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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

#2: Sure Shank Redemption

I once had designs on being a pro golfer. You know, one of those chaps who loves dressing up like Rupert Bear (the 1920s British comic strip character), in Nuclear Canary Yellow checked trousers (pants) and woolly jumpers so garishly red, they’d repel a herd of charging bulls.

"Hey man, we like red but that’s ridiculous! Come on fellas, let’s go and spear that guy on the ninth who’s dressed in subtle crimson, this one’s blindin’ my eyes..."

The idea of travelling the globe chasing birdies, while repeatedly trying to thrash a little white ball into orbit with every ounce of juice I could muster, really appealed to me. As did winning $350,000 for coming 8th.

However, there was one giant spanner thrown in the works, which ultimately cost me my place on the PGA Tour. And Uncle Fred’s Spicy Three-Bean Mix Mini-Tour, for that matter (17 rungs below Tiger & Co.): I couldn’t hit the ball straight.

I was so wild off the tee, in fact, my playing partners would often shout “FIVE!” to alert golfers on adjoining fairways that a wickedly slicing Titleist bullet was about to knock their dentures for six. The traditional war-cry “FORE!” just didn’t cut it.

When I got lucky, I did sometimes find the fairway – but often on the Back 9… while I was still playing the Front. Once word got around I was on-course, fellow fairway dwellers would often whip out crash helmets from the bowels of their wardrobe-sized golf bags, just to be on the safe side.

I cut my golfing teeth on a quaint public municipal in Gloucestershire (pronounced Glosstasheer), England, known as the Minchinhampton Old Course. It was densely populated with some of Mother Nature’s finest bovine (ie. cows), as the 18 holes were carved on and across public common land.

We got very well acquainted over the years (the cattle & I) and my black-and-white blotchy-patterned friends eventually figured out the safest place to congregate as I was poised to wildly swish my driver in the vague hope of hitting a fairway, was right in front of the tee. There wasn’t a cat (or cow) in hell’s chance I’d hit ’em.

To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.

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