Tommy The Cat – Meanest Man In Cwm


Tommy the Cat saves money with new ‘electric’ trolley system

Last summer the club needed some money. They offered members who had been members 20 years or more a deal –

Annual membership is £600.

The deal they offered was a one off £6000 payment for life long membership. Nothing to pay ever after that.

Tommy the Cat is intrigued. He is 65. He’s not in the best of health, to be fair, with a recent heart op and a gammy leg. Still, it’s something he could easily afford. He is a millionaire with a chain of bakeries in the valleys area and a lot of money in the bank for a variety of ‘projects’.

Tommy decided not to take up the offer.

Me – Why not Tommy?

Tommy – I went to see Dai Doggs, the doctor.

  • Tommy – Dai, tell me straight doc how long do you think I’ll live?
  • Dai – You’ll live for ever you daft, evil bastard.
  • Tommy – Stop pissing around Dai. Tell me seriously, honestly.
  • Dai – Well if I was a betting man I’d say 10 years more or less.
  • Tommy – More or less?
  • Dai – Eh?
  • Tommy – More or less?
  • Dai – Possibly less, I guess

Tommy – So I thought it’s not worth taking the gamble is it?

Tall Tales From Tregethin – 1. Bobby Jones And The Ystrad Mynach Cup


Dai Rees Lounge, Cwm, Wales
“It was the week before the Ystrad Mynach Cup when I met Bobby Jones first. Bobby Jones – the legend, the man. Probably the greatest golfer in, well, in ever. Here in Tregethin was the man that entered twenty majors, won thirteen and lost seven. Here was the winner of three proper Opens , four yankee Opens, and whatever number is left Amateur Championships. And there he was in the flesh, as sure as I’m sitting here, as close as I am to Dai Copy. Bobby Jones walking down Balaclava Terrace like, you know, like a normal person. Bobby Jones the grand slam amateur winner – an amateur! Well – amateurish. But, wow. Bobby ‘the man’ Jones. He won almost everything. Almost everything.”

Doctor Dai Doggs lifted his pint of Guinness and finished the final third in a long, slow gulp. By the time he had wiped his mouth with his cuff there was another in front of him. It had been bought and delivered by a nameless tourist who walked backward slowly back to the other end of the table awaiting the nod of recognition from Dr. D. Never one to disappoint Dr. D. gave the faintest of head bows and resumed.

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Doctor Dai Doggs lifted his pint

“Although he had won everything in golf, he hadn’t won everything in golf. He hadn’t won the big one. The big prize had eluded him, the hufen de la hufen, the ‘Chair’, if you will, the Ystrad Mynach Cup – the Y. M. C. A unique competition. One of the most unique competitions in the world. It was the tournament, quote, they all loved to win. It is still the one. The thing to have on your mantlepiece or your C.V.. The thing to put on your Wiki page alongside your Nobel prizes, your Pulitzer prizes, your Ballon d’Ors, your Christmas number ones. It’s the Y. M. C.. A number of great golfers have won this prize, and a number of great golfers have not won this prize. You won’t see your Ben Hogans or your Sam Sneads or your Ian Woosnams names on the wall. And I’ll tell you why.”

Dr. Dai Doggs half-swivelled in his chair to point at a wooden mahogany board roughly six feet high and twenty foot long attached to the wall containing a list of all the Ystrad Mynach Cup winners. He drank the first third of his new pint.

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Pensioner Dave – a strange name for a strange person

