Well, glory be, would you Adam and Eve it, some golf – or golf-related stuff at least – in the blog from the beginning. There was a full moon the other night – was it also blue? That could lead to some sort of football riff about how Spurs did at Manchester City last Sunday but then there was Burnley on Wednesday, so we’ll move swiftly on to the golf….
A friend had two tickets for the bunkered golf show at the NEC near Birmingham, so we decided to brave the storm warnings, take our chances with Eunice and make the journey. We weren’t alone. It was much busier than I expected but then I realised that all the shows last weekend were outdoorsy and we’d been confined to barracks for so long that people were desperate to get out and about.
Two oldish (not that we like to admit it), opinionated (guilty as charged) dolls wandering round being pass remarkable (saying what they think) are maybe not the target market of most of the exhibitors but if you’re trying to sell something, NEVER dismiss somebody on the assumption that they’re no use to you. You NEVER know what or who they know.
My mate was much taken with the Blademoore Contour360pro, a platform that could rotate so you could practise from uphill or downhill lies. It also had “interchangeable grass” so you could practise from the fairway or semi-rough. She was never going to buy one herself – she has a smallish garden – but she contacted her coach and told him that he HAD to get one. We chatted with the guys on the stand, one of whom had invented/devised the device and went on our merry way. A few days later, my friend told me that her coach had bought one!
There was a wee stall touting university accommodation at St Andrews for this year’s Open and ever hopeful, we approached but it was long since sold out. I entered a competition to win accommodation and tickets (I think) – not even a quiz question to answer, just give us your email address – but may have to borrow a tent from the camping enthusiast brother-in-law. Dai and I stayed in one of the halls of residence one year and it was great – bathroom across the corridor admittedly and outside a protective seagull that dive-bombed you if you went anywhere near its earthbound progeny but once parked the car never moved. Bliss.
Most of the golfers I know suffer from aches and pains, some are even held together by nuts and bolts and various more sophisticated bits of metal – it’s not just golf clubs that use titanium – so we love a massage and a hot tub. Even better, Gemma from Troon could also offer a pool that promised the “experience of endless swimming”. Wellis is the name of the company and the water looked very inviting. Sadly, I don’t have the space, though I checked my Wine Society reserves and I do have the champagne.
We didn’t join the queues to compete at chipping, putting, long driving or bunker escapology – getting a coffee took time enough – but we did manage a chat with Bernard Gallacher, former Ryder Cup captain and current captain of the PGA. He wondered what Dai would have made of the proposed Saudi golf league and associated shenanigans, coming to the inevitable conclusion: “He’d have had plenty to say!”
My friend bought a trolley and some shoes and while I was waiting for her to complete her tranasactions, I channelled my inner Desmond Morris and observed what I thought was some very rare behaviour: men shopping for clothes. And enjoying it! They were even checking that their mates approved of whatever garment they were trying on. Astonishing.
“Well, it’s not really clothes shopping,” my friend said when I reported my findings. “It’s sports gear, isn’t it?”
Navy, black and brown seemed to be the order of the day for most of the showgoers – practical colours that don’t show the dirt – with the odd splash of red and pink here and there but it takes a bit more to attract the youngsters. Golphin, a company whose aim is “inspiring golf’s next generation” via the schools, caught the eye with a line of wee bags in vibrant colours that made me jealous.
Some of the junior swings on display were nothing short of awesome, jawdroppingly good, with an ease and grace that made this creaky would-be swinger weep with envy.
Sad to report that in the Rye Greensomes comp last Tuesday it was my partner who was weeping. Not because of the early rain and the blustery conditions but because she was, to quote one of Bernard Darwin’s less elegant phrases, “tied to a turd”. Darwin, who was a decent enough golfer, used the expression of himself, in sheer exasperation, when he partnered the incomparable Joyce Wethered in the Worplesdon Foursomes.
However (comma), try explaining all that, through the wind and rain, between shots, to someone who had never heard of Darwin, Wethered or Worplesdon….