Golfers say the funniest things

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“In no other sport does the nature of the contest allow the players to be so free of jealousy and enmity, so willing to help and support each other and be so sincere in their acceptance of each other’s success.– Jack Nicklaus

“Golf is a game, not a sport” – Larry Ramirez

“To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.”- PG Wodehouse

“Golf has made me and shaped me into the person I am here today.” – Tiger Woods

“Golf is a spiritual game. It’s like Zen. You have to let your mind take over.” - Amy Alcott

“The main idea in golf as in life, I suppose is to learn to accept what cannot be altered and to keep on doing one’s own reasoned and resolute best whether the prospect be bleak or rosy.” – Bobby Jones

“Eighteen holes of match or medal play will teach you more about your foe than will 18 years of dealing with him across a desk” – Grantland Rice

“Yes, I did talk to my players, but my vice captains were very instrumental in making decisions.” – Tom Watson

“What other people find in poetry or art museums l, I find in the flight of a good drive.” – Arnold Palmer

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“What would Tom do?”

Kicking Racism Out of golf ( eventually)

Kicking Racism Out of golf (eventually)

Waiting on the 2nd tee the discussion invariably was of the Open. In essence the argument was on who’s camp you were in. It was not Tiger v Phil Mickelson, but rather Phil Mickelson v Tom Watson. It was agreed (by some) that Tom Watson was ‘a real gentleman’ whereas Phil Mickleson was a bit arrogant, cocky and fundamentally too ‘smiley’.
“He doesn’t look like he suffers enough” said someone.

It became a theme of the round after that “What would Tom do?”. It seemed to have a profound effect as in the round we let a junior 2 ball though and waited for a green to clear before we drove off. Ah, the power of Tom.

This prompted me to do a little research on Tom. I had read that he had done at least one good thing in Kansas City so I looked for more tales. For people who don’t know Tom Watson had resigned from the ‘ultra-restrictive’ Kansas City Country Club to protest the club’s blackballing of Jewish tax-preparation tycoon Henry Bloch. Although Watson is not Jewish, his wife, Linda, and their two children are. Watson was quoted as saying that his conscience had forced him to resign “out of respect for my family—my wife, my children and myself.”

Well done Tom.

Then I read that Tom had been a member of this Country Club that had secret membership that seemed to be discriminatory for many, many years. So, why did Tom wait until a Jewish millionaire friend was rejected before he spoke out?

I looked for more Country Clubs Tom had resigned from or criticised because of perceived racist or religious discrimination. I was disappointed.  I read that earlier Tom had said that people should “chill out” and that private clubs had the right to choose their members.

I found other reports of Tom and controversy though. Apparently at the 1993 Ryder Cup pre-match dinner Sam Torrance picked up a programme and in a gesture of camaraderie walked over to ask Tom Watson for his autograph. Tom refused. He said that he didn’t want his players bothered by autograph hunters.

This seems as childish as the report of the 1969 Ryder Cup captain Eric Brown telling his players not to look for American balls in the rough.

He doesn’t seem to be popular with everyone; Los Angeles Times columnist Larry Stewart called Watson a “backstabber,” while Jonathan Rand of the hometown Kansas City Star settled for “stuffed shirt.”

Watson criticised Bill Murray for inappropriate antics in a charity Pro-Am.

He managed to get Gary McCord the sack for on-air quips by sending a handwritten demand to CBS director and producer Frank Chirkinian to “get rid of him, now.”

In a positive article John Garrity describes him;  “Watson always seeks the middle ground. He likes Rush Limbaugh……….”

Tom said of Tiger Woods, “I feel that he has not carried the same stature as other great players like Jack Nickolas, Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson or the Hogans, in the sense that there was language and club throwing on the golf course. You can grant that of a young person that has not been out here for awhile. But I think he needs to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that other people before him have shown.”

