In this edition of Fourball, James Savage, Alex Perry and Steve Carroll join me to discuss the highs and lows of Christmas and our favourite hobby…
Given it’s Christmas I’m going to give you £100 to spend on golf in any way, shape or form – how would you splash the cash?
James: I’m going to take my dad for a round somewhere nice. Maybe Lindrick or Hollinwell. I haven’t paid to play golf for a long time so would feel like I’m ‘giving something back’.
Alex: I’m going to spend an hour trying to pick a really nice polo shirt or sweater, then give up due to everything having an errant logo or a brief splash of colour I don’t like and buy balls and tees and stock up on those flapjacks that you can only buy in pro shops.
Steve: Can I have a bit more, please? I’d have big expansive ideas of a new bag, or a wheelbarrow full of Pro V1s, and then I’d remember that golf costs quite a lot of money would probably and settle for a dozen lake balls and a not-quite-top-of-the-range gilet. If I’ve got change, I’ll fling in a rain glove too.
My verdict: I’d see this as the start of a new dawn and chuck the whole lot at the pro behind the counter with the strict instructions to both break down my swing and then rebuild it by the time the clocks go forward.
Under what circumstances is it acceptable to play golf on Christmas Day?
Steve: If I could scale the locked fence at the club I would do this every year. It’s a perfect day for a quick nine holes. There’s no-one about, you’ve usually got some new gear to put to the test, and you can whizz round in about an hour. That’s exactly the time my other half is usually out of the house at the Christmas Park Run so everyone is a winner.
James: I’m not sure it’s acceptable. Not if you have a partner, especially not if you have children. Maybe if your other half played as well and you could go out together once the kids have all flown the nest.
Alex: I have done this a couple of times in the past – it’s the best day to play by a mile – but not a chance now I have offspring. I’ll have to just wait until she’s old enough to caddie for me.
My verdict: I think if my wife chucked me out then I could easily see myself teeing off at sun up, trying to cram in 36 holes before accepting a kindly offer of some Christmas lunch mid-afternoon and then getting home to do some mirror work before the Strictly Christmas Special.
What’s the worst golfing Christmas present you’ve ever received?
Alex: If it’s been made, I’ve received it from a well-intentioned aunt who almost certainly spends every Christmas standing in Debenhams asking herself: “What does Alex like?” The worst I got has to be that little putting game you play on the toilet. Anyone who has that in their bathroom should have their internet history thoroughly examined.
Steve: A very well-meaning relative bought me an indoor putting mat one year and I knew as soon as it came out of the box that it would never experience the feeling of ball on astroturf. The fake grass was as thick as a hedge. It remains in exile somewhere in my garage.
James: I once received a ‘laser’ rangefinder which was basically a small telescope which claimed to calculate the distance to the flag based on how big the flag looked through said telescope. So if it was really small you were 200 yards away. If it was quite big you were 50 yards away. Despite my best efforts, I never really got my numbers dialled in with it.
My verdict: In 1983 a relative gave me a dozen ‘Harrods’ balls, six yellow, six white, which was odd as I was unaware that she shopped there and also they didn’t seem to launch like a Dunlop 65. Harrods never did break into the ball market and I never got through those dozen balls.