way, John’s 73 left him precisely nowhere in the top flight’s low gross scores and I missed third place for low net on the dreaded countback system that only Len the tournament director truly understands. I told him that I’d be away for a few weeks, so maybe it wasn’t worth cutting my handicap. ‘We’ll be waiting, Davey,’ said Len with what I thought was a particularly evil grin. Anyway, the failure of John and myself once again to get in the money on a Saturday morning just goes to show what a bunch of sandbaggers, er deep pool of talent we have at Glacier Greens…

All da best.

Dave B.

P.S. Robin, Glen and I are heading off to Las Vegas early Saturday morning for a quick exploratory trip to find out what desert golf is all about. May your rounds at Glacier be filled with birdies and the ground be firm beneath your feet!