This year is my twenty fifth anniversary – or roughly speaking it is – because I am referring not to my marriage but something more important – when I started to play golf.

And despite much endeavour and expense, I remain largely, a hapless golfer. And because it happens to be our 25th wedding anniversary also this year – Nikki has witnessed my entire golf career.

She has seen how excited I am leaving the house – and then how abject and dejected I am on my return.

How was it? She asks pointlessly.

Yeah, you know. Few great shots. But mostly, shit.

Every useless golfer will understand this frustrating equation. The joy of a few perfect shots interspersing abject golf that defies physics.

Which is why I started my boys playing young and so no surprise that now they are all better than their old man – with Paddy a little behind but he has a knowing air about him and the inevitability which is just a few years off.

Just another Eclipse, I suppose?

Maybe it was the Hawaii trip this year to the Sony Open where Tom played with one, Mr Jordan Spieth – and his subsequent invite to every pro-am the PGA tour has to offer, or Tiger becoming a Master again… but he certainly has the golf bug and is calling me from America with his tales of birdies and eagles.  And his brothers, Sam and Harry have responded also. Perhaps mindful of their big brother sailing over the horizon career-wise, they are determined this won’t occur also on the golf course also.

And all this playing and talking of golf in the Holland household has forced even Nikki to consider taking up the game herself.

Naturally, she turns to the self-appointed Holland golf coach and guru who happens also to be the most delusional member of the household and least able golfer. We head to the range with a 9 iron and a bucket full of hope. At best, the results are mixed. Too often, nothing is hit. Not even the ground which means that Nikki is missing even our planet. But I insist that this is encouraging.

But she remains undecided and probably doubtful.

“…I don’t know. To see how miserable it’s made you all these years. I’m just not sure if I can make a commitment to something that will create fleeting joy but mostly will be a grinding disappointment…”

and then after a pause and a wry look, she added just a single word.


A great line with perfect delivery – like an 8 iron to a foot. It’s why I love her.

Happy Anniversary for September.

(Assuming we make it, of course)