Home' Golf Plus : Golf Plus Issue 25 Contents sam’s soapbox
make nine after double-hitting a bunker shot
when Coach told you to imagine you were
flipping pancakes out of a pan. As you shake
hands on the last green, you’re a mass of
seething emotions, you want to tell him how
he’s ruined your day, your swing, possibly your
love for the game, but nothing comes out except
“You’ll get the hang of it,” he says cheerfully
as you insert your putter into your bag imagining
it’s a bayonet into his heart, “Let’s play a few
“No” is all you can get out between teeth
clenched so tightly you could strain electrons
Ok, your last two partners haven’t been great.
Aggressor was overconfident in his abilities,
Coach was overconfident in yours. Maybe you
just need someone a bit more realistic, meet...
This guy was born holding a glass half empty—
nothing’s ever quite right. His new glove’s on
too tight, his ball’s unbalanced, and your swing
rhythm’s putting him off. For the Complainer
there are no velvet-green fairways, softly
caressing breezes, or warming sunrays. Golf
is just another chore to get through before he
can get home and start complaining about
Every green you hit, every putt you hole, is fuel
to the fire.
“Maybe I need some weirdo stroke to be able
to hole putts on these greens,” he says with an
absolute straight face as you walk off the 6th.
“They’re a bit slow, but they’re pretty true,” you
say, trying to be positive.
“Whatever” he says, rolling his eyes.
The trouble with the Complainer is he never
got past base camp in understanding the true
essence of golf. It’s inherently unfair. Of course,
that perfectly struck 3 wood headed for the
heart of the green is going to catch the smallest
of mounds, and finish under the lip of the
bunker. That’s what’s supposed to happen.
The physical laws in the golfing world are
almost the exact opposite of what happens
in the rest of life. What should fall down,
falls up and vice versa. Pitched marginally
short of a green, your white spherical
object, ordinarily designed to roll, stops
dead. Unless of course it lands short of a
water hazard, then gaily fleet-footed, like
a dehydrated rabbit, it skips on, and in.
We all understand this: it’s why we play. Once
you’ve successfully dealt with the unfairness
of golf, the unfairness of life is a small
inconvenience. Complainer may ruin your day,
but at least you can try to ignore him.
Our last guest gives you no such option. You
know him, and you hate him; that’s right, it’s The
One of the base elements of golf is respect for
its moments of solitude. Generally from the
time someone approaches their ball to the time
they hit it, you watch but don’t talk.
It’s one of the great pleasures of the game
that during this time, however bad we might
be, the focus of attention is solely on us. All
of which you could explain to motor mouth if
he’d just let you get a word in. But right from
the first it’s been like he’s on some kind of
sporting speed date. After four holes, you know
everything about the mundane 44 years of his
life. You know that he got a great deal on his
clubs, his car, his house, his boat, his wife and
his whipper snipper.
By which stage you’re nine-over and haven’t
had a swing thought inhabit your head for
longer than a nanosecond. How could you?
‘Talkie’ doesn’t shut up until you pull the trigger
and he starts up again as soon as your ball is in
the air. The only time he leaves your side is to
play his shot, and even then he’s still sprouting
meaningless, unanswerable mind fodder from
across the fairway.
“Hey, did anyone see that movie on Netflix
last night? Can’t remember its name. Man
don’t worry, you didn’t miss much, it wasn’t that
Coming up the 18th, you have visions of
grabbing him by the neck and removing his
tongue with your divot tool. You settle instead
for making a whispered deal with the rest of
the group to meet them at the pub down the
road rather than endure more verbal pain in the
As you drive past the clubhouse, you see
‘Talkie’ happily engaged in conversation with a
deaf, octogenarian life member on the veranda,
who’s either fallen asleep, or possibly been
talked to death...
You play your next six rounds of golf by
“Maybe I need some
weirdo stroke to be
able hole putts on
these greens,” he
says with an absolute
straight face as you
walk off the 6th.
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