Some years ago a fellow newspaper hack and myself were roundly scolded on a golf course for treating golf as if it were a game. Our irate fellow hack, who made up the three ball, knew it was no such thing. Golf is a test and a torment. An addiction and an affliction leading to unending misery, interspersed with occasional moments of elation.
As a fair weather golfer myself, I was the most contemptible of the breed. Never cared to venture out on cold, bleak days when your round could be pebble-dashed by a hail shower or a wind that left a perfectly good iceberg to come and caress you.
The elements mean little to real golfers. Real golfers do not go to the tee with any expectation of enjoyment. They go grimly as to war, seeing the course as an old enemy on a par with Captain Ahab's Moby Dick. Taunting them to hook, slice, hack and under club their way home with a score card that even the occasional fiction couldn't help. Yet, back in the clubhouse, these seriously intense individuals revert back into human form where, aided by a little alcoholic stimulation, a sense of proportion can be restored. The nineteenth hole is where golfers relax and talk of the near perfection of play, brutally ruined by the worst ill-luck since the invention of reality television. And it is where they invent witty and imaginative names for wayward shots, struck with such unwarranted optimism that mysteriously fly off into a grassy, sandy or watery hell.
David Beasley, a veteran golfer, who reads this column from time to time, has generously forwarded to me a list of some of these golfing terms, he has collected down the years. Like:
A GLENN MILLER — Kept low, but didn't make it over the water.
A PAULA RADCLIFFE — A bit thin but will run for miles.
A GERRY ADAMS — Hitting a provisional.
An OJ SIMPSON — You got away with it.
A PRINCESS GRACE — Should have taken a driver.
A KATE MOSS — A bit thin.
A MICHAEL JACKSON — Gradually fading.
An ANNA KOURNIKOVA — Looks great, but unlikely to get a result.
A VINNIE JONES — A nasty kick when you're not expecting it.
A BIN LADEN — Driven out and never seen again.
A DOUGLAS BADER — Looking good in the air, but didn't have the legs.
A KEN LIVINGSTONE —Way off to the left.
A TONY BLAIR — Fading to the right.
An ALASTAIR CAMPBELL — Too much spin.
A JAMIE OLIVER — You really want to smack it, but you can't.
An ARSENE WENGER— Everyone saw where it went but you.
An ARTHUR SCARGILL — A great strike but a poor result.
A SON-IN-LAW — Not what you wanted, but it'll do.
An ADOLF HITLER — Two shots in a bunker.
A SADDAM HUSSEIN — Go from bunker to bunker.
A CHUCK BERRY — In the trees (with no particular place to go.)
A CUBAN — The ball needed one more revolution.
A ROCK HUDSON — Thought it was straight, but it wasn't.
A DENIS WISE — A nasty five footer.
A DIEGO MARADONA — A very nasty five footer.
(Courtesy of DJ Beasley, Ballyclare.)
(If any golfers out there can think of any more, do tell.)
"Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year."— Victor Borge