Tom Watson is a real old-fashioned, 18th century gentleman. He is a man from a different age. A man with real Victorian values. It’s no wonder he’s so popular with so many golf club members around the world – including Bargoed.

Mr Happy – not if he came to Bargoed

Phil Mickelson on the other hand is young and wore a bleeper during the 1999 U.S. Open when his wife Amy was expecting the couple’s first child (“Wouldn’t be allowed in Bargoed”)

In an article on Mickelson ArtSpander says “It bothers some that Mickelson plays without a scowl, waving at the fans who yell his name, eating up the approval…..Phil is outwardly gracious when asked about Tiger’s success, affirming him as the world No. 1. He’s agreed that, in the previous five months, with Woods not around, golf was poorer in his absence.

His personality is pretty well summed up in ‘Shanghai’s Oriental Morning Post ‘:
“Without a doubt Mickelson is the most approachable star at Sheshan. When he hits a good shot he rewards fans’ applause by smiling or tipping his cap. When he goes through the crowd, if you put out your hand he’ll even give a ‘high-five.’ (“Wouldn’t happen in Bargoed”)

* first published 17/7/2010

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“Why don’t you relax and take up golf?”

angry

“Moderate exercise, such as playing a round of golf, may help protect people against future anxiety and stress.”  – a study by the University of Maryland

“Relax and have a game of golf,” people say. They could just as well say “I hear that your uncle’s been eaten by a tiger. Why don’t you take your mind off it and take a trip to the zoo?”

There should only be tips about reducing your stress whilst playing golf, not assuming that the very act of playing golf will somehow automatically reduce your stress. It is nonsense. Luckily, I’ve carried out a little research and have examined the top tips for reducing stress and tried to apply them to golf;

Tip 1. A good way to reduce your stress levels is to set yourself realistic targets

Sounds like a good idea. In principle I would be delighted to shoot a few shots under my handicap each time I play. However, when I’m playing the stroke index 3 par 5 and I’ve hit a glorious drive leaving me 200 yards from the green it would take the combined strength of Samson, Hercules and She-Ra to get the 3 wood out of my hand and make me hit me a mid-iron. The overwhelming majority of golfers play golf because of those rare, rare moments when they hit a shot as good as a Rory McIlroy or a Bradley Dredge. Most of us know that a 7 iron, wedge and 2 putts will give us lots of stableford points but that really isn’t the game is it? There are those amongst us that calculate the chances of success at each shot and play the percentages. These people often win tournaments and are ‘good clubmen’ (they will be men). However, they are solid, sad, unloved, boring. Their only aspiration in life is to be in the top 10 % best handicap secretaries in the South Wales region (South East valleys area).

Tip 2. When you have completed a task take a few minutes to pause and reflect before you start a new one.

It seems that many golfers are already doing this judging by the amount of time it takes 4 people to walk 10 yards to a tee and hit a ball in the general direction of the next green.

Tip 3. Address problems as they occur. Don’t let them build up.

Let your stress out as you go along – If you miss a putt … let it out. If you top a tee shot… let it out. Don’t save it all up and go home and kick the cat. Sometimes you can take this too far; I once saw someone on the 7th par 3 at Dewstow. He was having a bad, bad day after a number of bad, bad weeks and after topping 3 titleists into the pond he followed this us by sending his bag and golf clubs after them. He stormed across the course toward the clubhouse. He had only stormed about 100 yards before he turned back and walked sheepishly back to the pond. He walked right past us and into the water. He waded towards his bag where he pulled out his golf bag. he unzipped the pocket and brought out his car keys.

This aspect of letting go of  your emotions doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem for golfers at Bargoed Golf Club. I know what the groups 3 holes in front of me are doing every shot of their round.

