Well if you will give putts

It was one of the coldest days I have ever caddied on and we had a good 20 mph wind. Our four Chinese chaps were out on The Castle after having just finished on The Old. They were an energetic bunch but didn’t speak English . Meroee brought out her best and most impressive Cantonese though and the group seemed very happy and up for a game.
One chap unfortunately dropped a wad of 50 pound notes on the first tee which blew off seaward. And I must admit I have never seen caddie Kenny move quite that quick before. Maybe he thought he was saying goodbye to a handsome tip.
Anyway there was obviously a bit of money on this game and my golfer Joe, who’d progressed to communicating with the words ‘ok’ and a rhetorical ‘not in bunka?’, got decidedly hot under the collar after taking 5 putts on the 9th green. He was unhappy about the giving of a short putt to Meroee’s man. There was much animated conversation, gesticulating, measuring, pointing and most serious expressions on all sides. It was resolved quickly and the other three walked away, while Joe kicked his ball into a bunker. An embarrassing silence ensued when I felt impelled to say something, notwithstanding the severe language limitations. I offered a weak ‘it’s ok?’. To which Joe replied loudly and definitively. ‘Not ok!’
And from so few but clear and apt words, I picked up the nuance of Joe’s feelings about the matter.

The Road Hole Hazard

Yes, you might think the hazard on the Road Hole is the iconic bunker by the green. But no, it’s the path between the fairway and The Old Course Hotel. I was cycling there yesterday on my way out to the practice area. It was beautiful in the late morning sun and people packed the beer garden of The Jigger.
As I cycled along I got to the point where I think now this is dangerous, because it is directly on the line for a drive on seventeen that will split the fairway, if you carry the wall at 230 yards. And I swear, just as I was having these thoughts there was a thud and a ball landed 2 yards to my left. It had just cleared the orangerie (the Old Course Hotel will have an orangerie not a conservatory), landed on a 20 yard square piece of lawn in Herbert Kohler’s grounds and then leaped back into play. After thinking that was bloody close, I reflected on what is a most strategic and inspired piece of garden design. Five star Herb.
I’ll bet Mr Armitage Shanks would never have considered that.

ps excuse this post’s somewhat lavatorial humour.

Fun Dutch Foursome

Yvonne, our lovely new lady at front of house up at The Castle was smiling when she saw me coming out of The Shack yesterday and intimated that I had an interesting forecaddying job ahead of me. Two Dutch couples.
The guys had seemingly inquired if the caddie was female to which she had to definitely answer in the negative. Then the women asked if the caddie was good looking to which Yvonne could not answer, as she didn’t know who the allotted caddie was. However, I’m sure she could have made a fairly positive stab at the negative here as well.
Anyway, they were up on the putting green and the last thing Yvonne said was ‘I would like to see their faces when they see you?’ And that comment has somewhat gnawed at me because for my life I’m not sure what she was getting at. That’s not the kind of thing to say to a man at top end mid-life crisis.
So I approached the foursome on the green. Monique came up and introduced herself and then this other lady turned and said very quickly ‘And I’m Annalose’. But whatever was going on in my sub conscious added to by the thick Dutch accent and bearing in mind Vicki’s chat, I honestly thought she said ‘And I’m loose’, to which I was immediately wrong footed and caught between thinking that’s interesting humour and that’s a bit forward. Her serious demeanour however undermined both these suppositions and I was unable to say anything in response. So when Noel introduced himself it was a relief to my temporary perplexed disposition and I was able to reply with an immediate ‘Bon’.
Yorri made up the foursome and they were the most affable, lovely people. Noel’s drive off the first was atrocious and he let out ‘that’s the worst ball I’ve hit all day’ which struck me as a bit odd and I asked what other balls he’d been hitting. We had a real fun round.
They invited me for a drink after but I had to decline and declare that we are not allowed in the clubhouse on workdays, to which Annalose immediately replied ‘that’s pre-historic’. And she has a point.

A backfire ban in Buenos Aires

Had a great fun group of Argentinians over from the oldest club there, San Andres built in 1902, which is named after St Andrews and was designed by Mungo Park from Musselburgh.
Ronnie, a Ronnie Corbett lookalike if there ever was one, with the wry humour to match, was a character and a half. His mates recounted how he was Captain of the prestigious club and was so fed up with people hitting balls through him that he instigated a rule, that anyone committing the said offence would be given a six month ban. He obviously felt strongly about this.
Unfortunately though, Ronnie got a bit of his own medicine ie the six month ban, for driving through a group one sunny day. That’s got to be the best own goal ever.
Fortunately it was after his captaincy term though.

A Chinese Shank

I often go to Edinburgh at this time of year as it’s quiet on the caddying front and I like to breeze around Morningside and Bruntsfield and pop into a little butchers shop, which is a must do for all golf afficiandos or all golf afficiandos who enjoy a hearty dose of Scottish crack and the best steak pie in town.
For Wm Christie and Sons, opposite Montpeliers, is run by the two incredibly cheery, cheeky grinned brothers Angus and Bob who are huge fun and the font of many of my golfing anecdotes. These guys have their noses very close to the ground for the latest gossip on and off the course. I noticed a copy of the obituary of the late eminent Scottish golf writer, Ian Wood, on the wall, and it turns out he was a regular here.
Angus and Bob play their golf down at Dunbar, while also being involved with the marvellous Bruntsfield Links short hole course a few minutes away on the edge of the Meadows. This is said to be ‘one of the oldest sites of golf and pre-dates the seventeenth century’. (So I am taking a stab that this is 16th century stuff). Anyway it’s bang in the centre of Edinburgh, you can pick up clubs for hire at the historic and iconic Golf Tavern and it’s free golf, if not free beer.
Angus was telling me (amongst other things involving a convoluted, but interesting story about Nick Faldo and his wife being taught fly fishing with Dr Love down at Drem!) about a Chinese shank, which turns out not to be a side of pork, but a golf shot and a rather poor golf shot at that. Seemingly, this visitor chap from Shanghai, was playing Duddingston and managed to hit his first tee shot very poorly. In fact so poorly, that the ball was propelled at 90 degrees back through his legs, along the ground (fortunately), and ended up on the adjacent 18th green about 20 feet from the pin. The Club Steward witnessed this and shouted out of the window with seemingly excellent timing, ‘if you hole that you are round in two!’.
Fantastic. Scottish humour. Made from girders.

ps of course our purists will be saying that it should be ‘ears close to the ground’, however I am firmly of the opinion that butchers would rather be keeping their noses there.