Martin Dempster: Why being late for Turnhouse 'tea' time was embarrassing - but at least my wife is talking to me again
I’d been invited along with my better half way back at the start of the year to be guests at Turnhouse Golf Club’s 125th Anniversary Ball, only to make the fatal mistake of not properly checking where it was actually taking place.
In my mind, it was in a hotel close to Haymarket in Edinburgh, where we arrived a good hour before the 7pm for 7.30pm start, so popped into a hostelry across the road and enjoyed a couple of refreshments while taking in the second-half of Scotland versus Australia just along the road at BT Murrayfield Stadium.
As Blair Kinghorn’s late penalty to win the game was pulled agonisingly wide of the uprights, we crossed the road, entered the hotel where I thought the capital club’s glitzy affair was being held only to quickly discover that I had got the right brand but the wrong location. Our hosts for the evening were waiting to greet us more than four miles away close to the outskirts of the city.
Having since checked using Google, the journey by car would normally take just 13 minutes, but not on this occasion due to the fact we couldn’t have picked a worse time to be making that trip because of 65,000 rugby fans spilling out of Murrayfield and the roads in the area effectively becoming jammed.
This particular day just happened to be our 34th wedding anniversary and it had been going very well indeed until now. Barely a word was uttered in a journey that ended up taking an hour and hats off to the taxi driver for seeming to think he’d contributed to that due to opting for the route he did when his cab had been facing in to Haymarket when we jumped in and, in hindsight, it would have been a lot quicker if he’d gone along Queensferry Road.
To say I was embarrassed by our late arrival would definitely be an understatement, but, in fairness, our hosts saw the funny side and, long before the end of an excellent night hosted by the club captain, Oliver McCrone, my belief about Turnhouse Golf Club and its members had been well and truly confirmed. I had always sensed a real feeling of pride whenever coming across people associated with the club and that was certainly the case with everyone in attendance on Saturday night.
The game of golf has been dominated this year by talk about money due to LIV Golf’s arrival on the scene and, yes, I was asked about my thoughts on the breakaway circuit, as is the case a lot of the time because it has definitely stirred the pot and created some interest among golfers at club level.
However, what I witnessed at this event is that the attraction of playing our great game at grass-roots level and the chance that provides so many people to build lifelong friendships remains exactly the same as it always has been and, for me anyway, that’s way more important than anything that is effectively allowing the rich to become richer.
Oh, and Mrs Dempster is talking to me again, which is an encouraging sign given that her eyes lit up when it was mentioned that a top divorce lawyer had been in that room on Saturday night!