Trumped by the Dutch

26 01 2017

I’ve not played golf for nearly two months now, largely because the famously mild Vancouver Island winter was replaced this year by weeks on end of sub zero temperatures. I’m not sure my fellow Canadians from the Prairies and back East are truly sympathetic for us wussy Westerners, but still…

Anyway, rather than focus on the train wreck that was my golf game before the big freeze I have been forced to look outwards to take in the wider scene of what’s going on elsewhere on the planet. I couldn’t help but notice that a very angry man with orange skin and an extremely dubious hairstyle has been elected leader of the free world. Unfortunately, he is now setting forth policies that seem to threaten the well-being of the said free world.

I must admit I found this somewhat troubling, but then yesterday I received this video from my good friend and fellow Sandbagger, Smokin’ Joe Dunham. Please watch it. It’s great. You’re gonna love it, you really will. Trust me, it’s fantastic:

P.S. I’ve heard Donald Trump’s real golf game is about as bad as my own, in which case I do have a certain (limited) amount of sympathy for the man. Of course that could, in the words of the equally vile Kellyanne Conway, just be an alternative fact…

All da best!

Dave B.





Quadratic equations

19 05 2014

 

Smiling Rock, the good luck charm next to the first tee at Quadra Island golf course. It worked very well on the first hole and then obviously forgot all about me for the next seventeen!

Smiling Rock, the good luck charm next to the first tee at Quadra Island golf course. It worked very well on the first hole and then obviously forgot all about me for the next seventeen!

 

There’s quite a lengthy list of things I wasn’t very good at during my time at school, but the subject that stands out as being a particular nightmare was high school mathematics. I was okay at sums you could work out in your head – my dad made sure that I had all the times tables up to 12 memorised by the time I was ten – but as soon as formulae were involved I was dead in the water. It didn’t help that I wasn’t that kid who sat quietly at the back of the classroom hoping to avoid attention. I was that other kid who, when bored, found forms of amusement such as nicking classmates’ pens and paper or flicking gobs of paper at the blackboard above the teacher’s head. Sometimes I got away with it, sometimes not. They were quite keen on corporal punishment in those days and a smack across the back of the head was often my ‘reward’ for minor indiscretions. Obviously I wasn’t going to complain to my parents – chances are that would only have led to another clip round the lughole  – so I would just accept whatever punishment was meted out as being a fair cop. On one occasion, though, my maths teacher, ‘Slim’ Folland (height 5 foot 2; weight 220 pounds), got his own back with a few succinct words on my end of term report card: “Prefers to muddle, apparently”. I still have that report card today and laugh at the memory of trying to explain to my parents that “It was just Mr Folland’s weird sense of humour” and “I was pretty sure I was going to pass the course anyway”. Somehow I did scrape through, but that was the end of me and maths and to this day I have no idea what a quadratic equation is or what you would do with it if you found one. It did, however, inspire me to my choice of future career. I mean, what could be more brilliant than saying or writing whatever you wanted about a kid and them having virtually no right of reply? And so the seeds of a lifetime in teaching were sown.

It’s probably pretty obvious by now that this week’s post has nothing whatsoever to do with quadratic equations. It’s just that six of us Sandbaggers played at Quadra Island golf course for the first time last week and the name of the course and the difficulty I had with it brought the obvious connection to mind. The nine hole course is in just its second full year of operation and is an absolute beauty – under 5900 yards off the white tees and with pretty generous fairways, but changes in elevation and some cunningly placed hazards meant that no one in our group found it a pushover. For those whose knowledge of the geography of Vancouver Island is a bit shaky, Quadra Island lies a ten minute ferry ride from the dock in Campbell River which, in turn, lies 45 minutes north of the Comox Valley. A couple of club members picked us up from the ferry and drove us to the course, which was less than ten minutes away and overlooks the Sutil Channel and the coastal mountains of BC. There we were warmly greeted by Carol Ann, the operations manager of the course, who pointed us in the right direction for the practice putting green and driving range. A couple of members (there are, I believe, around a hundred playing members in total, of whom maybe half are what you’d call frequent players) asked if they could play through, having completed their first nine, but by the time we took to the first tee we had the course pretty much to ourselves even though it was a lovely sunny spring day.

I won’t go into details about my round, other than to say I birdied the first hole and then didn’t hit another green in regulation for the next three hours – and even then it was only after my approach shot bounced off a huge rock in the middle of the 16th fairway and ricocheted to within twenty feet of the pin. To use Glennie’s time worn phrase: “I LOVE golf!” Of course I then doubled the last two holes, losing two balls in the process, and the love/hate dial on my relationship with this game switched back to ‘hate’. My black mood soon passed, however, as I watched the group behind us try and fail to reach the 18th green with their tee shots. Two flew straight into the hazard to the right of the green, while Rod’s low trajectory meant that at least his ball skipped right across the pond (three bounces!) before hitting a rock on the far side, rising twenty feet or so into the air before achieving splashdown. Rod re-teed and hit a beauty on his next attempt to within six feet. It goes without saying that he missed the putt.

Not even time for a post round beer on this occasion, as our ride back to the ferry was ready and waiting (we made it by the skin of our teeth), but I for one am really keen to come back and try it all over again.Thanks again to Peter, Carol Ann, and all those Quadra members who helped make our day so enjoyable. I highly recommend you to try it for yourselves – it’s a great day out!

The course designer obviously liked his inukshuks - they were all over the place! These two were at the back of the fifth green.

The course designer obviously liked his inukshuks – they were all over the place! These two were at the back of the fifth green.

 

 

 

Despite appearances, this tree takes up only a very small part of the eighth fairway. Li'l Stevie hit it with unerring aim!

Despite appearances, this tree takes up only a very small part of the eighth fairway. Li’l Stevie hit it with unerring aim.

