remembering Henry Longhurst

As a kid I was besotted with the writings of Henry Longhurst, as then columnist of Golf Illustrated. He was poetic, kind hearted, funny and wrote quite beautifully.

Henry and I share a couple of things in common. We both have Desmond’s in Economics, his Cambridge and mine St Andrews, and we both played on our respective University golf teams.

The only difference is that Henry was a good golfer, playing off scratch for twenty years and winning the German Amateur of all things.

But he also encapsulated something that was very upstanding and very British. Something rather rare nowadays. He was your Sunday afternoon village green cricketer, supping beer in the folds of smiling chestnut trees and laughter and deck-chaired bonhomie. A gentleman.

He was Grantchester and Wootton and Slad all rolled into one. Rupert Brooke and Auden and Laurie Lee I suppose. Except, all sunk into the deep pasture of a beer embraced village green. England there England and all that.

God get me a train!

Anyway enough of nostalgia. Life has been busy here in the Home of Golf. We are well into the season already, the tourists are piling in, the competitions are stacking up, the students are back and I’m an ageing old hack.

The horses have been running like donkeys I’m afraid. Apart from Kemboy who made up for falling at the first in the Gold Cup with an emphatic win in his next time out at Fairyhouse. We are on him at ten to one for next year’s Gold Cup already.

I’m going for Rose and McIlroy in the Masters and will lay Tiger for the cut.

But what about Watford versus Wolverhampton in the semi-finals of the FA Cup? That was the come back of all come-backs. Two ahead with eleven minutes left, the Wolves manager told his players to take the foot off the gas. They did, conceded two goals and then lost in extra time. Ouch.

Managers are my bugbear, of course. For goodness sake, let the guys play football. It’s got far too analytical in my mind. It’s all got a bit ridiculous. I mean when you get a substitution nowadays you have some really official looking guy pointing out stuff on an iPad to the oncoming player. I mean what on earth is that all about? Is he just going through rudimentaries like showing the player where the goalposts are located and reminding him that the idea is to get the ball into the other teams net? That’s what it looks like. And it sure looks like the oncoming player is not listening.

Ok now to politics…..

That’s enough of politics.

Leftbank is motoring ahead and we should have the new shopfront in this week. The furniture is on the way, as is the first barrel of Dark Star, by all accounts. That will surely have to be tasted. Quality control is immensely important.

My swing tip for the week is balance. I’m very much rolling along with this one and took it down to the new practice area yesterday. It;s working well.

I like it because it fits my new life philosophy and is what underpinned Sam Sneads lovely, elegant swing. It indeed also has resonance with Dai Rees’s eloquence.

And you may well be wondering how I know?

Because dear Henry Longhurst told me so.




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