Sunday, September 09, 2007

Missing Links

The Colonel, looking natty on the first tee.

Aloha, sports fans! How goes it, my jungle brothers and soul sisters? I trust you haven't been a-frettin' and a fussin' over my prolonged absence these past few weeks. Fear not, my pert young pretties, I have been in tolerably good health, I have merely been bitten by the golfing bug.

I know that you are probably thinking "Hold on there boy, what's a street tuff rock'n'roller like yourself doing playing an ould man's game like golf. Surely that's the way of the fool, no?" Well, I appreciate your concern, but you couldn't be more wrong. Golf is cool, hip and dudey, and that's that. Not only does one get to swank around wearing garish, far out clothing (see picture above), one also gets plenty of fresh air and sunshine as well as the many opportunities to advance socially due to a healthy network of corruption and palm-greasing.

As everyone knows, in this meritocratic society of ours, the only way to get ahead in life is via who you know rather than what you know. The three prime routes to becoming a fat cat, some say big cheese, others say head honcho, are the Freemasons, the Gays and the Old Boys Network.

The first two options are clearly non-starters. For one thing, I don't want my rear end violated by some moustachioed pervert. Neither do I fancy becoming a practicing homosexual.

Badoom-tish, what?

This leaves us with the third option of taking up golf, donning a smoking jacket and cravat, and cultivating the society of Important Dignitaries in the local golfing clubhouse. Quite a machiavellian scheme, eh? Also, it is good to have a sanctuary where one can wear diamond-patterned knitwear without fear of scorn and being "happy slapped".

To bidness. The first step on the road to golfing nirvana is to buy some clubs. The best way to proceed is to consult a golf professional who will be able to advise on the best equipment to suit your build and ability. However, this will cost a fucking fortune, and since I am neither Bill Gates nor the Sultan of Brunei, I took the route of buying a set of battle-scarred clubs from a bloke in the pub.

Thirty quid, since you ask. In your face, Tiger Wood!

This week saw my first game on a full-sized course, my preliminary skirmishes having been confined to the local municipal par 3 course, a plague spot habituated by knackers, spivs and splay-legged fools who hit a driver off the tee when going for a green 119 yards away.

Anyhow, like a small boy on his first day at Big School, I turned up in my new outfit, armed with my new equipment. Thankfully, none of the older boys ragged me for wearing a Primark polo shirt, or having a bag of clubs that brought to mind the popular music hall toe-tapper "Any Old Iron".

This new world is not without it's pitfalls however.

One of my dreadful mates and fellow newcomer to the beautiful game, committed the faux-pas of entering the clubhouse bar while wearing his golfing hat. He was coldly requested to remove the offending headgear by the old buffer behind the counter, in a manner suggesting that my friend may be better suited to an East End cockfighting bar rather than the dignified environs of a golf club.

However, the reason we had rapidly attempted to master the basics of this baffling pastime was that another pal of ours was hosting a company golf day (tax-deductible, I believe) and there was free scran, free golf, free willy, aal kinds.So it came to pass that sixteen assorted builders, electricians and loafers were gathered in the sunshine to trough bacon sandwiches and coffee while watching the Senior Members Society teeing off before us.

A more depressing collection of spavined old coffin-dodgers you couldn't hope to encounter. Lyle & Scott coves knocked greying Titleists forty yards down the middle, while elsewhere syrupped-up liver-spotted old geezers shanked Seven woods into the right rough.

A grim prospect.

Eventually, the time came for our group to get going. Having watched a series of agricultural-looking swings get the job done, it was time for your correspondent to step up and bust some shots off.

A nerve-wracking ordeal. Simultaneously remembering to keep one's head still, to grip the club lightly and to draw back the club in a smooth, leisurely manner, before bringing it down in a precise arc and applying plenty of wristy follow-through is a task more difficult than anything encountered by chess grandmasters, SAS recruits or contestants on "The Krypton Factor".

Fortunately, I managed to hit the ball. Cheg on, Andy McNabs!

Unfortunately, after that promising start, I then proceeded to play, and apologies for the strong expression, like an absolute cunt.

I won't bore you any more than necessary by recounting the entire round, that would take longer than the five hours we eventually got round in. Suffice to say that this golfing lark is a sight more difficult in real life than it is on the Sega Megadrive that today's teenager finds so addictive.

However, redemption lay in wait after a mainly embarrassing afternoon. As part of the "fun" there were two spot prizes on offer. The first of these, for the longest drive on the seventh hole, eluded me due to my tee shot slicing right into some trees. There was also a prize for nearest the hole on the short par three fourteenth.

As we neared this hole we were informed by the group in front of us that nobody had managed to find the green yet, a prerequisite for winning the prize.At this point, all those hours of toil and sweat on the par three course paid off and I slammed, I say slammed!, a six iron which stuck on the green a mere eight metres from the hole.

Dear reader, your humble correspondent was a winner.

After a boozy dinner of roast beef and yorkshire pudding, followed by treacle tart and chocolate ice-cream, I was presented with a Ping golf glove and a rather nice bottle of white wine. (Semillon, which, as I remarked, was what I had after hitting the winning shot. I am amusing, what?)

There were some other minor awards for best score and longest drive, but as all true golfing cognoscenti know, it is the man who can flukily hit one decent shot on a short hole who is the real golfing master.

Then we all got pissed mortal. The End.