The Jekyll and Hyde who lurk in golfers

2013-04-12 00:00

OVER the past 150 years or so a lot has been written about behaviour on the golf course.

Old Scotsmen will tell that you will learn more about your opponent in 18 holes of matchplay than 18 years across a desk.

They will add that if there’s a wager on the game, it’s better to keep your eye on your opponent than on the ball, and we have heard stories of companies conducting interviews of a prospective employee over 18 holes of golf.

Then there was the old theory that gentleman golfers were just a bunch of cursing, bad-tempered old blighters. When women were allowed to play golf, it was felt that their presence on the course would improve men’s behaviour, and by all accounts it did.

Thankfully today, etiquette and good behaviour on the course are a given. But there are some golfers who are a little different to most of us. Every club has at least one of them. He has a split personality. In normal life he is a “Mister Calm”. He is a relaxed, courteous, unemotional individual who has impeccable manners and rarely offers a contrary opinion. Nothing fazes him; traffic jams, potholes or litter in the streets — he takes it all in his stride. But there is another side to our Mister Calm and it is revealed on the golf course especially if things are not going to plan.

This means he slogs a few balls into the bush, never to be seen again; one or two chip-shots are hit in the teeth or the opposite, a “frog” that barely travels a metre; and to cap it all, a four-putt. Our Mister Calm is then transformed into Mister Crazy — a monster. The air around him turns blue, his language is so foul that it would embarrass a Liverpool dock worker. Clubs are thrown, bent and even broken over his knee. He shouts that he has better things to do than to try to play this stupid game and he vows that this is the last time.

Then, at last, the round is finished and after a shower and half-an-hour, he is seated at the 19th, the monster Mister Crazy has retverted to the sedate Mister Calm.

From the 19th hole:

Three old golfers, Sam, Harry and Fred, were sitting together after their weekly game of golf. These are some of the things they were overheard saying to each other:

Sam said, “A water pistol was confiscated from an algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.”

Fred said, “I was at Kingsmead the other day; I wondered why the cricket ball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.”

Harry said, “A friend asked me, ‘At your age, what would you prefer, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s?’ I told him, ‘I’d definitely prefer Parkinson’s because it’s better to spill half my wine than to forget where I put the glass’.”

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