Battles with the Golf Police were not uncommon. But sometimes life intervenes and the odds are stacked against the win.
“No Golf” said the Medics.
I tried to argue my case. I fought for my fairways. But this was a man who would not be budged. It was like arm wrestling someone who played for the All Blacks. In the front row.
“No Golf” he said. “My secretary will be in touch”.
I drove home. Made some calls and sent some emails.
The clubs kept their lonely station by the book case. Tucked somewhere between Dickens, Sports Psychology and Shackleton’s incredible voyage to the Antartic. The head covers were clean, the new Christmas towel pristine and unmuddied. A training aid was wedged between pitching wedge and three wood. Along with the latest scribbled golfing tip on a post it note, picked up from the golf channel gurus. The latest advice for taming a lunging right shoulder, thrown too quickly at the top.The tip would have to wait.The clubs patiently leaned against a brave Antarctic Explorer and the Great Expectations of Dickens.
I read every book in the golf section on the book shelf. From ‘Golf Not Being Perfect’ to ‘Perfect Putting’. I knew about the inner mind and outer mind. I could quote from Ballesteros, Nicklaus, Palmer and Hogan. I knew about the wee ice man with his white cap and how to lower my handicap. I could quote, verbatim from Harvey Penick and took his little red book to bed.
When my eyes grew weary of words, I rang the White Coats again.
“So do you want a second opinion?” asked the softly spoken Specialist. I decided to be honest.
“No. Just worried about the Anaesthetist. Wondered whether we could change the guy with the needle”.
Dr. Needle who had the power of life and death. The body of a rugby player, the brain of a footballer. He supported the Blues. The softly spoken specialist went with the Reds. They did not seem an ideal fit.
“Maybe you could find someone who plays golf?”
Less conflict. Less time to debate the merits of defenders, keepers and points. Over my body. All the golfers who specialised in anaesthesia were on the slopes practising their turns and black runs. We went with the man who supported the Blues.
Checked into the hospital.
“Any questions?” asked the Anaesthetist.
“How can you support a team owned by a man with dodgy morals and money?” I asked.
Wrong question. Wrong time. He smiled quietly and found the vein with ruthless efficiency. It would not have made a good exit line from life.
“No golf” the Specialist said later. “Until I see you again”. He spoke with authority.
I checked him out. Well cut suit, clunky cufflinks. Expensive silk tie. Hair which wanted to go its own way and soft brown eyes. But his soul belonged to the round ball. He knew about the off side rule, possession and the weight of the pass. He even knew a bit about dimpled balls and draw.
I went home. Broke the news to the clubs and made shopping lists for the family. They did supermarket runs and loaded the fridge. The fruit bowl was full. All the golf balls had been removed. And the house rules had been ignored. There were biscuits in the cupboard, along with cakes and crisps. Trifles in the fridge. Even the brand of tea had been changed.
“That stuff you get is like sawdust” said the Golf Police.
Daughter No. One became Head Juicer and Shopper. The Golf Police took over the recycling but the iron and hoover remained appliances too far.
The future stretched ahead. Books, sleep and day time television. Golf Golf Golf.
There were no burnt suppers. No tee pegs in the washing machine. No mould in the fridge. No matches. No banter on the tee. No swindle gossip. No winnings. No gladatorial encounters going to the last putt on the eighteen green.
The Swindle met three times a week, drank coffee, put the world to rights, walked the fairways and divvied up the money in the pot. Sid still sliced and the Sheriff’s drives flirted with the trees. Big Rich still had his sausage roll at the half way hut and Gus practiced his short game.
The Medics still insisted on the ‘No Golf Rule’ and the computer became temperamental.
I wrote it a letter.
This is a letter for your hard drive. About our relationship.
I have no idea what my User Network Password is and I have tried all the obvious ones to do with the sea and lighthouses. I have tried anything to do with chocolate and gone through all the permutations of golf.
We have to get beyond the pettiness of passwords. Consider this your last warning. And maybe you could cut me some slack. You won’t understand about walking the fairways but there is a whole world out there beyond code and programmes. It’s my world and where I belong, so just tread a little easy and be kind.
I sent the letter to the hard drive, turned out the light and went back to the remote and channel hopping.
The next morning I turned on the screen. A new day and a new beginning. Things looked hopeful. And then the message appeared again.
I rang IT support.
“Type in this address” said the voice at the end of the phone.
“Sorry was that ‘T’ for tango or ‘P’ for papa”?
“ ‘E’” said the voice”. ” ‘E’ for egg.” It was a long address with lots of T’s and P’s and ‘E’s’.
“I’ll send you a link” he said.“ And make a note of the password”.
I made a note and send another letter to the hard drive.
Looks like our relationship is back on track. I would not really have sent you to the garage.
I read more books from the book shelf. I read about Arnie and Jack and their famous Duel in the Sun. I became best friends with Harvey Penick and practiced his slow motion drill when the Shopping and Juicing Brigade were not around. I read the R and A’s Decisions on the Rules of Golf from 13-2/29.5 Extension of line of play affected when Opponent creates a footprint in the bunker to 33-8/32.5 Severe damage by non burrowing animals. I went from book to the remote control. Golf. Golf. Golf. The fridge still groaned with fruit and veg and the hoover, iron and golf clubs stayed quietly in their place. Next to Dickens, Sports Psychology and the Amazing Antartic Adventure of Shackleton. I gave the Book of Rules to the charity shop.