If this long running blog has a theme and a constant then it is my limitations. How I tend to struggle with situations that others appear to have no such issues.
Hapless is my preferred way to describe this. It is softer and kinder than stupid or thick as…
For a blog to survive, it needs to be accessible and easy to read – so I am mindful to write on subjects that interests people.
This presents a challenge for me today, since golf is this weeks backdrop.
See how far I can keep you for.
Golf is notoriously hard. The hardest game of all? A stationary small ball played over long distances with the vagaries of geography and weather at play. A game that is won (and lost) with the shortest shots of all – the putt – which will expose even the hardiest nervous constitution.
But you know this already, right?
I can hear you now…
“Don’t waste my time with a blog about your bad round of golf because that will be super boring!”
Read on my friends, for I have comedy gold for you…
Some golfers conspire to make an already fiendishly difficult game even more difficult. Hapless people, for instance.
Last weekend in Portugal with a bunch of good friends – the first time in three years we have made our annual pilgrimage to confirm our lack of sporting prowess.
Our final round – Sunday – I am leading, but I can feel that a headache is inbound, the wind is blowing and I am feeling jittery. A similar feeling I have before a gig – the difference being, my anxiety evaporates once I am on stage – but it can remain on the golf course and even build.
What tends to alleviate nerves is good play and being 2 up against my opponent early on, I start to relax – until I reach the 6th tee (there are 18 in total – so 13 holes to go…) (just saying) whereupon I pull out my Driver from my bag (the club designed to hit the ball the longest distance) and I realise that it has snapped.
This is not good news. Bad news for the match not to mention my wallet but this is the least of my concerns. I have a match to win and pride to salvage.
But how did it happen, you will want to know. Patience, dear reader. All will become clear.
I am offered to use any of my pals clubs which is kind of them – but in something of a frazzle, I decide to hit the shot with my 3 Wood instead – the club in my bag of 14 clubs (now 13!) that is designed to hit the ball the second furthest distance.
And what I discover is that my 3 wood is also broken…
To break one club is unfortunate and can possibly be forgiven, but to break two…
How the f**** did you break your clubs?
Presumably, having played 5 holes already, you’ve already used these clubs (yes) and you’re not so strong that you can snap a golf club with shear force (correct), so what the hell happened?
Did you snap them in a fit of pique? (no)
Have you been sabotaged by your opponent (Richard) who can’t beat you fairly (incorrect) and must resort to such dastardly means (I did wonder about this, but this incorrect also).
What happened is that I had not strapped my bag on to our golf buggy sufficiently tightly and on moving off from the 5th green (with a 2 hole lead) – my bag crashed to the floor – snapping the two shafts and game over.
In to the breach, my playing partner, Tony who happens to have exactly the same clubs as me, so we can share.
On losing the game on the 18th to Richard, a man who I used to like – I am searching for adequate meaning to my life and reasons to carry on with it. Why I shouldn’t text my goodbyes to my wife and boys and just jump in the adjoining ocean.
Throughout the game, since club-gate I was explaining to Tony that even though our clubs are the same – they must in fact be ever so slightly different. Fractional differences that are impossible to discern. How else to explain that Tony is hitting the ball beautifully and I can’t hit a barn door.
This is a study in psychology worthy of a Phd thesis.
They are the same clubs, of course they are. And yet I frantically searched for a way to explain my failings and to mitigate my hurt, which I think is quite normal because we are human and we are fallible. My game that day was an aberration and I finished flat last. The most chastening experience I can readily recall and with this, let’s return to my psychology theme.
Hours later on the short flight home and mulling on my debacle, I was already planning my return to the winners podium and clutching at all sorts of short straws. Perhaps the replacement shafts will be better and make all the difference? Maybe I should take golf lessons? Or I could actually start to practice the game rather than just playing it. I am sure that the pros practice…
News of my ignominy quickly spreads. One of my so-called mates has told his wife and his wife tells my wife… And why not? It’s funny. Hapless Dom generating laughs as per, although not in a fashion I had intended.
As soon as I land in London, my phone is buzzing. It’s my boys calling, keen to hear from the horse’s mouth what a total bell-end their old man is.
Harry and Tom have a particular air about them and I know something is afoot. Harry is oblique and cryptic.
‘Dad, when you get home, there’s a package waiting for you from Amazon. A late birthday present.’
He won’t elaborate but I sense it is related to my ignominy and a joke on me. And talking of clutching at straws, I am quietly pleased that I hadn’t missed my birthday present from my two most affluent boys – not being a grabby dad is a virtue, surely.
Finally I am home and sure enough, a parcel awaits…
I open it to discover something called an Arccos Caddie system –
A new electronic gizmo for golfers to help improve their game.
But accessed through an ‘app’ – and dependent on the internet and an affinity for technology, what could possibly go wrong?
I will report back on its effectiveness and any improvements in my game but a word of warning to the people at Arccos – you will need to be patient and are likely to be very disappointed.
Next week is the 3rd July – publication day for Made in England in kindle and print – my latest novel and sequel to Only in America. For any eager beavers and after the typo hiatus (solved btw), it can be pre-ordered now.
Eclipsed Audio was published last week – read by Dom and in conversation with Tom.