My name is Mark Townsend, and I’m a golf hoarder.
You hear a lot about de-cluttering this, that and everything else these days. There are TV programmes about it, endless books written on the subject and there are most likely a collection of apps that all probably tell you to put your phone down.
The bottom line being that less is more and there’s no need to hang on to your maths text books from 1986 in case, at some point, you want to pass on your fading knowledge of quadratic equations.
There is no need to have a heap of old bank statements or pay slips or car insurance forms from 2005 – most of them are still in their envelopes so it won’t create too much upheaval in your life if you simply put them in the bin.
If you could just set aside some time then all of these things are doable. The mental juggling of whether it’s OK to consign a birthday card from a neighbour to your then two-year-old daughter into the dustbin shouldn’t be a long process and, before you know it, you can get into that drawer again.
So what of the golf hoarder?
Then there’s your golfing paraphernalia and, very quickly, the lines become a little blurred. Then you go into Armageddon mode which is strange given how, if the final curtain was about to come down, then you probably won’t need a couple of spare, used wet-weather gloves.
The thinking is that one day you will turn at least one room of your house into some sort of golf hoarder cave where all of these things can be housed in an appropriate manner. That caddie bib that Sergio signed in 2008 can be suitably framed and can sit alongside your Open flag from Birkers and that photo of you and three distant friends on the bridge that spans the Swilcan Burn.
When your big day finally comes around there will be special cupboards for all your tees, pitchmark repairers, a couple of Sharpies, some spare laces, pencils, goodie bag pouches, bag tags from exclusive courses that are so posh that you’re too embarrassed to have them anywhere near your bag, all manner of gloves and spare spikes even though you’ve been going spikeless for the past five years.
As things stand all of these things sit in one large box in the garage that remains untouched from one year to the next.
A rough guess is that there are 300 tees, either bagged, untouched, used or broken, which are mainly the consequence of grabby raids on a collection of 1st tees over the years and also why you have 20+ pitchmark forks that will never get the chance to be prodded into any putting surface.
And at the last count I only have two feet so why I feel the need to keep hold of some shoes that were too tight seven years ago heaven only knows.
Somewhere in my pathetic psyche all of this is some sort of badge of honour, the Imelda Marcos of size 11 golf shoes, all laid out next to each other.
Then there is the reality that this is just my garage where only I go, all bar two of the shoes actually fit and even if they were housed in the Tate Gallery with intelligent lighting nobody could care less about them.
Christ alive, why have I got so many balls?
Again I can only use one at a time. I generally play at a course where it is pretty much impossible to lose a ball, unless you get a dose of the laterals, and even on a particularly bad day you might lose four balls. Times that by 15 which is approximately how often you play a year and you should start to relax that 200+ balls that date back to the last century will get you through the year.
A few months ago I bought three of those plastic tubes – not one just in case I ever ventured to a practice ground which I have done once in the past 15 months, or two in case I really wanted to get down and dirty, but three. These now prop up the back row of the shoes to show them off a bit better.
Onto clothes or, because we’re talking about golf clothes, apparel. These infiltrate every corner of my house and pop up when you’re least expecting it. You can be quietly minding your own business in your bedroom when a dreadful, stretchy polo with some even worse embroidery from a golf day in 2010 is suddenly unearthed.
How this made it into my bag on the way home is beyond words. How she’s still knocking about nine years on is not even a mystery, it’s more of an illness.
What about those baby-blue trousers that you’ll never get the weather, never mind the waistline, to ever slip into? The days of a 34-inch waist are long gone, never to be seen again. Your 36s are pretty much irrelevant now so have a bit of self-awareness and give the local charity shop a small bundle of bits that they’ll struggle to get rid of for less than a pound.
You looked terrible in 2009, in 10 years’ time you’ll say the same about your latest clobber, so just say farewell to that crested blouson from the bargain bucket at some remote outpost in Scotland.
If anything sums up my disposition then it’s a 24-degree Titleist 585 hybrid which was last hit on a course around 2012. For once a positive image flashes into my head, a 280-yard smash from the first cut to the 18th at Ballyliffin to secure a two-putt birdie and a half in 2009.
What I should be telling myself is that it was sitting up like a coconut as I had just skied my drive, with the same club, and there was 30-miles-an-hour of wind behind me. And it was bouncy. And it was one of the very few times that because of the extra-stiff shaft, which I would try and shoehorn into any conversation, I could very rarely flight it anything other than low and right, despite its loft.
What I keep telling myself is how nice it would look when mounted in the golf cave with a short inscription of that shot.