Tip 4: Stay in the ‘here and now’

OK this sounds very another lot of pschological twaddle but I really like it. If I were calling myself a consultant psychological sports guru and charged you £2,000 per day you’d listen to me if I told you this. It really means hit one shot at a time. Often we’re hitting a shot and worrying about the putt, or the next tee shot, or the winners speech. When I was very new at the game a pal of mine who was also new, and quite a good player was always wide on par 3s. He eventually told me that he was worried about getting a hole in one and having to buy everyone a drink as he was invariably skint. So – hit the ball. Find it. Hit the ball. Find it…..

Tip 5: Avoid all drugs including tobacco and alcohol

Oh please….

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The picture non-golfers have of golfers

old_time_golf

The picture most non-golfers have of golf is odd.

They believe that golf is a Victorian game of etiquette, politeness, civility and manners;
“After you.”
“No after you. Please. You go if you’re ready.”
“Well only if you’re sure.”
“Oh I insist.”
“Charmed I’m sure.”

They believe that golfers are the most polite people in the world. They are incredibly patient and especially helpful to newcomers. Golfers will  spend an entire round standing behind a new 28 (with a star) handicapper watching closely to determine which side of the fairway to begin the search. We’ll do this without a thought of resentment.

They believe that golf is an unusual game where winning isn’t everything. It’s a game where ,they have read, someone gave up the prize of a new car in order to retain their amateur status. They believe all golfers would do this. It’s a game where players call fouls on themselves. It’s the only game where you form a queue, wait your turn and smile.

This is not entirely true 100% of the time.

Some golfers are human. Some cheat – yes you heard it here first. Some golfers lie, complain, moan, grumble, curse and fight. They have their own agendas and will look to get away with things if they can.

I feel guilty now. I feel like the child in school who told you there was no father Christmas and your parents were, basically, lying to you. I’m sorry.

 Golf is a game. Like all games it’s a test of character and there will be times when you will be tested. I know that but please.. some sort of reality check. If golf is played by such a wonderful divine bunch of angels why are there so many rules?

I do love the game but can’t really buy in to this sacramental vision of it though, as you may have gathered. People who play golf are frequently humans and as such are a bit like us – they have that fatal flaw – they are human. Golf has far fewer problems than many other sports – this is true. The amount of cheating and bad behaviour that goes on in golf is infinitely less than most other sports.

I have played with people who cheat – and heard about golfers who cheat. So, why are there less cheats at golf than at football?

I don’t believe it’s because it’s generally played by people with more money.
I don’t feel it’s because it is still an elitist sport in many places.
I think it makes a difference that it is a game that can be by people of all ages and abilities.
I also think that the way people are introduced to the game helps a great deal;
The game of football tends to be picked up as a child as you grow up playing against peers. The values are the values of your group – in most cases groups define their own rules, their own standards. As a child playing football it was acceptable, even expected, to shout and argue for throw ins, free kicks etc.. It’s what you do. In our version of football tough tackling was the norm and sending off’s were non existent.
In golf people tend to be taught one at a time. They are indoctrinated into the game through the mores and values of the group. Generally a group of established golfers who were inevitably introduced individually by a group of similar individuals. The values are handed down and generally these standards involve no cheating. Added to this the stigma of being caught cheating can be incredibly devastating. But hey let’s not be silly about it, Jack;

“In no other sport does the nature of the contest allow the players to be so free of jealousy and enmity, so willing to help and support each other and be so sincere in their acceptance of each other’s success.” – Golf and Life – Jack Nicklaus

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Golf Philosophy : Lesson 1. Looking Good or Getting the Job Done ?

lookingnotgood

Lesson 1. Looking Good or Getting the Job Done ?

