Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It makes me sick ...

A local news item last night spoke of a 17 year old girl Kiran Mathura who has just been awarded a six figure sponsorship deal to advance her golf career.

Six figure sum - pah !

I spent more than that in my golf career, and I freely admit that I never progressed beyond the point at which friends groaned when they drew me as a partner.

By coincidence I found my Vijay Singh golf clubs in one of our sheds at the weekend, the bag is furry with mould and the clubs are red with rust, as the man in the shop promised they would be.

It's a unique selling point for those clubs that they are made of "soft gun metal" and are not chrome plated like all other metal clubs, the man in the shop said that it made the clubs "much more responsive", "far more forgiving" and "a delight to play with" before then severely criticising my grip, as do all people who watch me.

He explained that a unique feature of the Vijay Singh clubs was that they will go rusty and the more rust that you get on the club head the better you will play with them.

It all sounded a bit far fetched to me, more like "hey look, we couldn't be arsed chromium plating these clubs so they'll be ruined within three months, but buy them anyway" and the other thing that sowed a seed of doubt in my mind was that Vijay Singh, who used exactly the same sort of clubs, never seemed to have a rusty one in his bag - mayby Vijay could be even higher up the world rankings if his caddy would put away the wire wool after every tournement.

Still, like a sucker I bought them, like I bought every other wonder club and gadget in every golf shop I ever went in, if I ever had to play in a professional tournement I'd never get to the first tee as my caddy would collapse under the weight of the bag and I'd be banned for having several dozen clubs in said bag, clubs for every occasion, clubs for getting out of every conceivable tricky location on every type of golf course, clubs that made not one iota of difference to my normally crap game, eventually I had to buy an electric motor driven golf trolley to transport my bag of wonder sticks around the courses with me - I found the electric trolley in the shed at the weekend too.

Although I never managed to score below 100 on a normal round of golf, or break into double figures in a stableford competition, I had an official club handicap of 21 - all of which is meaningless to those who do not play the game but those who do understand the club handicapping system will now be scratching their heads and shouting at the computer screen "how the hell did you manage that then ?", the answer is of course, we cheated.

I say we because it involves the conspiracy of my brother too, who unlike me can actually play the game properly and is well rated at his official 21 handicap, but we joined a new club in one of their first years of trading during one of the wettest and coldest of recent winters, quite frankly we couldn't be arsed playing the number of requisite rounds on wet cold sunday mornings and so we snaffled three scorecards each from the pro's desk and sat in the car park and filled them in as if we had genuinely played.

And I must say that we played quite well on each of those three rounds, I was impressed at my ability to score six on the par fives on that course as I'd never actually got down to single numbers on those holes, and my 2 on one of the short par 3's brought admiring looks fromt he club secretary when we handed the cards in, having scuffed them up a bit and left one of them out in the rain for a few minutes.

A couple of weeks later our handicaps were posted on the notice board and as far as I'm aware they are still there, I'm the only golf club member to have ever fiddled his handicap in the wrong direction and my handicap often bore more resemblence to the number of balls that I lost in a round rather than any workable indicator of skill.

Six figure sponsorship deal at 17 years old - makes me sick.

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