The golf trip to paradise seemed like a distant dream. Lush fairways and true greens. Blue skies and bobbing boats. Brazilian waiters and chilled wine. And chips. But even in paradise there are vipers. The grass is not always greener. Sometimes it has been sprayed with fertiliser.
I needed a new putter and a new body. The putter had to go – too many missed putts on the golf tour. The body – too many mirrors in the hotel bedroom and bathroom which did not lie. Full length mirrors in the bathroom and bedroom.
The wish list was simple. A Scotty Cameron for the golf bag and a body which was less rather than more. Toned. Firm. Less.
The putter and I hit a rocky patch after some very makeable putts. We had built up a good relationship over time. Seen one another through some tight spots. We even shared the same traits. Always fought to the end. Never gave up. Never threw in the towel. I loved that putter. We even shared the same bedroom on the golf tour.Blue and I had known the good times and bad times. The highs and lows. But we had reached that stage which every relationship does at some stage. We took one another for granted. I didn’t always handle Blue the way I should and in return Blue held back a little. Especially on the up hill putts with left to right break. We should have remembered the ‘c’ word. Compromise. Stepped back and cooled off. But sometimes things are said in the heat of battle and there is no going back.
“You knew that broke from the left” I whispered after missing another putt. Blue was silent. But we knew each other well enough to read our thoughts.
“You had me in the palm of your hands” Blue shot back. “Always have to be in control. It comes down to trust and you never leave the big things to me. Right at the last moment you twist my clubface”.
And on that green everything changed and there was no going back. It was the sixteenth and there was no chance of more birdie putts. Even par was a mountain. We had reached the end of the road. I could hear Keane singing ‘This is the Last Time’. It was time for Plan B. And time for a quick shower before supper.
Time to play the mirror game. All the rooms had full length mirrors. I tried various plans of mirror avoidance. Closing my eyes. Not looking. Or turning off all the lights. I ended up with bruised shins and a scraped elbow. And when I did look the reflection in the mirror was me. Just a bigger version.
The thespian texted from the land of the Bard.
Enjoy the sunshine and those courses. Tough rehearsals here. Miss you mama x
I didn’t tell her about me and Blue.
Brill here. Good food. Good wine and some good golf. Keep smacking those lines and keep your director on his toes xx ps miss you more x
Supper was good and will power met wine, fries and chocolate pudding. Will power lost. I returned to my room, which looked out over the bobbing boats in the marina. The moon was shining on the water and every deck was ship shape. There were things I needed to do when I got home and I made a note in the diary.
Buy new bathroom scales
Google Scotty Camerons
I missed more putts, ate more chips but went home with a plan. And a few more pounds round the middle.
I loaded the washing machine. Put away the golf gear and replenished the fridge with essentials. Time to execute the plan. The putter and body plan. Plans don’t come cheap.
I decided to deal with the putter first but the Golf Police threw a spanner in the works. Watching the oval ball chasers on the screen and gripping the remote, his words were soft. Direct and to the point.
“We need to go easy on the credit card” he said.
“That’s fine” I said, as Toulouse scored under the posts and converted the try.
I did not make eye contact. There was no need to explain about the recent hits on the card. Hits harder than the forwards were dishing out on the plasma screen. He didn’t know about the green fees and the new golf sweater. Or the must-have new golf shoes. The statement would not make for good bed time reading.
I needed to think laterally. About Blue and the replacement Scotty Cameron. E-bay briefly came into the frame. But it was never good going into a relationship built on shaky foundations. Suppose the putter had history. Bad experiences. Or dodgy DNA. A fake putter would be worse than building bridges with Blue.
Scotty and the answer were an arm length away. I reached out and flicked through the golf magazine. The only one the Golf Police had missed and not binned in my absence. Or burnt. Page Ten. The Letters page. The answer to my prayers. A Scotty Cameron was offered as first prize for the star letter. I studied the letters. The topics were many and various. Handicaps. Greens. Price of Membership. Dress code and juniors. I closed my eyes and could feel the putter in my hands. Ergonomically and aesthetically beautiful. It had my name on it and I could see the putts rolling into the back of the cup. The uphill and downhill and left to right breaks. They never missed.
I burnt the midnight oil crafting my letter. Concise. Precise. Pertinent with a dash of humour. I polished the words until they shone and danced on the page. When it was word perfect, I emailed it to the Editor with a covering note.
I would like you to read this letter and consider it for inclusion in the golf magazine.
Ps. If you are ever this way and fancy a game, drop me an email in my inbox.
I went to bed and dreamt of my new Scotty Cameron and all the silverware we would win on the fairways.
The Editor dropped the email by return. An auto reply.
I am seldom in the office and deal with my emails infrequently.
I tried again. Three times I tried and each time the auto reply wizzed back through the cyber ether. In the end I gave up checking the emails and waited for publication of the next magazine.
I bought it on the way home from work, with a doughnut. Made the tea, munched the sugary snack and flicked to the Letters Page. Mine was not there. I checked and re-checked. No letter. No star. No Scotty Cameron. I read the other letters. Dispassionately. They were good letters. Seven out of ten letters. But the words did not dance off the page. And in the end I had to face the truth. My letter, which shone like the star leading Mary and Joseph to the stable, had been rejected.
I binned the magazine and went back to build bridges with Blue. We took baby steps. Started with small putts and went on to bigger, longer, trickier ones.
“We can do this” I whispered on a downhill with left to right break. We sunk the putt and became a team again.
And one night when the Golf Police was dreaming about leaving the rat race and sailing a ship shape boat, I sat at the keyboard and typed some more words. Not dancing, sparkly words. Different words.
Subject – Star letters and Putters
I expect you are out being wined and dined on expense accounts. Playing with Captains of Industry and having golf gear thrown at you from sponsors, who want a mention in your mag. Lugging it home in a big black sack. Sharing it with your mates or selling it on e-bay. And when you get back from your jollies, maybe you scan your emails before hitting the delete button.
Ed, don’t worry about the letter you were never going to print. The letter you got some minion to read. You won’t understand about the Golf Police and the banned hits on the credit card. You were my Plan B and the Scotty Cameron had its place in my bag. We would have made a great team. My letter was good but you trod on my dreams Ed, with your spikes. Who knows what mountains I would have climbed with that Scotty in my hand? So this is me leaving your inbox and your life. I won’t trouble your Letter Page again.
Ps. You know if we had played that game, I would have whipped your ass.
I felt better when I pressed ‘send’. When the automated reply whizzed through, I hit the delete button. When my head hit the pillow, I still dreamt of me and Scotty taking on marble fast greens. And the world.