There’s a concept I’ve recently come across in the training room that helps to explain a fair amount of my inability to break 80 with any regularity (I’m currently playing off 18). I learnt this pearl of wisdom attending on a training course run by a psychologist. He was talking to us (a group of trainers, consultants, personnel folk) about management, and more specifically the relationship managers have with staff, customers, etc… In his words (and Freud’s) “It’s all about relationships”. He discussed how the quality of the relationship you have with a client is a measure of the effectiveness with which you do business with them. Which is interesting enough. The particularly relevant aspect to this for me (and my consistency in golf – remember the golf) was the question he asked us about our relationship with our clients;

“What are you committed to? Are you committed to looking good or are you committed to getting the job done?” For me this translates as “Why do I choose a pitching wedge from 3 feet off the green rather than use a putter?” I know a putter will get me closer on 8 out of 10 occasions yet somehow it doesn’t feel right. I feel that I should use a wedge. There’s a pressure on me, a macho, male thing about having to copy the professionals. I can see it in the faces of all my playing partners – they all feel the same. They’d rather lose a hole going for that ‘tiny gap between the trees and fading it around the corner’ shot than adopt the sensible ‘just chip it back on the fairway’ route. Now I know (I’ve come to terms with this at least) that I’m never going to win the Open. I also know that I get a great deal of pleasure by shooting a low score and lowering my handicap. Yet I still can’t quite get that putter out. It’s the same on some tees. I’ll automatically reach for a driver when all the logic in my head is screaming “3 iron! 3 iron!”.

So having attending the training course next time I’m on the edge of a par 5 in 2 I’m going to reach for a putter, lag it up and tap in for a birdie……. well, maybe as long as none of my regular playing partners are watching.

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Golf, Luck, Karma, Dancing and Thinking

183You make your way through the heather and mistletoe onto the 18th tee. It’s an enchanting, but daunting par three. You ease your way through the rowan bushes, hazel and willow trees to get a panoramic view of the whole arcane course from this elevated promontory. You smell the rosemary and cinnamon as the sun starts to fade on what has been a perfect autumn afternoon. Below you the horseshoe lake in front of the green glimmers as the setting suns rays play across the surface. The crickets chirp languidly as you shield your eyes to gaze down onto the crisp emerald putting surface and see a circle of your golfing fraternity performing the ‘lining up of the putt’ ceremony.

They alternate, criss-crossing the viridescent dance floor in a succession of ritualistic choreographed patterns handed down from generation to generation. It’s like watching some ancient gavotte or floral dance as they take their turns with their putters, bow to the flag and move slowly, gracefully around the green stepping nimbly over invisible lines. Slowly they reach the climax of the ceremony and you faintly hear a set of orchestrated incantations and hexes; “eyes over the ball”, “eyes over the ball”, “accelerate the clubhead”, “accelerate the clubhead”, “never up, never in”, “never up, never in”.

As the gentle breeze carries the last cry of the congregation into the light of the waiting clubhouse you make a mistake; you start to think.

You’ve had a decent round and you know you really should be enjoying this. Your swing’s been excellent for the seventeen holes so far. You’ve putting solidly all afternoon up to this point. So, why is it then that all you can think about is the passage in ‘The Right Stuff’ where Alan Shephard is waiting for lift off on the Apollo moon mission. He’s not thinking about the excitement, or even the danger of 7.5 million tons of thrust being generated beneath him. All he’s thinking as he lies waiting for lift off is “Please, Dear God, don’t let me mess this up. Please, Dear God, don’t let me mess this up.” (I paraphrase).

You take a deep breath and repeat this mantra to Jesus, Mary, Buddha, Parsvanatha, Tyche, Hectate, Dagda, Ganesh, Confucious, Allah and your Guardian Angel. There are two scenarios playing in your mind. In the first scenario you hit your 6 iron a mile in the air and it drops like a stone eight feet past the flag, bounces once and spins back to crawls slowly down the green inching toward the flag. It seems to be going in but suddenly stops. “Bad luck” you hear. In the second scenario you clear the pond by an inch. It bounces forward onto the green then spins back slowly, slowly into the enticing, alluring, watery hell. “Oh bad luck” you still hear.

But it’s not really bad luck, is it? Many would argue that it’s karma. This would teach that similar actions will lead to similar results; Buddhists would say, “Good actions lead to happy states”; Wiccans would tell you, “The harm you do returns to you threefold”; The Beatles would sing, “The love you make is equal to the love you take”; Confusians would pronounce, “What you do not want done to you, do not do to others.”; and many Christians would chip in (excuse the pun) with “What goes around, comes around”.

