It is great when clients come back and you remember them from previous years. I had that the other day when I met Arjen and Ron again, from Amsterdam. Two very good guys who love their golf and are quite taken by their annual trip here for which they make sure they put money aside throughout the winter. They brought along Bob this year who was a dead ringer for Louis Oosthuizen and they made a very fun trio.
I took the bag of Arjen or R as he is known. He is a very big guy and it turns out he used to play baseball for his country and has now got hooked on golf. He is a very enthusiastic and energised bloke and a delight to caddie for. It helps that I am out with two really decent caddies, Tony and Willie and we all have many laughs and much jibing.
R and I seem to be getting a lot of straight putts and by the seventh hole it has become a bit of a joke that I am being non-committal to giving left or right lines and going for a judicial straight. Of course this is highly unlikely on the Castle Course as the greens have more humps and bumps and turns than Boris Johnson. However, it amazingly turns out that R’s putts end up very much on a level plane.
It reminded me of a story told by young caddie Keith who had an up tight Italian playing in the Eden Club World Team Champ last week. He was taking it very seriously and inferred that Keith had given the wrong line to him. His ball missed and he was obviously very irrated by this. He then shouted ‘straight!’ in demonstration to Keith who had rightly given an outside left line. The chap had battered it through the line and the ball had ended up fifteen feet past the hole. Keith felt like saying yes it’s straight if you are going to give it the velocity of an Exocet missile.
But with R it was all great fun and teasing and we all had many laughs with it. I was only slightly concerned on the par 3 seventeenth when R had hit a glorious shot to fifteen feet and was putting for birdie. The putt was nearly straight but not quite. We jested and then I intimated outside the left and walked towards the hole as Bob and Ron were coming onto the green, at which point I just couldn’t resist saying ‘no straight’, at which point they laughed and R, I think, was put in two minds. And of course, he hit it straight and it missed! Luckily R was an excellent guy with a lovely nature and I was forgiven.
Anyway, down the last R hits three very good shots on the long par 5 to about thirty feet. Now to get the sense of this you must realise that the eighteenth green at The Castle is a huge sway of mounds and rises and is not dissimilar to the Himalayas putting green in town. And of course we are all walking up to the green, eyeing his ball in relation to the flag and thinking it can’t be. And yes the ball has incredibly settled in the middle of the only valley on the green and it leads directly up to the pin. There are a few moments of quietude and rising incredulity as I do earnestly declare ‘STRAIGHT’.
Unfortunately, R’s putt this time wasn’t.