It's the little things: How to lose your dignity at the golf club
In this edition of Fourball I’m joined by Alex Perry, Steve Carroll and James Savage to discuss our lack of self-awareness when it comes to getting something for nothing…
You’re playing somewhere nice and there is a bucket of tees by the 1st tee. How many do you help yourself to?
Alex: I’ve always found this hilarious. Tees are, what, a couple of quid for a massive bag? But, given the amount we spend on the equipment to hit the ball, it’s nice to save where you can. Anything more than a handful looks a bit desperate.
Steve: If the coast is clear, I’m a man taking on a yard of ale. It’s not just tees, either. Ball markers, course guides, bananas – I’ll have a piece of everything on offer. If there’s surveillance, then a small handful seems about right from an etiquette point of view.
James: I’d be tempted to ditch a waterproof jacket to make space for as many as possible. You can never have enough tees.
My verdict: In the past I’ve disgraced myself where I’m only one moral step short of backing the car up, opening the boot and shovelling every single item on that tee box into it. In the event of a nuclear war I’ll be just fine for tees and ball markers.
You’re playing somewhere nice, again, and your group are sharing a forecaddie. How much do you hog him?
Steve: I don’t. Even though they know every inch of the course, and every subtle break on a green, I like to get on with it in solitary fashion. After all, they can’t know from one shot how far I hit a 6-iron.
Alex: I reckon the two times I’ve ever used a caddie they’ve saved me a combined 40 shots. I’ve never shared a caddie but I’d be happy to ask for tips, nothing more. One time I had a caddie, that I’d paid for, and one of the other players in my fourball kept asking him for advice. That was annoying.
James: I’m very needy so will be after his ear on every shot. I play my best golf when someone else is making all of the decisions. But I’d settle for a read on every putt over any other advice or instruction.
My verdict: If he’s there and within earshot, so 150 yards of me, then I’ll probably be in his ear. Only last year my oldest golfing friend and I shared a fore caddie and the third member of the group didn’t get a look in. He was basically counselling us by the back nine. I’m particularly grabby when it comes to putting as this seems the easiest part of the game to point the finger when it all goes wrong.
How guilty are you of turning a quick chat with the pro in his shop, his place of work, into a free lesson?
James: Can’t say I’m guilty of this one. My pro shop chats are strictly equipment-based, if anything I’m the one doing all of the talking and being asked for advice. Then I’ll grab a few pencils on the way out for my troubles.
Steve: If this was a crime, I’d be swinging from the gallows.
Alex: Guilty as charged, m’lud! The assistant at my club back home is a friend so I’ll always try and sneak in some tips on my takeaway. Only if it’s just the two of us in there, though, I don’t want any old schmuck eating into my lesson time.
My verdict: I’m not sure I’m as bad on this front as others and, in particular, you two scumbags. There’s not enough time in the day to just gather a couple of throwaway tips and put it into action, I’d prefer a one-to-one, warm-weather workout in Dubai with just the two of us if we’re going to make some proper inroads.