One of the few people who would disagree with this assessment would be Richard Dawkins. Richard Dawkins is not a big fan of luck, or God for that matter. He’s the ultimate “You make your own luck in this world“type of guy. Richard, should he be on the eighteenth tee with you would encourage you to spend less time praying to Fudo, Fortuna, Bastet and Saint Andrew, and more time considering the club/ball interaction where the energy of the club is transferred to the ball by the mass of the clubhead + the velocity (speed + direction) of the swing and the ball’s flight through the air in terms of the angle of the shot (taking into account the air pressure as it leaves the club (not forgetting, hopefully, the resultant change in pressure (and temperature)) and travels over land, water and land again before gently dropping on the putting surface).

Now you hear the voices of the modern days gurus, “Stay in the zone”, “Visualise”, “Take one shot at a time”, “Stay in the moment”, “Be of the game not in the game”. Oh no this is getting confusing. Stop. Relax. Breathe. Be positive. Calm. Seek Nirvana.

You breathe. You place the ball on the tee peg and step back. You pick up some grass and throw it into the air, yet have no idea where it comes down. You’re operating on automatic now. You take a few perfect practice swings touch the lucky rabbit’s foot in your pocket and step forward to take the shot.

The next thing you know it’s on the green, three feet from the hole. You have no idea how it got there. Your mind has been a total blank. Tiger Woods could have stepped up to you, taken your club, hit the ball and walked away and you would not have known. In fact you wouldn’t really care. All you can see now is your ball on the green.

After your partners have hit you walk nonchalantly down the path trying to pretend that you do this sort of thing every day. As you step onto the green and repair your pitch mark you notice that the putt’s a little downhill, and instead of three feet it’s grown to six feet. You make a mistake. You start to think.

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Real Rules for Real Golfers

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There is very little written down about how golfers should really conduct themselves on a golf course, which seems strange. There are books, dvds, computer games on all other aspects of golf – swinging the club, chipping from 76 yards, putting from 12.7 yards on a North West facing slope, playing out of bunkers containing a particular sand mix,etc.

There are even a number of books on that most bizarre of topics; golf etiquette – with hundreds of things to do or not to do –

don’t fire a gun on your opponents backswing,

shake hands even though it’s killing you inside,

say ‘good shot’ when your opponent’s duffed a chip and bounced backward from a rake to within 2 feet.

Yet nothing apart from the most inane “keep up with the group in front”, on how you actually conduct yourself on the golf course to avoid slow play……… until now…..

Real rules for real golfers …

Rule 1 – Turn up on time, ie turn up 25 minutes early. You need this time to…

a) put your ball on the first tee … to indicate you’re next in the queue

b) get ALL your stuff out of the car… trolley, bag, clubs, tees, pencil….

c) put bag on trolley

d) mess about with trolley battery

e) get tees from bottom of bag (remind yourself to put tees in better place after round today)

f) get least crinkled, driest ‘monkey’s paw’ glove from bottom of bag (remind yourself ………..)

g) saunter confidentially to first tee

h) go back to the car to get your pitchmark repairer

i) walk back to first tee more briskly

j) go back to the car when your mobile phone rings embarrassing you

k) creep back to first tee

l) verbally abuse group in front of you with traditional taunts about not being shy about calling you through when they’ve lost 2 holes

m) prepare and practice – take 3 practice swings and put club back in bag

n) put down mental markers with your playing partners – “I haven’t touched a club for 3 weeks”, “my back’s been playing up”, “My handicap’s down to 19 but I’m nowhere near that”

o) go back to car for golf shoes

p) sprint back from car running verbal abuse gauntlet of jibes from other golfers as your playing partners tee off

q) slice first drive into trees

As the round starts;

It’s slightly misleading of me to say that it will take 2 hours for a round as this is for 1 person. For a group of 4 I guess it will take 8 hours – Well sometimes it feels like that. There is a major, major internal mindshift golfers need to take here – Playing golf involves parallel process, not a serial process. You play golf at the same time as your playing partners – not after your partners.

