As an outdoor sportsman (or woman), you can’t claim to be a fully rounded master of your craft until you’ve experienced playing in the full gamut of weather conditions. Such as golfing in a blizzard; running through a monsoon; or trampolining in a tornado.
Wind, in particular, can play havoc with your golf game. And I’m not just talking about Swiss Tony proudly letting one go at the top of your backswing (having wolfed down an extra helping of Uncle Ben’s Extra Spicy Three-Bean Salad at dinner the previous night).
My former work colleague – let’s call him Dave (being as that was his name) – experienced this first-hand during a charity golf day back in the late ’90’s. Dave was a newcomer to the game, and wasn’t familiar with the need to plunge your (closed) umbrella (spike-end-first) into the turf on a day when rain and gale-force gusts collaborated. And plunged so deeply that the tip of your brolly is technically in New Zealand.
On this particular day, as we surrounded the second green of a course in Somerset, England, Dave nonchalantly left his fully-erect umbrella perched delicately on the edge of the fringe as he eyed up his putt for a triple-bogey. What happened next is usually reserved for cartoon chases featuring Tom & Jerry, Itchy & Scratchy or The Anthill Mob.
A gust of wind roared up like Godzilla from the sea, causing the umbrella to take to the skies; soaring majestically towards Glastonbury, via the seventh tee-box. If ‘soaring majestically’ is technically possible three inches above ground-level. ‘Revved-up’ revellers at the famous music festival are used to seeing umbrellas (and a plethora of other magical objects) flying through the air… though not normally real ones.
We quickly alerted Dave to the alarming turn of events, and watched as he hastily abandoned his attempted plumb-bob (a technique which involves dangling the putter in front of you while closing one eye, just because you’ve seen Jack Nicklaus do it on TV; even he admits it doesn’t work, just looks impressive) and gave chase like Usain Bolt trying to win Olympic gold (and simultaneously prove the critics wrong).
To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.