Playing golf in Wales is not a natural thing to do. For my Saturday morning ball school encounter I look out and it’s too wet, too cold, too foggy, too snowy, too icy and too early.
I suspect I would attend far more Saturday meetings if Wales had the same climate as Qatar – although I suspect there would be Saturdays where I’d complain that it is too hot, too sandy, too dry, too difficult to play out of the bunkers.
So I settle down to watch the golf from the Doha Golf Club feeling guilty, imagining those hearty souls out there wrapped up and moaning – and I do miss it – not actually enough to join them – but I do miss it. There is also the fact that it will now cost me money for not turning up. I feel the shame of not being there – why aren’t I as macho as the others?Perhaps it’s because I’m older than many of them, apart from Keith, or because I’m a softie office worker. Whatever the reason I look out of the window, sigh and get out my daughter’s Tiger Woods Wii game and pretend I’m doing the next best thing. Well at least I’m practicing aren’t I?
The Tiger Woods’ game is getting more and more realistic now. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next version comes out with gloves that make your fingers cold and a magic hat that makes it feel like it’s raining and special glasses that mist up whenever you make your backswing. There may even be headphones included that start talking to you whenever you’re about to hit your putt, or give you unwelcome advice when you hit your tee shot in the trees.I’ve heard in the next version there’s a facility where you need to root around looking for your virtual ball in the virtual rough of all the major golf courses in the world. This would make it truly realistic.
So, perhaps Wales isn’t the best country in the world for golf. It doesn’t seem to be that good for producing world class players. It’s hardly surprising is it? – especially the South Eastern valleys. I blame climatology and topography. Years of cold, stinging, horizontal rain will have had a devastating effect on the swing and the temperament of our top golfers. Centuries of narrow, squeezed river valleys will surely have an adverse effect on their chipping and putting. The parallel Rhymney, Sirhowy and Ebbw rivers with their enclosed cultures, vicious sheep and harsh environments will influence the mentality of the golfers trapped within. There are villages north of Tredegar as remote, as inhospitable, and as dangerous to missionaries as any outlying Amazonian villages. This will surely have an impact on our talented young golfers, their traditions, their dress sense and their approach shots.
It is no surprise that our best golfers get a little confused when faced with beautiful weather, immaculate courses and NO RAIN.