OK, OK I know what you’re saying but basically I’m correct. As your partners are playing their shots – you should be preparing – pause long enough, of course, to watch where they hit it and praise / heckle /commiserate accordingly but it really should take nearer to 2 hours to play than 8 – shouldn’t it?

You play golf on your own – in a way – what your partners do shouldn’t often affect you – so you need to focus on your own game and conduct and be a little selfish.

Tips for being a little selfish

a) look for your own ball at the same time as others look for theirs. Don’t react like a bunch of 5 year olds playing football and swarm around each ball in turn.

b) prepare your shot even if you are about the same distance from the hole. Of course the furthest-away person hits first but you should then be ready to hit – especially if you are wider than your partners – it should be practically instantaneous

c) line up putts at the same time as your partners – unless you’re a professional and earn your living doing this – if you are putting to win the Ryder Cup then perhaps I’ll allow a little more latitude. If there’s a silence on the green and people are looking at you and you say “On me?” you deserve to have your ball stood on the next time your opponent passes it in the rough.

Positioning on the golf course, or course management as it’s often called, is vital to the game of golf. By this I don’t mean that nonsense of getting the ball on the correct side of the fairway or leaving an uphill putt – unless you’re off scratch I believe hitting a fairway or leaving yourself a putt are as much as you could dream of.

Tips on positioning /green play and generalities

a) put your bag in a sensible position. It should be placed on the edge of the green in the direction nearest the point where you leave the green to advance to the next tee. No-one preparing their approach shot wants to see the situation on the green ahead where a golfer puts the flag in then does a funny run and apologetic wave as he (and it will be a he) moves to the front of the green then has to pull his trolley around the green to catch up with his sensible playing partners.

b) if you’re lucky enough to be the first in your group to hole your putt first grab the flag and be quiet. Do not offer advise on the speed, slope, wetness, firmness of the green as others try to concentrate.

c) mark your card on the next tee – do not EVER, EVER, EVER stand on the green looking down the fairway pointing at various invisible marks mouthing 1… 2… 3… 4 … etc.. then take your card out of a back pocket, extract a pencil from your bag, shout to your partner “How many for you?” and carefully mark the card. In this circumstance for the group behind it should be allowed, no not allowed, it should be mandatory to hit to your green and anyone hitting you should not have to count that shot.

d) stop talking and prepare to take your your shot.

e) stop talking and prepare to take your shot.

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Random Golfing Conversations – Albert

Albert and playing partner contemplating going out for the first doubles match of the Winter

EXT.   COLD AUTUMN WEDNESDAY, MYNYDD BRAWDAFAD GOLF CLUB

2 forlorn figures standing on the 132 yard, par 3, 13th.

Albert, a youngster of 48 takes out a 5 iron and swings it ferociously throughout the conversation. There is no wind.
Barry, a 52 year old writer looks on amazed.

BARRY
You know this is only 132 yards?

ALBERT
I do.

BARRY
You know you hit that 5 iron 160 yards on the last hole?

ALBERT
I do.

BARRY
So. Why?

ALBERT
I don’t want to take any chances.

BARRY
Take any chances on what?

ALBERT
On getting it into the hole.

BARRY
But that’s the point, isn’t it?

ALBERT
I never aim at the hole on par 3s on Wednesdays

BARRY
Why?

ALBERT
In case I get a hole in 1

BARRY
?

ALBERT
I don’t want to buy a round

BARRY
It’s Wednesday afternoon. By the time we get into the club there’ll only by 3 people there, including us

ALBERT
I know but Jimmy Pies will be there

BARRY
So

ALBERT
I’m not buying him a drink

BARRY
So you’d rather take 3 more clubs than you need on a hole you’ve never managed to get within 5 feet of in your life because there’s a bloke who may be in the club when you get back you won’t buy a drink for?

