When Golf I didn’t love it

I was reading an article written by a golf journalist about why he is lapsing his handicap and no longer playing the game. Amongst the “it just isn’t fun anymore” reasons he explained:

“I find myself liking less and less the small minded pedants and tin pot dictators who over populate so many clubs in order to satisfy their own egomania rather than making the game fun and accessible for as many people as possible come immediately to mind”.

The most visited post on this blog is the one about Channel 4’s Cutting Edge – The Club. I think that people from other countries just don’t believe the content. The film is on Netflix, and via the All4 app – please take a look at it. It’s one of the most fascinating hour’s watching you’ll ever have. Amongst some of the commentary on this film is the opinion of one man that:

“Golf provides the opportunity for the disappointed to achieve some kind of prominence. I feel that half the problem is that the wrong people put themselves forward and get onto governing bodies and I think a lot of them do that because it is the only opportunity they’ve had in life to have some sort of influential position”.

Now to when golf I didn’t love it. A couple of years ago I innocently fell foul of someone in golf and what had been complete unconditional love of golf since the age of 7 turned sour. And as a consequence I did something which I really regret.  One of my pride and joys was my extensive golf book collection which had first editions going back to the 1930s and some valuable signed copies.

In that state I picked up the phone and rang a specialist book dealer and he came to view the collection. He was a kind man, but a businessman. He saw that something was not right wanting to get these books out of my life. And he played devil’s advocate. “I only want some of these” he said “I’ll take the rest and bin them for you”. And he picked out the first editions, the signed Peter Alliss autobiography and several others of considerable value. “Fifty pounds the lot” he said, expecting that would provoke me to shriek in pain.

Miserably, I agreed and bewildered he silently picked up the books, left the five ten pound notes behind and left shaking his head.

A few months later when the wounds began to heal  I logged into eBay and found a first edition signed Walter Hagen book sold for over four hundred dollars to a collector in America.

The bookseller didn’t take the rest for scrap, he left them behind. I was lucky. Ernie Els had had a chat with me while signing an instruction book, a nice memory, and that had been left. Alister Mackenzie’s precious The Spirit of St Andrews had somehow been left behind too. I wish I still had Curt Sampson’s masterpiece Hogan, but that was sold.

Which leads me to appreciate what I have left all the more. It will take years to replace these books, and all because of the misery which was inflicted which caused me to reject a lifetime’s passion for golf. Which makes me wonder this – why do we all say we love golf, but we don’t love each other?Just why do some people in golf have to be so snobby and judgmental and devious to fulfil their own sense of self importance? Because they get off on the superiority of their petty position and power. It’s the same thing over again “you’re not one of us, be off with you”. I completely agree that often the wrong people are attracted to positions of influence in this game, and it is they who give it the bad reputation it has amongst the wider public who won’t touch it with a barge pole, which is why the sport is in such decay.


My mother, who had been there that dreadful day when the bookseller came, gave me a birthday present this month.

She pointed to a large carton which she had brought for me and told me to open it.

Inside was my beloved copy of Curt Sampson’s Hogan, books about Bobby Locke, Peter Thomson, Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones and even the first edition Walter Hagen autobiography. I could hardly breathe.

It seems that she had stopped the man at the door and gave him fifty pounds of her own to leave the books behind. She had taken them away and hidden them for the right time.

And later, she gave them back to me as a birthday present. Now there is a top mother who sees their child making a big mistake, just because they are hurting, and does something about it.

I noticed that the signed Peter Alliss autobiography wasnt there, so she hadnt been able to wrest that from under his arm. Go – in peace – Peter.




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