Golf ?(golfnow)! Now What Is Your Handicap?
A Fore Word, So To Speak
Scotland may have redefined the modern game of golf, having taken it from the Dutch origins, however in my research, at the end of page 1 of search "origins of golf"
There it was the entry for Ancient Asian origin of Golf,
I followed the link provided www.golf-information.info/asian-origin-of-golf.htmlwith some suspicion, to discover that China way way back to 943 AD, had a version that is as the article states, the rules are very very similar to the modern Scottish version.
This seems to be throw a new angle to the mystery of the origins of golf. The origins is definateky occidental.
As with Whiskey, and the bag pipes, all had their origins elsewhere. The Scots then added a bit here in some cases, or they changed the packaging to suit and make it their own, they then even change the spelling.
Whenever Golfers Get Together
Have you ever eavesdropped on golfers in a pub, or bar or cocktail lounge, I mean at any venue away from a golf course. What is their main topic of conversation? Handicap, yes it is the handicap that rules their lives and every waking moment away from the golf course and dominates most of their conversational skills.
Then if your are not totally bored and confused by the intricacies of the rating of the individuals handicap, be it, real or 'schlenter'. Then you will really die for the next favourite topic, the stroke by stroke replay of Saturday's or Sunday's eighteen holes at this fantastic club, that a friend of a friend, golfer of course, took them.
Finally you have their "bucket list", this includes all the extra flexible titanium shafted drivers and putters, that gives you that extra yard or meter, pin piont accuracy, what about those new and the latest dimpled balls that travel for ever, even in the face of oncoming winds. Then there is the latest shoes extra grip in soles for those tricky rough and sand traps, as well as all those other paraphenailia and essential items that give you all the extra edge you need.
Why do you need that edge? To reduce your handicap by that extra stroke, of course!
Golf Courses in Johannesburg Area
As you see our golf courses are picturesque as well as challenging
Observations of Golf
The reason for understanding the desire to get your handicap down as low as possible is obvious to any golfer. Then to a non golfer it is really an absolute mystery.
We have a golf course, just below from where we live, Southdowns, way down as far south as you can get and still be in the greater Johannesburg area. It is in a beautiful setting, a river running through it, fairways with trees on the side, and even on either side.
The golfers take up their bags, rent a battery operated cart and drive around the eighteen holes with a break between the ninth and tenth, for either breakfast or just a quick liquid refreshment. Then finish the other nine holes, proceed to to the showers and then relax at the nineteenth, for a stroke by stroke replay of the who;e tricky course.
Now is that exercise, relaxation or what, I ask you?
Too my mind, the fun and the exercise part of golf from the older days, as I have seen and new it, is now past!
Today, you do not walk the fairways any more, you ride, I wonder if you even see the beauty of the course, the careful use of trees, sands and water, do you even here the song of the birds above that gentle hum of the golf car?
That this is purely a rhetoric question, as an ardent hacker, I was always too hot, too busy perspiring, lugging that golf bag, which got heavier and heavier, as we progressed around the course to have noticed any the wonders and beauty.
Playing a round of competition golf 30 odd years ago
My first, and only competition, was quite a it of fun, really, I was a member of the local YMCA for a number of years, mainly for the gym facilities. Well the 'Y" also had a golfing section and was having its annual club championship, all welcome. So I, who by then, had played a total of three rounds of official golf, having handed in my three signed score cards to the club secretary, I was officially handicap. Well as can be expected, with my good look, charm and gentlemanly manners, generally lack of expertise,came out right on top, in the reverse order, not surprised! No I was not either.
The day finally arrived! A sweltering hot late January Sunday morning, (mid summer here, to all my Northern Hemisphere hubbers). The day started at 06:30 with coffee, tea and fresh juices while doing the registeriion bit, then off to the refreshment table to get a couple of cups coffee into me and then to find our respective partners, I did not know anyone there, so completely in my element, put on my tag and searched the names, not the faces.
Found a couple of guys who looked like they could be my partners for the day, we all sported new shoes and had our glove hanging on our belts like real pros, they were, while we introducing ourselves, we noticed a similarly attired, apprehensive individual as he approached the registration table, received his name tag and was directed to us, our four ball was now complete.
YMCA CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE
Well the organisers of the competition had placed all the 'hackers' (a term affectionately used by experienced players for the clueless players), into four balls of there own. Also to speed up the days play, they had the 'Hacker' four balls, tee off at the tail end in the order of play.
There were two four balls at the back of the pack, so we tossed the coin to see which four ball would play first, and then as we all had the same handicap, we chose the order of play on the initial letter of our first name, all that settled.
We approached the first tee,
I repeat my earlier comment:
That this is purely a rhetoric question, as an ardent hacker, I was always too hot, too busy perspiring, lugging that golf bag, which got heavier and heavier, as we progressed around the course to have noticed any of wonders and beauty..
The four ball that I was in was the last to tee off, a par four, a nice straight fairway, the green set well back and to the left of the fairway, protected by several evil looking sand traps, one of which slap bang in the middle if the fairway waiting for that short drive off the tee.
It would be prudent to say that on this occasion, did admire the ability and the cunning way, in which the course builder had planted those trees. So when you teed off and aimed for the centre of the fairway, with that classical 'hackers fade or draw' shot, that any of those trees would be able to trap the ball at its base. Not being Gary, Arnold or any of the other Big names,would always be in an unplayable position. So off the tee one shot, a funny chip, or dig it out retrieval, two shots. Then, you try and play a safe long drive to get back onto the green, a great shot that takes you deep into the fairway, lands and rolls back nice and neatly and comes gently to rest in the guardian sand trap, that three strokes.
My turn to play, last, as closest to the A practice swing with my sand iron, this one inadvertently connects, and strikes the ball, sending it travelling like a misile, about three feet off the ground and heeded for I do not know were! Neither did any of the others nor the caddies see where it went let alone where it landed, four shots plus penalty shot, now five strokes, and this is a par four hole.
Playing from the same spot in the sand trap, play the stroke, manage to chip the ball onto the lip and rest there on the edge, that's six strokes. My next drive puts me onto the green, only just, Seven strokes.
Two putted, that gave me my first offical championship hole score of nine strokes and one lost ball.
Well that was the ice breaker. Hot from the sun, red from embarrassment and annoyed about the ball, we proceeded to the next hole, I teed off last as I lost that hole!
The next hole fared a little better, except on my green approach shot, I was already thee strokes over, a beautiful approach shot, that landed just behind the edge of the green, a bounce, and away she went, the back of the green was rock hard and that ball bounced away and rolled into a deep gully. It was far to steep to retrieve and besides it would not have helped as it out of bounds.
Started last at the third hole, two balls down, and a score card that was already a nightmare. The rest of that nine, was a bit better, won the one hole and finished second and third, by the by another two balls went swimming.
Welcome rest at the halfway mark and then off to finish our round, after consuming two draught glasses full of half and half ginger beer and milk, very refreshing on a very hot summers day.
The rest of that morning I would rather not repeat, but too say that I ended up carding the highest score and ended up losing a further six balls, all to those dreaded water traps.
As if my embarrassment was not enough, at the presentation of the championships various prizes, honourable mention was made of my outstanding achievement of lost balls, this was to the great amusement of my fellow partners of the round, but the entire club. A moment till now which I had archived in one of those 'leave alone drawers'.
The one thing that I do remember, was words of one of the clubs veteran players, at the prize giving, sagely said, "Golf is a great leveler".
That was the last time that I played golf.
I have since then never been really good at, or keen on, put-put or even miniture golf, after that episode.