On bad teaching, bad fish, new friends and brief reflections on mortality

I don’t think there is anything quite as bad as bad teaching. Yes there are bad quacks, bad lawyers, bad bricklayers, bad doctors, bad politicians and bad accountants. But bad teachers are the worst of all. And a bad golf teacher is a very bad thing indeed.

I am now very much from the look and learn school. Go and watch the best golfers and you will see how to swing a golf club. And I think this goes for other technically complicated disciplines like playing the violin for instance. Indeed skiing as well.

The British Association of Skiing teaching course is a fine example of how not to teach ‘teaching’ and skiing. You can pay up to eight grand to have your head full of the most absolutely atrocious mince. And this will take two years of torture, give rise to serious and unsettling existential states of mind and possibly leave you in permanent mental disequilibrium. In fact the course should really carry a Government health warning.

It’s quite staggering how these guys make money out of trying to make you a ski teacher. And it’s mostly nonsense. However, and most unfortunately, it is being espoused in ski schools throughout the world. You can in reality show someone how to parallel ski in a few hours from scratch, forgetting all about the ridiculous plough turn stuff.

Golf is similar I think. Certainly from my experience. I now get my inspiration from watching a you tube video of a very famous golfer hitting iron shots on the practice area. And that is better than a thousand fifty buck lessons from some hacked up PGA qualified pro.

However it will cost you fifty hundred thousand pounds to know which video and which golfer it is. This is gold dust.

Now, what a fine week I’ve had in St Andrews. I picked up a prize in the St Andrews Club Autumn Competition and met a bunch of lovely guys from Oregon. We had the most sublime game and a fine day out on the Old Course. I started out on fire and got two under after ten. This raised eyebrows from my new Oregon friends who intimated that a digit had been misplaced in my ten handicap. But no. I was soon to show them the integrity of that ten.

The guys were the most wonderful company and good golfers to boot. Tom, Dan, Rick or Huw (Rick has fourteen Sybil dimensions, two were out this week) and Greg. They were hanging out in Rockview and playing a whole load of golf. Huge fun and very genteel, decent blokes.

But I am still agassed at the gross gastronomic ineptitude of most St Andrews’ holstelries. The guys asked for a place to have a half-decent quick lunch. I advised the Dunvegan because I’d heard it was better since the new owners took over. But alas a very definite no. The St Monans fish was tasteless, insubstantial and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t fresh. To relate the name of St Monans to that piece of fish was a gallous and a kniving literary fob off. In fact I would call it a complete cod off.

Further, the chips were poor and my peas few and wildly dull. What a travesty? Mind you, any place which has haggis balls on its menu begs questions of the cooks culinary efficacity. There is certainly no chef in that kitchen and the management should know and do better. This is not rocket science.

But away from this poor fare I am very excited as I’m hitting the ball really well again. The bloke at my Callaway Trackman fitting said I had the swing speed of the average PGA tour pro. However not quite the consistency. There is work to do yet. Even if time is running out.

So life is actually not too bad slumming it away here in St Andrews. I pick up my couple of bags at the Fairmont, breeze around town on my bike, tend the garden, write a bit, golf a bit, hang out in the Uni library, avoid people who talk about independence and the dreaded Brexit, avoid public houses, watch a few horse races, follow the cricket and contemplate the enigma that is the yorker, listen to the Shipping Forecast, try not to tune into Petroc Trelawny and Tom Service, perform regular ablutions, go to Tescos, dream about pipe smoking and living in Slad, consider and reflect on where it all went wrong, have idle thoughts about the benefits of airiness and flouncy-cuff couture, occasionally meet old friends and consider mortality.

Also, I have gone long in purchasing large bags of minstrels from Sainsburys as they’re presently one pound a pop.

For we must all maintain some vices.




A Fine Weekend on The Old Lady (if you get my drift?)

It was the St Andrews Club’s 175th anniversary autumn competition on the Old at the weekend and what fine company and weather we had.

As ever, my first tee shot rather challenged the cars and vans parked up alongside the 18th fairway. It elicited a loud ‘Oh’ from an onlooker behind which did amuse me. And I suppose ‘Oh’ is all you could possibly say about that golf shot and unruly swing.

My final tee shot did no better though. I think it landed somewhere in between the Rusacks Hotel, the St Andrews Club outside patio and a few elderly tourists. However, astonishingly, it also came back into bounds and without being injurious. Maybe the club should consider getting a red flag to raise when I am loitering around this part of the Old, with driver in hand.

I saw old caddie mates, Cologne Tom and Dave Jack, out on the course and had some hearty banter with these stout chaps. It is always nice to see cheery, friendly faces on the links and these two are definitely that. An enormous credit to the St Andrews caddie ranks.

Tom has obviously now read my blog post and nicknaming him ‘Cologne Tom’. I just hope the very favourable words I wrote about him in my HK Golf article (http://www.hkgolfer.com/features/tipping-point) get to his attention.

I have bet Javid as next Conservative leader at 4 to 1. Surely Boris will not get in? We can’t have a Soap Show like America? Please No. We don’t deserve two capacious hot air balloons at either side of the Atlantic. They would just try and out-hairdoo each other for a start and it would be most pitiful to watch. Can you imagine all that tousling, garbling and inane styled floppery?  All the self aggrandizement and sugar coated, vainglorious sycophantic silliness? And listen, I am not just being envious of their hirsute attributes here. No.  I’d much rather be bald and green than the blond bombshell that is Boris the Bold or Trumpy the twittering twit. Rich though they are.

England miraculously defeated India in the first Test at Egdbaston, which caused an upset and more than a few fumbles in the slips. I really must get to Edgbaston one day, as indeed everyone should read ‘England their England’ by AG MacDonell. It was my Dads and Ian Hislops’ favourite book. Most recommended. Excellent wordcraft.

I have never realized how important fielding, and indeed catching, is in cricket. I suppose the parallel in life is having sound friends, a good wife and an understanding bank manager. But let’s not delve too deeply into this.

It’s only a game of cricket.

But, I suppose life is actually.

And I’m just going in for tea.