“Look at the early years and you see some sparkling players from the last but one century and right up to the early years of the last century – the ‘roaring twenties’, as they were known in Wales. There were your great names – your Tom Morrises, your Joyce Wethereds, your Laurie Auchterlonies, your Harry Vardens, your Ted Rays, your Glenna Collett-Vares. But… look at the later years – the swinging seventies, early eighties, naughtical nineties and beyond and you see your Tiger Woodses, your Tom Watsonses, your Bradley Dredges, your Michele Wies, your Inbee Parkses,your Anika Sorenstenses. What you won’t see are your Walter Hagenses, your Henry Cottonses, your Babes Didriksonsses or your Nick Faldosis. This magnificent board behind you reads like a who’s who golfing list of stars, it’s fair to call them that, yes stars, who have won the YMC. A list of the greatest and the good. However, in a way it’s only half a story. It doesn’t tell the story of who the best players were for forty years in the middle of the twentieth century. if you look at the list from the thirties through to the seventies – the thirties, forties, fifties and sixties, you see how domineering one name features. Every year bar one from 1930 to 1970 there is just one name to see. A strange name for a strange person – a name that describes him as well as naming him – ‘Pensioner Dave’. A period of total domination. Well, almost total domination…..

If you look closely at the year 1934 you’ll see that the winner has been scratched out. It could be ‘Pensioner Dave’ or it could be any other name. The traditions of this club uphold the vision of this club –  ’peidiwch â throi o gwmpas’ – never look back. Thus there are no amendments to rules, no updating of golf fees in line with inflation and most definitely no reworking of the winners board. There’s been a debate for many years about that Sunday, 15 July 1934. Some say Pensioner Dave won it and got so excited pointing at his five time champion’s name that he eroded the barely dry paint. Some say Bobby Jones won it and Pensioner Dave rubbed it off in a fury. Some say Virginia Van Wie was so excited after she won the playoff with Reg Whitcombe that she gouged the surface of the board with her name on it and kept it as a memento where it took pride of place in her home in Alaska. (The fact that she retired soon afterwards has somehow been seen by some to add credence to the story). Some say potato some say potato. I know however, what really happened in 1935. I saw it. I was young but I was there.”



Saturday Morning Golf School On Tour



It was Sparky’s first year on the Scotland golf tour. Every two years the SMGS (Saturday Morning Golf School) went to Scotland on the Wales v Scotland international weekend and played golf for a week. The group played a number of golf clubs every day in and around Edinburgh and watched the match on Saturday. Sparky was nervous. He’d been playing golf for a few years but had only encountered the electric, intense Saturday Morning Golf School 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 11 others waiting around the first tee pretending to stretch and wake up and have their last cigarette (of the front nine).
Tommy the Cat (has become the self-appointed leader, and official welcomer)
Sparky, as a special honour you get to tee off first.
Very muted applause, some abuse and a general murmur of ‘bandit’.
Here you are I’ll even get Dai Proper to tee it up for you.

Dai Proper duly walks onto the tee and stares into the distance.

Sparky shakily places his ball on the tee and mutters to himself

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 Tommy the Cat.
Tommy the Cat smiles back, then turns Sparky around 180 degrees.

Well done. Now there’s the first fairway.
He points down the fairway, in the opposite direction to Sparky’s tee shot.

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

Introducing Samael Watcher Y.P. -Disciplinary Meeting, ‘The Dai Rees Lounge’, Cwm Golf Club.


Dai Rees – The Legend who had a lounge named after him

Let me put you in the picture. I am sitting on an ex-crimson old chair crushed against the flock wallpaper of the crappy ‘Dai Rees Committee Room’ at poxy Cwm Rhymney Golf Club. It feels like we’re still in the 1940s. I’m feeling uncomfortable wearing a suit and tie and my head is full of words and words. I’ve endured the Chairman’s verbal report, the Secretary’s verbal report and the verbal report of Dai Dogs (Handicap Sec) standing in for the green keeper who was unable to attend due to his hay fever being particularly troublesome at the moment.

But, beyond all this – Beyond. All. This. Iesu Mawr – I am so bored.
Let me tell you precisely where I am. I’m in the aforementioned crappy ‘Dai Rees Committee Room’ of the aforementioned poxy Cwm poxy Golf poxy Club. – a speck of a village the size of a baby ant’s arse in the north edge of the Ebbw valley in the south east quarter of the south-east quarter of the ancient country ( principality if you’re going to split hairs) of Wales.
Why? Because I’m waiting for my turn.

