When the girls were small I used to go out and play nine holes of golf at 6.30am on a Saturday morning so I would be home in time to play with them when they awoke. I enjoyed my golf but investigations regarding the level of natural talent available to me had still yielded no results. Not to worry, I enjoyed the game and the exercise. Many years before , as a small boy, I had lived in a house which still had an air-raid shelter dating from the war. In exploring it I had come across an old set of wood shafted clubs which was the basis of my interest. The clubs seemed fine to my unpractised eye even though the heads were a bit rusty. The canvas bag which held them was a little worn and the strap was broken and hung down sadly from the clasp at the top of the bag like a tail streaming out behind my equipment.
Every time I went out to play a half round I always took a little book to record my scores and watched closely for any signs of improvement. Occasionally a shot came off to keep my hopes alive and I strolled round the course enjoying the early morning air, the views, and dreaming of the day when my shots per hole would start approaching single figures on a regular basis. Normally, at that hour I wouldn’t meet many players but, inevitably, on occasion I would come across another party . One day, as I was playing, I approached a par three hole to see a group of players milling round the tee, smartly dressed and with clubs and bags gleaming in marked contrast to my own. As was the custom in the sport they asked my to “play through” which meant that they would kindly wait, while I took the chance to show my skills off. “That’s very kind of you” I said, as they waved me on.
As I approached the tee I could see them looking at me with increasing surprise, Perhaps the old jacket I was wearing and the sight of the broken strap swinging loosely from the worn canvas bag were to blame and they were having some trouble making any sense of it. Unperturbed, I took an old wooden club from the bag, and after going through some strange antics learned from television got ready to hit the ball. To my surprise, it actually arched up beautifully into the air and landed on the green not far from the hole. This was an unusual event in my game and my surprise was echoed by the ripple of bewilderment running through my audience. I summoned some stillness from within me and turned to address them. “People waste too much money on clubs ” I said and marched off without another comment . .
Once on the green, having left my bag lying on the grass, I surveyed the ball, After a short delay, I “addressed” it and swung the putter crisply towards it. The ball moved off pleasingly in the direction of the hole, unfortunately followed by the head of the putter which, in the heat of the moment, had decided to join in the fun.. I was surprised ,of course, but decided not to show it. I shouted back at my small collection of fans saying “Plenty more clubs in the bag”. Took one out and finished the hole with a nice Par. It was a pleasing moment: record-breaking in fact. As I left ,collecting the putter head on my journey, I smiled at myself and basked in my new-found skill. You can always get another putter but a par achieved in the early morning light is a memory I still treasure.