ALBERT
Correct

Albert smiles as his tee shot lands 20 yards behind the pin.

*****

EXT.   COLD WINTER THURSDAY, CRIEFF GOLF CLUB.

It was Albert’s first year on the Scotland golf tour. Every 2 years the SMGS went to Scotland on the Wales v Scotland international weekend and played golf for a week, They played a number of golf clubs every day in and around Edinburgh and watched the match on Saturday. Albert was nervous. He’d been playing golf for a few years but had only encountered the electric, intense Saturday Morning Golf Society atmosphere on a few occasions and knew very few people in the group.

It was the first tee at a nameless, but tough and windy proper links course. There were 12 waiting around the first tee pretending to stretch and wake up and have their last cigarette (of the front nine).
Dev (has become the self appointed leader, and welcomer)

DEV
Albert. As a special honour you get to tee off first

Very muted applause, some abuse and a general murmur of ‘bandit’.

DEV
Here you are I’ll even put your tee in the ground for you and line you up. It’s tradition

Albert walks onto the tee and stares into the distance. He shakily places his ball on the tee and mutters to himself

ALBERT
Slow swing…slow swing

His bottom is going like a trout’s mouth as he lifts the club and hits it, not great but straight and quite long. He smiles at Dev.

Dev smiles back, turns Albert around 180 degrees

DEV
Well done. Now there’s the first fairway

He points down the fairway, in the opposite direction to Albert’s tee shot,

DEV
I suggest you wander back to your ball and see if you can hit a couple of 5 irons back in this direction

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Random Golf Conversations – Albert

Albert and playing partner contemplating going out for the first doubles match of the Winter

EXT.   COLD AUTUMN WEDNESDAY, MYNYDD BRAWDAFAD GOLF CLUB

2 forlorn figures standing on the 132 yard, par 3, 13th.

Albert, a youngster of 48 takes out a 5 iron and swings it ferociously throughout the conversation. There is no wind.
Barry, a 52 year old writer looks on amazed.

BARRY
You know this is only 132 yards?

ALBERT
I do.

BARRY
You know you hit that 5 iron 160 yards on the last hole?

ALBERT
I do.

BARRY
So. Why?

ALBERT
I don’t want to take any chances.

BARRY
Take any chances on what?

ALBERT
On getting it into the hole.

BARRY
But that’s the point, isn’t it?

ALBERT
I never aim at the hole on par 3s on Wednesdays

BARRY
Why?

ALBERT
In case I get a hole in 1

BARRY
?

ALBERT
I don’t want to buy a round

BARRY
It’s Wednesday afternoon. By the time we get into the club there’ll only by 3 people there, including us

ALBERT
I know but Jimmy Pies will be there

BARRY
So

ALBERT
I’m not buying him a drink

BARRY
So you’d rather take 3 more clubs than you need on a hole you’ve never managed to get within 5 feet of in your life because there’s a bloke who may be in the club when you get back you won’t buy a drink for?

ALBERT
Correct

Albert smiles as his tee shot lands 20 yards behind the pin.

*****

EXT.   COLD WINTER THURSDAY, CRIEFF GOLF CLUB.

It was Albert’s first year on the Scotland golf tour. Every 2 years the SMGS went to Scotland on the Wales v Scotland international weekend and played golf for a week, They played a number of golf clubs every day in and around Edinburgh and watched the match on Saturday. Albert was nervous. He’d been playing golf for a few years but had only encountered the electric, intense Saturday Morning Golf Society atmosphere on a few occasions and knew very few people in the group.

It was the first tee at a nameless, but tough and windy proper links course. There were 12 waiting around the first tee pretending to stretch and wake up and have their last cigarette (of the front nine).
Dev (has become the self appointed leader, and welcomer)

DEV
Albert. As a special honour you get to tee off first

Very muted applause, some abuse and a general murmur of ‘bandit’.