‘Next item – Flags.’ said Tommy.
There was total silence. The seven attendees dropped their seven heads in one synchronised swoon. The speaker was the President. El Presidente. Tommy the President. Tommy the Pres. Tommy the Cat. Tommy the owner of a chain of, brackets three, count them, one, two, three, bread shops in this region of the northern Ebbw Valley. Tommy the impresario, as he liked to be known, or Tommy the wheeling-dealing, money-grabbing, ‘tight as a duck’s arse’ little shit as he is commonly known when out of earshot and gunshot. Tommy the Cat. So named because a long time ago – a long time ago – he was the more than half decent Cwm goalkeeper. Trials with Brithdir, allegedly. Tommy the Cat. Now, a man universally hated and despised in equal measure. A man of whom his closest friend would say to me a few hours from now –
‘It would be easier really to give you a list of the people who wouldn’t want to kill him. And as his best friend I’d certainly put myself on the ‘I’d rather kill him than not’ list.’

Tommy the Cat was discussing flags. Tommy is a bully. Full stop. A Fatty Aruncle lookalike cliché of a man. Fatty Arbuncle nasty twin brother..

I’m sorry. How rude of me. I haven’t introduced myself. The name is Sam, Samael K. Watcher P.I. Or to be truly bilingual as is the fashion slash law these days – Y.P. Ymchwilydd Preifat.

I’m a fully licensed Ymchwilydd Preifat. and have been for a year or so now. I’m a lone fox, unmarried,young, gifted and poor. I don’t do divorce business. I like whiskey and women and golf and a few other things. I’m a native son, born in Cwm, both parents dead, a pain in the arse sister called Seren. Oh, and there was a decade where I have no memory of anything that happened. It happens – but I’m over that now and like I said I am attending a committee meeting at Cwm Rhymney Golf Club. In a non-professional capacity, I hasten to add. I am here under duress. Well, under compulsion really. I was due to attend the disciplinary element of this surreal cabaret but had wandered in early and been wordlessly directed, by Tommy’s eyes, to sit and observe the whole performance at a discrete distance from the main stage in a shoddy, battered, crappy old chair under the frequently unwashed window at the edge of the ‘Dai Rees lounge’.

I heard the word ‘flags’ again, louder, and awoke from my revere. Is it revere? Or reverie? Is that even a word?………………


Adjer Bill


In these dark golfing days of penalising professional golfers for moving their ball 2 cms and ‘trial by video’ and blah blah blah, I remember a time when even cheating used to be simpler..

BERWYN:                     Do you remember that guy from Pontnewydd that used to cheat?

PENSIONER DAVE:     Aye. Adjer.

BERWYN:                     I went to school with him.

ANDY:                           Adjer? Why was he called Adjer.

PENSIONER DAVE:     That was his name. He would always put his marker in front of his ball on the green and behind it when he wanted to putt.

ANDY:                          I don’t understand.


ANDY:                          Ah I see he was adjing nearer the hole every time.

JOHN:                            Is he still playing at Pontnewydd?

PENSIONER DAVE:     No. Dai Snips sorted him out.

JOHN:                           Big Snipsy? The barber?

PENSIONER DAVE:     Unisex hairdresser if you don’t mind.

ANDY:                           How?

PENSIONER DAVE:     How what?

ANDY:                          How did he sort him out?

PENSIONER DAVE:     Well Adjer marked his ball against Snipsy a few times in a match. You know adjing and adjing and Snipsy is getting more and more wound up, you know. On the 16th he loses it. Adjer has cleaned and marked his ball a couple of times, getting nearer and nearer to the hole each time. Then Adjer picks the ball up again and starts cleaning it. He puts it down again and Snipsy looks at him hard. “Well,“ he says, “that’s close enough now for a gimme Adjer. So pick it up. Pick it up, put it in your pocket and if I see you in this club again I’ll stick the ball, your marker and your putter”…. Well he did tell him where he was going to put his putting equipment but I don’t want to upset a nice young man as you Andy. Anyway Adjer never played in Pontnewydd again.

BERWYN:                     He was always an idiot. As Thick as ……

JOHN:                           (INTERUPTING) … Charon’s ferry boat is with phantoms?

