Golf and I are getting divorced. We hate each other and a different hobby has caught my eye. But don’t worry, the clubs are going to be fine, they’ll have a good home to go to, writes Kevan Christie.
Sad news of a break-up this week folks.
Not a messy divorce as such – it’s amicable and both parties will stay friends but a parting of the ways nevertheless.
Given the circumstances and the amount of water that has passed under the bridge, myself and the game of golf have decided to pursue a conscious uncoupling.
We’re calling it quits and will go our separate ways – I’ll no longer be told what to wear and what time to arrive and golf will be free to carry on like it has been doing since a Scottish guy, who was waiting for the boozer to open, invented it in the 15th century.
My priority now is to give the clubs a good home, they’ve decided they’re going to stay with their golf and we both think it’s for the best.
I don’t even need to see them on weekends and I know they’ll be fine.
Having walked off again after nine holes in the Tuesday medal at my local course for a ‘no return’ score – taking the best part of two hours to get to this point – I decided it was time to take stock and carry out a personal golfing inventory.
I quickly realised the game’s a bogey and no amount of 30 quids spent on half-hour lessons with a “cannae be arsed” professional who’s dying to get back to selling his Mars Bars will ever make me better.
My handicap is 24, which for those of you who don’t know anything about golf is really good and for those of you who do is terrible. I’m s***e and I know I am. I’m s***e and I know I am – as the terrace chant goes.
Like the old joke that Mark Twain is wrongly credited with “golf is a good walk spoiled”.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve ventured to a beautiful part of our country, driving past the Longniddry Bents and the bird sanctuary in East Lothian, staring dreamily across the Firth of Forth, passing through the picturesque village of Aberlady – only for the jarring reality to strike me in the back of the head like a wayward tee-shot. I’m on my way to play bloody golf. Fore!
I can safely say without fear of contradiction that I now get more enjoyment finding stray golf balls in the rough, where I spend most of my time anyway, than I do having to play. It’s not golf’s fault, they’ve tried to make things better, like letting me putt with the flag still in the hole and... and well that’s it really and it was kind of them to let me do that – but it still takes ages to complete a round.
This epiphany coming more than 40 years since I first picked up a club, with a 27-year break for heavy drinking, has finally made me realise there is absolutely no point in doing a hobby you don’t enjoy and, actually, hate.
Most of us do jobs we don’t like and no end of people will tell you the key to happiness is to work at something you do enjoy – then it’s not like you’re working. So what’s the point in making yourself even more miserable in the time spent away from the office? None, zero, nada, zilch.
These trivial pursuits are ingrained into us from childhood. I always have a wry smile when I see the kids in the white suits being dragged to the Karate or the Taekwondo or whatever martial art they’re not going to be doing in a fortnight’s time. These places are giant dumping grounds, where parents pay top dollar for an hour’s respite and the chance to down a double espresso while quickly scan-reading the weekend’s papers.
Thousands of miles are covered driving the next Lionel Messi to football as dads, up and down the land, live out their dreams vicariously through their kids.
Everyone is dreaming of glory and riches, while the stressed-out child gets it from all angles. Luckily, I avoided all of this having been told by my father aged nine that I wouldn’t make it as a footballer and I’m eternally grateful for his professional candour. Harsh but fair.
This meant I was free to play for enjoyment. As kids, we tried everything from fencing to water polo with chess inbetween and I had a mate who we nicknamed Sport Billy after the popular cartoon character of the time.
One day he’d be off to the boxing, then he’d joined the Sea Scouts and the icing on the cake was the sight of him marching down Restalrig Road with an ice-hockey stick on his way to try out for the Murrayfield Racers. I don’t know who he was trying to kid as he’d started on the fags aged 11, was a regular at ‘smoker’s corner’ and we all knew that his real love and passion was for the snout.
So, what’s next dear reader? Certainly not a season ticket for Easter Road in my case or Tynecastle if you’re born of the maroon persuasion.
No way am I getting involved in that carnival of misery – another hangover from people’s childhoods. Trudging along grimly, paying a fortune and having to pretend you care about a bunch of sleeve-tattooed eejits, wondering where their next protein shake is coming from. Sack the board.
But I do need to find another hobby – buying too tight trousers online from M&S doesn’t count, five pair of chinos at the last count and I’m developing a love of getting parcels.
I’ve got the non-league football and the yoga and the Dobbies scene takes care of itself, but there’s room for something else. Don’t get me wrong, I like going to the gym but that’s not the same as playing sport and no-one wants to become the ‘champion of exercise’.
However fear not, for I have a cunning plan and can see the lure of the bowling club coming over the horizon...