We had four very pleasant, elderly Japanese men out yesterday who played reasonable golf but were most unwilling to give each other short putts, making for a very long round. All went swimmingly until a major incident over one chap’s score on the fifteenth.

It started when he was asked what he’d had. He said ‘bogey’. The other three looked most perplexed and then went onto display a fascinating array of serious, thoughtful looking and contorted facial expressions with the conversation going something like this, ‘bogey?’, ‘bogey?’, ‘bogey?’ Then after a short interval and some very rapid fire Japanese, they repeated the word but with a major change in intonation, ‘bogey!’,’bogey!’,’bogey!’. To which our man replied rather reflectively, ‘yes bogey!’.

Another lull in the conversation takes place, as a lifetime character assessment is obviously being put on the line and severely questioned by the three, or indeed they are merely entertaining the possibility that some sake has been at play. There is then an even more energized dialogue in the Japanese tongue, intertwined with a good twenty soundings of the word ‘bogey’ in finely and meaningfully nuanced intonations, that clearly intimates a situation of great disquiet while giving insight into the wonderfully expressive nature of oriental language, indeed the mileage to be had out of a single word.

However, after a few knowing nods and shaking of heads this is all resolved very abruptly and clinically with ‘double bogey!’, ‘ double bogey!’, ‘ double bogey!’ And, even after remonstrations from caddie Frank, this appears to be most conclusive and the poor man gets a seven on his card. I can only think that a critical line in high Japanese culture and honour has been breached, as Frank’s man acquiesces immediately. Peer pressure I think, or indeed maybe the sake has been at play.

This reminds me of an incident at my home course when my brother was marking the card of this individual. Funny enough it was also on the sixteenth tee and my brother asked the chap his score who said ‘five’. He had actually had a six and my brother queried the score to which the man remarkably and unashamedly replied ‘net five’.
For goodness sake, give me some!

inaugural caddie tournament

Twenty caddies from The Castle Course in St Andrews pitched up at Scotscraig yesterday to take part in this unique and historic event. Mr Ralph Coutts did an amazing job in bringing together a score of caddies on a Sunday morning that were in sober, relatively sober and dignified states. Not since the late nineteenth century has anyone deigned to pull off such a major coup d’etat and daring event in the golfing calendar.

Of course it’s early days but as intimated in his shameless, polished and attention grabbing speech, commencing with unforgettable eloquence, ‘Derek, shut the fuck up’, the imposing Mr Gary Porter suggested that there could be some mileage in the event and that we might even get invited back next year. Mind you all said, this was very early doors.

On reflection and as an aside I do think that Tennent’s would not be unwise to sponsor us. It would certainly put the T in the dark.

In fact, what a bloody good name for it!

Out with Old Davey

I was caddying alongside Davey yesterday who has caddied here since 1958. That is before I was born. Well just.
He was telling me about how he doesn’t play much nowadays as his playing partner’s chat had become slightly irksome.

Standing on the first tee the guy would put his arm round Davey and ask ‘what’s new then?’ to which Davey said he always answered ‘Nothing’. On the second tee the chap would again put his arm around and remarkably repeat ‘what’s new then?’. Davey always reiterated the ‘Nothing’ at this juncture but I felt he could have expanded and said he’d had a bogey on the first, or whatever. Incredibly though, this carried onto the third tee at which point Davey has to make it quite clear that there ain’t much new afoot since his aforementioned declarations on the subject.

it’s a small toun

Yes St Andrews is a very small place indeed. For instance, I had just finished caddying at The Castle last week for a lovely couple, Chris and Jeannie from NC, and thought I’d head down for a game myself. So after having quickly consumed a half cold chicken and sherry trifle with Tesco’s extra thick double cream, I grabbed my clubs and bike and headed for the Eden Course. I always cycle by the Jigger beer garden. Yes I cycle by it and of course am not tempted to jump the wall and have a quick pint, because that could be calamitous and not good for soul, body and indeed local tourism.

Anyhow guess who are having a pint in the afternoon sunshine? Chris and Jeannie of course. They are literally having a peruse at my blog and are remarkably, still awake. Behind them is another group with a lady who is smiling and waving at me and it turns out to be our new neighbours, also from the States, who come here each summer.

One of our top guys, Al, was caddying for this beautiful chinese lady last week and he’d seemingly gone home that evening and been qu;zzed by his wife as to who he’d caddied for. I think he’d muttered something like ‘oh, some old chinese lady’ so as not to lay it on too thick, exercise poetic license, protect over sensitive feelings commonly found in the opposite sex, not ruffle feathers, make for a quiet life etc.

However, a couple of nights later in the Dunvegan, he and his wife were at the bar and Al gets a tap on the shoulder and a very warm ‘Alan it’s you!’ from a young and stunningly attractive chinese lady.

Our man has a wee bit of explaining to do.

Idle ramblings and thoughts on world peace

Yes I had this inspirational thought the other day about how to solve the crisis in North Korea. Donald should simply invite Kim Jong-Un across to golf at his resort in Florida. Give him the 5 star treatment, play a good few rounds and get everything sorted out once and for all.

That’s how business works nowadays, so why not world politics too. It would be a lovely environment to help mend the obvious rifts and differing perspectives of the two leaders. Ok there would still be a language barrier but chuck in a couple of translators and nice natured caddies and maybe a rules official or two.