BERWYN:                     No. Is was going to say as thick as shit.

ANDY:                           Well what about him?

BERWYN:                     I saw him in Cardiff last Friday.

PENSIONER DAVE:     What was he doing?

BERWYN:                     Same job. Oh but he’s Chief Inspector Adjer now.


Golf Snippets From Mynydd Brawdafad G.C.


“Il fait froid.” I said…. “It is cold” I explained penetratingly.

“Il fait extremely fucking froid” trumped Pensioner Steve.

“Maen o’er!” I added frostily for no sensible reason I could think of.

We were waiting on the wintry, first tee as Dai Proper and Dai Copy (twins) were completing their frozen first nine holes and wandering past us.

“Cold enough for you?”, trited Pensioner Steve

“Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey”, further trited Fred the Bread, icily.

“It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a pool table”, even more numbing tritefulness from Pensioner Steve.

“It’s nobbling. It is.” Said Dai Proper, a man of gelid reserve,  in passing.

“It’s as cold as my mother in law’s love.” I quipped bitterly. Silence.

Dai Copy was very very nobbling. He cough, sneezed and shivered glacially past us complaining to Dai Proper (twin), “The trouble with this club Dai. The trouble with this club is the weather. Everyone moans about it. All of us members moan about it, but nobody ever does a fucking thing about it.”

We looked.We waited for the quartet to glide past us.

“Get on with it.”

We got on with it. We played. We moaned and not one of the committee did a thing about it.

Mynydd Brawdafad Golf Club


David Lloyd George with guests (including original cast members of Pobol Y Cwm and the Likely Lads) at the initial Captain’s drive in ceremony – note club had affiliation with Llanfrechfa fishing club and president on right is carrying the ceremonial rod

Brawdafad is a tough course, in a tough part of the world. The land was bought in early 1921 (year of the acquittal of Harold Greenwood, birth of Dick Francis, 6-5 win for Wales rugby team in Paris) and a few short weeks later was opened. A report from the local newspaper makes fascinating reading;

“At the opening ceremony Captain Mr. P. Dave asked Dr Gwyn T. Bara, Chairman of the club to declare the course open. Dr Bara, their enthusiastic and highly efficient chairman was presented with a wonderful weapon, a golf driver, with which to drive a mighty ball from the first tee (laughter and applause). He thanked the lady and gentlemen of the committee for honouring him by asking him to open the course. He referred to the early beginnings of the club and its uphill struggles and said that were it not for the generosity of a local businessman, Mr. D. S. Snips (snr.) of Aber Annwyd the club would never have reached its present state (enthusiastic applause).

Dr Gwyn T. Bara explained that the situation reminded him of a remark Mr Ramsay Macdonald, the ex-premier made that ‘Golf is to me what his Sabine farm was to the poet Horace – a solace and an inspiration.’ (embarrassed silence). Dr Bara duly took the first hit on the course and hooked it through the clubhouse window.” The first club captain David Lloyd George then took over proceedings and in his own words “It’s time to get the party started”.

Brawdaf and Annwyd Valley Express Monday June 27th 1921

The club was bombed during the Second World War by a rather wayward squadron of German bomber. It was reported after the war that with all the bomb damage the course had never looked better.

It is a mountain course. It is rough and rugged and sheep-lined. It must be pretty much how many early Scottish courses looked. However, not many early Scottish courses were built alongside council estates. There is a scarcity of land at Brawdafad and every inch of the ground is used. It feels like someone has placed a full size snooker table in a small lounge. Each tee seems to be against a fence and at times it seems that you’ve barely enough room to take a full backswing.

The rough is very rough. Pensioner Dave once sliced a drive into the rough off the sixth tee and against all our advice went chasing after it. He disappeared from view for a good few minutes. Feeling slightly anxious we called out to him;

“Pensioner Dave have you found your ball?” we called.
“Not yet,” came the reply, “But I have found a golf bag and a set of clubs.”

Extract from Collection of golf articles – ‘Putting is a Form of Self-Torture’ now available –