 

All da best!

 

Dave B.

 

 





Sandbaggers

17 08 2013
Who, me?

Who, me?

If you’ve read many of my posts you’ll know by now that I usually hang out with the same group of guys at Glacier Greens: Glennie, Lairdo, Budmeister, the Chief, Li’l Stevie, Smokin’ Joe, Rod, Richard (aka Frenchie) and the Great Robinski. The group has been joined of late by another ne’er-do-well, er gentleman, named Billy V. We book two tee times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. Sometimes there’s exactly eight of us – Li’l Stevie might have to work, for example; for some reason Frenchie’s wife actually wants him around the house on Wednesdays, and ‘Poppy’ Laird doesn’t really do Fridays. Sometimes one or two of us take a turn to sit out for a day but quite often the three great kids in the pro shop (take a bow, Peter, Michelle and Taylor) let us sneak three groups into two tee times as long as we’re all there early and promise faithfully to tee off promptly and then keep up the pace.

We play a variety of games, but there are two constants: we always use net scores and we always play for a coffee. We think net scores are a good idea because our handicaps range from 6 to 29 and by always mixing up the teams (the ball toss on the practice green is a staple part of proceedings) we get to see a wide range of golf swings, not to mention golfing etiquette. Oh, and now I think of it, there’s a third constant: whenever you lose, it’s customary – mandatory, really – to accuse the winners of being sandbaggers. Just over a month ago the topic was raised once again over a post-game coffee: out of the 11 of us, who really is the biggest sandbagger? Pretty much everybody is a decent candidate, at least on their day, but then there are all those other days when we’re just hackers. Anyway, how can you really tell, when we nearly always play as teams? Just because Bud and Joe nearly always have their hands out for a toonie after a round doesn’t necessarily prove that they’re sandbaggers – just incurable optimists.

The obvious solution was to hold a singles matchplay competition. After some discussion we decided to have a round robin event, so that we would all play each other once. This is the email I sent out to everybody on July 5th:

At our meeting after today’s round the details of the Sandbaggers Trophy were finalised. I believe we agreed the following, but would appreciate input if I have misremembered anything:
1. The beautiful trophy, lovingly created by Sandbagger Bud, shall be named the Sandbagger Match Play Trophy. Sandbagger Bill will see to the engraving of the trophy title.
2. As suggested by Sandbagger Rod, the tournament will be competed for on a round robin basis, each player therefore playing 10 separate matches to decide a winner; two points for the winner of each match, one point each in the event of a tie. ( Should two or more players be tied for first place at the end of the round robin, I suggest one more match be played to decide an overall winner).
3. Matches initially to be decided by lot (ball toss) and usually played on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday. (Sandbagger Robin will keep a record of results).
4. I suggest current handicaps be used for each match.
5. Sandbagger Glen will look after the prize money (Sandbaggers Joe and Richard have still to pay the $5 entry fee).
6. With 11 entries, I suggest the prize money is split as follows: 1st place – $30; 2nd place – $15; 3rd place – $10.
7. Obviously it will take a while to complete all the matches – Sandbagger Steve has already announced he’ll be taking a vacation in August – so I suggest that players who know they will be away try to get their matches played as early as possible.
8. Sandbagger Glen will extract an additional $1 levy from each player to go towards the winner’s plaque. Month, year and name of player should cost around $12.
9. Sandbagger Dave B. claims to know all the rules and may be used as a match referee in case of disputes.
10. Sandbagger Dave L. claims to know none of the rules and may also be used as a match referee in case of disputes.
11. Sandbagger Richard, being bigger and tougher than all the other sandbaggers, will enforce the match referee’s decision.
Let’s start on Friday!
So here we are, just under six weeks later. The matches have all been played, everybody has won some and lost some and there have been a number of ties thrown into the mix. As promised, Glen collected all the entry fees, Robin kept a record of all the results, Bud made an eye catching trophy (filled with genuine Glacier Greens sand from the bunker on #6) and Billy V had the trophy engraved. Joe and Bud both had complaints, and both were ignored. Rod got a hole in one, but sadly not in actual competition. He still bought everyone a beer, though.
And the results? Well, based on the evidence, it’s fair to say that Lairdo, the Chief, Glennie and Billy V are definitely not sandbagging material; Rod, Joe and Li’l Stevie are also cleared of all charges, each having 10 points from their 10 games; Robin, Bud and Richard all had 13 points but based on a countback system we sort of made up on the spot, Bud and Richard shared the prize money for second place. The clear winner with 16 points was er, me. The good news is that, along with the trophy, I won the $30 first prize. Sadly, most of that disappeared when I bought coffee for everyone today. The bad news is that I get to exhibit the trophy and also have to publish the definition of a sandbagger, as given by the Urban Dictionary:
A sandbagger is “any golfer who misleads others about his ability at golf, claiming to be worse than he actually is and claiming extra shots as a result. Considered by many to be the lowest form of life on the golf course, he is at base a cheater and a hustler, a nasty species of golf vermin.”
Well that’s me told, then…
All da best (and many thanks to Bud for a truly lovely trophy),
(Sand)bagger Dave
For stats geeks, here are the final (slightly wobbly) standings:
Position     Player       Won      Tied      Lost      Points
1                 Dave B      8            0             2             16
2=               Richard    6             1             3            13
2=               Bud           5             3             2            13
4                 Robin        6             1             3            13
5=               Steve        4             2             4            10
5=                Joe            4             2             4            10
5=                Rod          3             4             3            10
8                  Bill             4             1             5             9
9                  Glen          2             3             5             7
10                Adrian      3             0             7             6
11                Dave L      1             1              8            3
Chief Sandbagger, August 2013

Chief Sandbagger, August 2013. But who’s next?