How I ended up writing for a Hong Kong golf magazine

Yes, I suppose it’s an interesting question of how I got to write a column for HK Golf Monthly. It goes back to me trying to contact an old chum, Simon Yates, from Edinburgh drinking days, who is now a professional on the Asian circuit and has a little pad adjoining the 10th tee of the Black Mountain Golf Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand. No one had any email or number for Simon and I daren’t send a letter addressed to ‘the house next to 10th tee, Black Mountain, Hua Hin’ as the local postie might not just have a sufficient command of English and my Thai language skills are lacking.
So my friend, JP, who works for Wilson Golf covering Asia, kindly gave me Mike Sebastian’s number, who owns the Asian Pacific Golf Mag. I mentioned in passing that I did a bit of writing and he appeared interested and I sent him an article. He didn’t publish my article but I did get Simon’s email. In all this adventure into the Far East and tracking down Simon I came across a rather nicely presented magazine called HK Golf Monthly, and thought I’d fire my article off there. It got published immediately and Charles McLauchlin, the charismatic Glasweigan owner, called me when he was in St Andrews last summer and we put the world to right, as one does, over a few pints in The Dunvegan.
Funny how things work out.

Serious Body Blow

Had a lovely first round of the season at The Castle Course on Saturday. I had the bag of Gary who was a very laid back and genial South African who was accompanied by two fellow countrymen and a nice English chap.
It was almost perfect in fact: the weather, the company, the tip, the chat. Everything, bar a rather unsettling incident on the 5th green.
I was holding the flag for Chris who was a rather large and imposing 40 year oldish chap from Cape Town. He lagged up his monster putt to about 3 feet which I offered to give him in jest. However he marked it and said to Gary ‘your caddie is a nice old man’.
Now this kind of floored me. I know that I hadn’t slept well and was unshaven and that my hair is now white. But ‘old man’? I started having immediate drastic and solemn thoughts like ‘is that it then?’ and ‘it’s a different playing field now’ and ‘oh shit!’.
I then tried to rationalize the situation and thought that perhaps the guy was in the habit of talking Africana’s back home and that maybe his thoughts just turned out very unfortunately on the translation front. But this argument is wearing thin.
Chris I’m 54 and 3/4. I swear. ‘Old man’ Please not quite just yet.

As a wee postscript to this I just read in the papers that they reckon they will have developed an anti-ageing drug within three years. Well I am sorry but that’s a bit too bloody late.

Caddies are trickling back into town

Yes I am spotting more and more old faces. They are pitching up like snowdrops and spring crocuses except few are that pretty. A couple have been seen supping in the Keys, several hanging around Ladbroke’s and even one at a computer in the library. They are all returning from their winter wanderings. Some have been caddying in the States, a few touring out Far East, some lying low in Crail, Cupar, Arbroath and Balmullo, and one or two have been incognito.

My caddie master Matt has been given a full time contract from the Links Trust which is a jolly good show. Because he is a fine, fine fellow.

On meeting Stan

I saw him at the bus stop last week. Church Street about 4.45 pm. We were waiting for the 95 that goes down the coast through the fishing villages to Leven and there was this affable, distinguished looking guy alongside a few others. I just knew it had to be Stan.

The 95 arrived and it seemed that everyone was getting on and Stan courteously let us in front of him and gave a kindly wee smile. I should have said ‘thanks Stan’ but just missed the moment. And I am just wondering what the reaction would have been had I said it. I suppose he may have asked ‘how do you know my name is Stan?’ and I would have said ‘well it has to be ‘ and followed it by ‘I’ve been looking for you for years’. At this point I am sure Stan would have been lost for words at this rather unattractive, bald 55 year caddie bloke coming out with that chat. And I surmise that the conversation would have died pretty promptly. For social anthropologists are a rather cute bunch and he may have thought that I’d rather missed my bus for Stratheden.

Anyhow I have now met Stan. Must tell Eilidh.