DEV
Here you are I’ll even put your tee in the ground for you and line you up. It’s tradition

Albert walks onto the tee and stares into the distance. He shakily places his ball on the tee and mutters to himself

ALBERT
Slow swing…slow swing

His bottom is going like a trout’s mouth as he lifts the club and hits it, not great but straight and quite long. He smiles at Dev.

Dev smiles back, turns Albert around 180 degrees

DEV
Well done. Now there’s the first fairway

He points down the fairway, in the opposite direction to Albert’s tee shot,

DEV
I suggest you wander back to your ball and see if you can hit a couple of 5 irons back in this direction

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It Must Be Good News Being An Introvert And A Writer? Mustn’t It?

introvert

The discussion below is very general. I know. It is stereotyping. I know. It doesn’t apply to everyone. I know that. It definitely does not apply to everyone who reads this. I know. The person who reads this is a complicated and multi-faceted, elaborate creature made up of an infinite and indefinable sets of higher functions that could not possibly be quantified. I know. You are special. I know. You are unique. I know. Just like everyone else you are unique.

The classic classification for a writer using the Myers-Briggs type Indicator is an INFP – which translates as an Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling and Perceiving person. In blunt terms a shy, caring, intuitive type who loves to spend time on their own. Very, very blunt terms.

Focusing on the Introvert / Extrovert aspect seems the most useful for this particular discussion. This aspect of Myers Briggs assessment (there are millions of articles out there if you need a fuller explanation) is concerned with how you get energy and recharge your batteries. Do you energise yourself internally (introvert) or externally (extroverts).  In practical terms – after a long, hard, draining week how would you ideally choose to recharge your batteries in an ideal world. This is a world without the constraints on kids, money, relationships. In a purely selfish scenario how would you choose – Would you ideally go out clubbing, dancing, discoing or whatever you youngsters do these days – raving, garaging? Or would have a have a quiet night in – relaxing, chillaxing? Unsurprising if you choose the relaxing aspect this indicates you have more of an introvert tendency. So, what are you?

As I mentioned before the majority of writers tend to fall into this introvert camp.  This sounds about right to me. Introvertion would be quite handy for the writing process. Being stuck in a room for hours on end would, I suspect, not really be the chosen pastime of most extroverts.

However, writers, certainly modern writers need more skills than just writing.

“Once the writing has finished the work begins.”

We need to sell. This is typical a job for an extrovert, not an introvert. However, it’s a necessity unless you have the skill of J D Salinger. You have to do it –it’s your job. Okay nowadays we can hide behind a laptop and tweet and write and pretend that we are extrovert. That’s quite nice isn’t it? But can we fake being an extrovert in real life? Tough.

I have found some tips for us -

  1. Let it out.  I’m not too sure what you should let out but do it. Let it out. Let your shy personality – honed and fine–tuned by years and years of repression and disappointment – out.
  2. Walk on the wild side. Go crazy. Get into a bar-room fight. Dance on the tables.
  3. Be impulsive. If a wild day for you is one in which you change your tea towel then this is what you need. Be rash. Quit your job. Book a flight to Istanbul and just go.
  4. Join a club. Not too sure about this one. There are so many diverse, dodgy clubs out there. In my local newspaper there are invites for book reading clubs, friends of the theatre clubs, photography clubs. It seems a little dodgy to me. I’m pretty sure they are all covers for wife-swapping clubs. But, hey that should increase your extraversion score.

So, you need to do all of these activities and become a (pretend) activist – don’t forget you’ve still got to write. It’s only a job and the job requires different skills, like building walls or driving a bus. Learn these new skills. Who knows you may even like it.

You can read the opening chapter of ‘Mynydd Eimon: Private Hell’ here, or you can get the book on Amazon and Kindle here

 

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