EXCUSES COMPRISE A sizeable plank of amateur golf. So often that hideous snap hook into the nearby garden or a grisly shank last seen bounding down the cart path is really not our fault. No really it isn’t. How could it be when we simply do not hit shots like that? So we thought that, seeing that it is awards season for all sorts of things, we would present our own golfing Oscars for the 10 top excuses for truly dreadful golf shots.
10. It has been so long since I played. This might wash with low single figure handicappers who, having spent time out of the game, have lost some of their sharpness but for the average hacker having a two weeks holiday without hitting a golf ball is not going to make one scintilla of difference. Indeed it might even improve things.
9. Weather. All sorts of weather can be blamed for a duff golf shot. In fact let’s rephrase that. Any sort of weather can be blamed for a duff golf shot. Wind and rain are the most popular although strong sun can lead to that extra sweatiness on the palm that causes the grip to slip in the hand provoking us into taking a huge divot that flies further than our ball even when we all know that it didn’t.
8. Wet Weather gear. Moving seamlessly on from weather excuses, waterproof gear forms a vital supporting role when casting around for plausible reasons why we have just hit our ball into a bush some 30 feet to the right of us. This is because, irrespective of how much we have invested in our wet weather gear, of the hugely constricting nature it has on our usually flawless swing. ‘God, I hate playing in a rain jacket,’ we cry, ‘I just can’t swing properly.’
7. Outside agencies. Courses where members take their dogs with them are perfect for this. What would otherwise be a soaring delight of a golf shot arcing high and dropping softly over the flagstick turns into a thin that vanishes into the brook because that labrador just came into eye-line on the backswing. It does not have to be a dog, it can be anything. A car backfiring somewhere miles away will do. One of the great PG Wodehouse’s characters used to routinely miss short putts ‘because of the uproar of the butterflies in the adjoining meadows.’
6. Injustice. Golf is not fair but then neither is life. Whilst many would argue that having hit our best drive of the day it really is rotten luck to find it in a divot mark that some would argue should entitle us to a free drop in much the same way we are from a rabbit scrape. However, the line ‘Did you see that? I cannot believe how unlucky I am being today’ does not evoke nearly enough sympathy from playing partners. Or indeed any because it does not deserve to.
5. Ignorance. This can be factored into the injustice excuse but is also hugely popular for individual mishaps when playing a course for the first time, especially those abroad where water features come into play a good deal more regularly than in UK. Thus when having hit a near perfect approach shot only to discover that it is in the lake in front of the green the hapless hacker can cry, ‘I thought that was perfect. I didn’t even know that (insert appropriate blasphemy) lake was there.’ Course planners are invariably available in pro shops and cost around €8.
4. Distance. Always another good one to use especially when playing on European courses where the general shiftiness and low cunning of the natives has resulted not only in the use of metric rather than imperial measurement but also in distances on markers and course planners to the front of each green rather than the centre. When the approach shot has ended up miles short but at least avoided the lake, stare hard at the scorecard, whilst shaking the head and shouting, ‘This has just got to be wrong.’
3. Local Variations. This excuse is a beauty because there is so much that can be included. The practice putting green provides the ideal start because that three jab on the first is always the result of the first green being so much faster or slower than the practice green. Claims of wild variations in sand texture and depth in bunkers are the perfect panacea for being unable to get out of the things. Similarly any minor alterations in topography leading to imploring cries of ‘That was miles above/below my feet’ as the ball sails over a nearby hedge are as fine grist to the hacker’s over worked excuse mill.
2. Golf Professionals. Consistently a sound target, especially when applied to the purchase of new lob wedges of varying loft and also drivers. ‘I have just bought this and I can’t even hit the thing’ begs the question why the purchase was made in the first place. Here is when the killer sign off can be applied because the professional told you it was just what you needed to improve your game thus exonerating the buyer of all blame. The golf pro also gives us lessons and if Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods can take golf lessons we should all take them. However it does provide another perfect get-out when we have a dreadful day and delivery of that oft-heard line, ‘Since I have had that lesson I can’t even hit the wretched ball.’
1.Injury. Always most effective and also most commonly heard when walking to the first tee, this can be used in tandem with ’10’ and a reason for not playing. ‘I have not hit a ball in weeks because of…….’ where various traumatic aches and pains can be outlined at length along with the general inability of the medical profession at large to come up with a cure. The moment a truly dire shot is made, remember to grimace with pain and clutch whatever part of anatomy that can be blamed for wreaking havoc on what otherwise would be a truly flawless round.
HAVE WE MISSED ANY? DO LET US KNOW SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITES…….