14 November 2007

Golf c. 15th century - 2007

Golf has played its last stroke - a massive and terminal one - with the news that elderly golfers are hogging the courses at golf clubs up and down the country.

Although the Chinese may claim to have planted the first long drive onto the green in the 11th century and, a hundred years later, the Dutch were busy thwacking a leather ball into a hole (through a giant windmill - thus inventing Crazy Golf), it is the Scots who lay claim to the true invention of the game in the 15th century, when Scots began using a small mashie niblick (or any other deep-fried snack to hand) to whack a ball across the country.

The game quickly became popular with Scots of all ages and all classes taking it up with great enthusiasm, with even Mary Queen of Scots reputedly playing at the Musselburgh Links in 1567 - although her lack of a head meant she had trouble playing out of the bunkers onto the green.

While the Scots were arguing about the correct ratio of holes for playing golf to watering holes for refreshment, the rest of the world was mastering the basics of teeing off, chipping out of the rough, shouting at the caddy and breaking a putter over their knee at the difficult 17th. By the time 18 holes became standardised and the 19th was introduced, the game as we know it could be said to have finally arrived - as bores, boors and bigots knocked back the whiskies while telling taller and taller tales about their drive and revealing their smaller and smaller minds about the wisdom of accepting anyone who didn't possess the right sort of golfing qualifications - usually white skin, at least one testicle and the ability to prove ones pure Anglo-Saxon parentage back sufficient generations to get you into the SS.

Despite the existence of a bunker mentality (that bunker being located deep beneath the Reich Chancellery just before the dogleg onto the green at Potsdamer Platz), Golf raised its game and ditched its plus fours and argyle sweaters for a golden age as players such from Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods entertained spectators across the globe by powerfully driving up the fairway and delicately putting in, and Colin Montgomerie entertained spectators across the globe by disembowelling caddies with a glowering look - frequently, and unsportingly, without first uttering the warning cry of "Fore!"

However, this popularity was achieved not without cost. For every birdie chipped in from off the green by the likes of Ernie Els, two or three superannuated middle managers, solicitors or comedians took up the game with gusto and hacked their way slowly towards a G&T in the clubhouse. So when the Golf Club Secretary Newsletter reported that retired golfers were paying less and playing more than younger members at their golf clubs - clogging up the courses as they searched for their driving spectacles, their putting zimmer frames and remembering loudly "when this was all fields" - Golf sliced its last shot into the water and, feeling well below par, sank without trace. Thus was a good walk spoiled no more.

Golf will be buried at the bunker on the 18th hole of the St Jimmy of Tarbuck's Pro-Celebrity Church of the Royal and Ancient. The service will be conducted by the Reverend Peter Alliss ("Oh... Ah...! The coffin has pulled up just two yards short of the church... Monty, Monty, Monty...!") and the congregation will sing hymn 365, Lalo Schifrin's theme from The Eagle Has Landed as Colin Montgomerie defenestrates the vicar after smashing the crucial putt into the font.

1 Comment:

lady macleod said...

oh my. sigh. what will we do in Scotland now? I guess we could pick a fight...