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’…)

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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.





Anger Management

30 11 2013

When I first started playing golf it took me a while to realise that there were a lot more factors in making a good score than simply how far I hit the ball. If it was all about distance I’d still probably never break 90, but I feel I can usually save a bunch of strokes by making smart decisions about what club to use and where to aim the ball. As the old saying goes, it’s not where your good shots go, but where your bad ones end up, that determines what kind of a score you’re going to have. In all modesty, I would have to say that course management has gradually become a strength of my game.

But what happens when circumstances conspire against you and you make, say, a double bogey or worse on a hole? Well, this is where anger management comes in. The guys I play with all have their own unique style in dealing with adversity on the golf course: Glennie and Robinski use language so colourful that I could never consider inviting them to tea along with the vicar for fear that the subject of three putting came up; Smokin’ Joe, somewhat quaintly, has been known to call himself an “effin ninny” when displeased with his efforts; Roderick questions the very existential truth of whatever tragedy seems to have just befallen him (“you’ve got to be kidding me”); Richard says something in French that always ends “tabernacle”; and Lairdo who, to be fair, has more experience than most of us with golf-related disasters, just wanders off muttering to himself. But sometimes, very occasionally, bad language alone is not enough to exorcise our golfing demons. Sometimes not even throwing a club (punishable in our circle by having to buy our playing partners a jug of beer) is sufficient. On these rare occasions, in order to release all that pent up anger with the minimum of personal inconvenience, you might want to follow the advice of teaching pro Charlie King from Georgia:

Next week: “How to throw a club”.

All da best!

Dave B.