For as we all know a golf course is a great leveller and not the place to hide or harbour prejudices. It’s a huge test and challenge to the human condition if ever there was one. A place for soul searching and bringing one completely down to earth, like a rocket in fact. I dare say if Plato was pitching around he’d be well up for the idea.

However we would have to get some things straight at the outset. You know the obvious issues with Donald’s handicap and the dubiety over the exact number of his club championship wins. We don’t want Kim to think that this is some kind of gross lark, betrayal and stitch up job. No this has to be as true to the bone, untainted and transparent as an FBI investigation. There must be no thought of underlying subterfuge, any mention of Russian involvement or hints at untruths. That would not be cricket and certainly against the spirit of the noble game.

Of course they will have to invite the world press and I would suggest that since they all got so well catered for at this years Masters, they should try and maintain the same level of hospitality for us old hacks. I heard that at Augusta National the foie gras was particularly good, as indeed was the pimento cheese and Crozes Hermitage. Mind you I think the latter has too much of a Russian thing going on in the name so maybe stick to a good old claret. Possibly a 1918.

Talking of Russians, I suppose we could try the same thing out with Vladmir. But not at the same time. A threesome is not a good golf format. Well unless they did a Texas scramble. But no, not in Florida.

I do think old Vladmir would take to the game pretty quickly, especially once he’d got his hands on a Callaway Epic driver, low loft with extra stiff shaft. I mean that is fairly high up the macho, alpha male and testosterone scales. And if some big name pro could further explain the sexiness of swing speed then we could be onto a complete winner.

Mind you we would have to make sure Mr Putin didn’t play bare chested. Well unless the guys at the Royal and Ancient have had thoughts about that sort of thing already that is. They certainly seem to have introduced other weird and wonderful changes to the game in the last few years. But no I can’t see that one. And certainly the Ladies Golf Union are tightening up in that area. Well more on the bottom half to be exact and essentially about not showing too much of it. And I would say that’s marginally short sighted of the old gals as it’s a pretty big reason to go and watch.

So there we have it. Quite simple really. It may clear up the overhanging Russian problem, save the poor North Korean chap a bucket load on trade sanctions and stop the UN getting further upset and all that.

The only real worry with this strategy is if Kim or Vladmir turn out to have a competitive nature and want some sort of match play event, resulting in the potential outcome in which President Trump could lose.

What a complete and utter Mara-la-Go that would be!

Darwin is wrong.

Not Charles of course but Bernard, the celebrated and esteemed turn of the century golf writer. Now he is wrong in his famous statement about us, claiming that ‘caddies as a race possess not a genius for witticism but for brusque and penetrating home truths’.

Now in my experience, caddies are some of the wittiest characters I have ever stumbled across. They are keen eyed and notoriously good fun. They are as homogeneous as a molecule of DNA, as unpredictable as Network Rail and mostly have irascible and biting wit. Well mostly. A few are definitely more subtle and weathered than others. Ok it can be coorse but that’s kind of par for the … I won’t even go there. Sorry.

Take yesterday as a typical example hanging oot in the busy caddie shack. Larger than life Gary is jesting with Cal over his e-cigarette vapour business and teasing about the interesting flavours. ‘Ok what am I out with today then? peanut butter and cinammon with a hint of tutti frutti?’ Many laughs all round. Then Gary, not noticing that our sole female caddie has just arrived, explodes with a ‘fuck me’ to which Meroee, with award winning timing, quickly retorts an impassive and abrupt ‘no thanks’ behind his back.

All credit to Cal, by the way, for the class act of naming one of his vapour flavours ‘peanut butter and friends’. That is just superb. Brilliant marketing, great wit and certainly one to put in your pipe and ruminate over. You can’t buy that.

Well you can actually as Cal is just getting a web site running.

Anyway I went out to have a fun round with Tom, Derek and Ralph. I was being slightly teased over some pretty bad reads on the greens and Derek brought up my wee faux pas last week, when I kind of got in the way of this chaps pitch shot. I asked Ralph if he heard about it to which he said ‘I saw it. I was standing on the 12th tee!’ You just can’t do a thing round here.

Anyway we had a wee jest down the last as Ralph’s man hit a good shot which Derek and I considered was going perilously towards a bunker, but at which Ralph said ‘get up’ to. We teased Ralph and there was obviously some misunderstanding etc. I then said to Ralph ‘where is it?’ which on reflection was a pretty poor question as the ball had gone over a hill. And Ralph retorted with immediate and wonderful timing ‘do you think I’m a fucking drone’

Caddies humour. Made in Scotland, from girders.

Tennent’s back at The Dunvegan

I notice that they’ve at last seen the light in the Dunvegan and got Tennent’s Lager back on tap. I could not understand for one minute minute (ie a very small moment in time) why they took it off. Sheena had mentioned some wishy washy cost issue thing. Cost issue at The Dunvegan! They just bagged over 3 million quid for the place.

Remember, this is Tennent’s Lager that we are talking about. The Dunvegan is reputedly the no 1 golf bar in the world. It’s in the Home of Golf, Scotland. So not having Tennent’s was a shocking faux pas, like trying to pretend we don’t have a monster in Loch Ness, that Irn Bru is not made from girders, that Scotsmen wear something under their kilts.

It’s a national treasure with a capital T. Old Tom’s tonic. A caddie’s tipple of choice.

Now you certainly don’t want to upset them.

ps Old Tom Morris is a regular at the Dunvegan and can be seen of an evening, usually between seven and nine.