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Partridge on a Par 3

Meet Mortimer Merriweather – scourge of everyone from the Pope to Putin

The frustrations of one disgruntled high handicapper have been distilled into a new book, ‘Two Ruddy Ducks and a Partridge on a Par 3’

 

What do Vladimir Putin, Novak Djokovic, and Augusta National have in common?

They have all received letters from one disgruntled high-handicapper, whose correspondence has now been assembled into a new book.

Flowing from the pen of Mortimer Merriweather, the dispatches form ‘Two Ruddy Ducks and a Partridge on a Par 3’, written by golf writer Clive Agran.

The title references a letter written to the British Ornithological Trust in which Mortimer seeks support for changing the nomenclature for scores over par from bogey, double bogey, triple bogey and quadruple bogey to ‘partridge’, ‘great tit’, ‘ruddy duck’ and ‘shag’, respectively.  

To give you a flavour of what else is in store, NCG can present two of the letters from the book – a plea to Bomber Command to help create features on a golf course being built on otherwise flat terrain, and an entreaty to the British Museum on the origins of the game…

Partridge on a Par 3

Here’s a flavour of Two Ruddy Ducks and a Partridge on a Par 3

‘It was whilst watching ‘Apocalypse Now’ that the idea came to me’

Dear Head of Bombing 48th Fighter Wing, RAF,

I’m considering building a brand-new golf course and have an option to purchase what is presently a sheep farm on Romney Marsh, Kent. However, I’ll need some help and that is why I’m writing to you.

The 150-acre farm is ideal for golf in every respect other than it is almost completely flat. Although flatness might be a significant advantage in an airfield, it is quite definitely a disadvantage in a golf course.

I’ve looked at the landscaping option and, frankly, it is simply too costly to move hundreds of tons of earth about.

It was whilst watching ‘Apocalypse Now’ that the idea came to me. Presumably you are always looking for new areas on which to practise your bombing. So, how about dropping a few cluster bombs and daisy cutters on my proposed golf course? Although it would be nice if they could be precisely targeted to create, for example, suitable greenside bunkers, frankly, it wouldn’t matter too much where they landed, provided of course that they didn’t stray onto the nearby housing estate or main road, as collateral damage is probably best avoided.

In return for your help, I’m happy to offer the pilots who actually drop the bombs complimentary membership of my club and all other USAF and RAF personnel, 50 per cent off the usual green fee.

‘There was a very old bone that had been fashioned into something akin to a lob wedge’

Dear British Museum (Early Man Department)

You may or may not be aware that there is some confusion and dispute about the origins of golf and in which country it was first played. The Scots would have you believe that they invented it, as would the Dutch, American Indians, Mongols, Greeks and many others. Considerable national prestige is the prize to be won by the country that can prove that it’s the only true originator of the game.

All the above leads me on to a rather extraordinary find I made last month whilst playing in my club’s midweek Stableford. Rather uncharacteristically for me, since I tend to draw the ball rather than fade it, I sliced my drive into the trees on the right side of the par four 14th. My suspicion is that I probably took the club back outside the line and failed to bring it back to square on impact.

Since the ball was a pretty decent one, I ventured into the woods in search of it. Although I never in fact found it, what I did discover was indeed quite remarkable.

First of all, there was a very old bone that had been fashioned into something akin to a lob wedge. There will, I know, be sceptics who will say that it is just an old bone that happens to resemble the shape of a golf club. However, close inspection of the top of the bone reveals heavy scratch marks.

The significance of these is quite clear to me. If indeed what I found was an early, say Neolithic golf club, it would have been used during a particularly wet period in the earth’s history.

Heavy rain will have rendered the club slippery and early man, without the benefit of modern all-weather grips, will have needed to improve adhesion by effectively roughing up the top of the club. This will have given him a competitive edge 12 and, who knows, improved his chances of capturing the Club Championship and mating with whoever he chose from the women’s section.

Before you dismiss this as pure speculation, you should examine the ‘ball’ I found nearby. Although considerably heavier and with far fewer dimples than the modern equivalent and almost certainly less responsive around the green, it would undoubtedly have done the job.

It occurred to me that an ancient predecessor of mine might have entered the self-same wood, searching for his ball, some several thousand years earlier and been attacked by a sabre-toothed tiger.

Given the likely historical significance, I’m reluctant to post the objects. Would it be possible to bring them along and show them to an expert?

Two Ruddy Ducks and a Partridge on a Par 3 is priced £9.99 and can be bought here.

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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