Madeleine Winnett: Inspiration from a dung beetle

Golf Equipment

Why a dung beetle has hopefully spurred me on to greater things

Next time round, I have decided that I want to come back as a dung beetle! Now I know, even by my standards, that opening is a little bizarre, but I have just seen a nature programme, and dung beetles are a role model for everyone.

Admittedly, their diet is a little unsavoury and their particular penchant for elephant dung doesn’t seem to have an immediate affinity with me, so I’m not saying there aren’t any flaws in my plan, but I am still suitably impressed. And golfers can learn a lot from these little creatures.

They are just so focused on their mission. I watched this one little chap rolling his perfectly symmetrically created ball of dung – which for someone with zero aptitude in the kitchen is impressive enough in itself – seemingly miles.

Then, unfortunately, it toppled down a ravine since, despite his phenomenal strength and dexterity, he couldn’t see where he was going as it was so much taller than him.

Time and time again he climbed down to retrieve it, heaved it all the way up to the top of the overhang, only for it to slip agonisingly out of his grasp again.

But nothing was going to deter him.
There was no club throwing, no standing with his hands on his hips, no anguished cries of ‘It’s too hard, give me more shots in my buffer zone.’ He just rolled up his proverbial sleeves and got on with it. When he finally managed to heave it over the top, I felt so relieved I wanted to throw a party!

Just imagine how much better your golf would be if you had that attitude in practice. No matter how many times it goes wrong, if you are so focused on the end result you don’t let any setbacks deter you from carrying on to achieve your goal, it would be brilliant.

Of course, some people already go out of their way to achieve what they want, and not by employing entirely ethical tactics.

For example, when Ulrika Jonsson made her infamous and much-publicised comments about Sven-Goran Erikson’s prowess in the bedroom being as interesting as constructing Ikea furniture, I thought it was appalling to humiliate someone in such a public way, in nothing more than a cheap stunt to try to sell a few more copies of her book?

I’m a huge fan of Bear Grylls and have an ever-growing library of his books. One of his maxims is ‘How you speak about others speaks loudest about yourself’ – something which Ms Jonsson might like to consider. I have made my disdain of Tiger Woods very clear over the years, but I have often thought about what would have happened if I had been the first person to discover all his indiscretions.

And I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have reported them.

That probably makes me a useless journalist and entirely unemployable by Max Clifford – though I do have to admit to a certain amount of satisfaction that the aforementioned Mr Clifford is now enduring much of the treatment that he meted out to so many others in the past!
I think that all high-profile sportsmen, politicians etc are incredibly stupid to have affairs, because there is a very high chance they will be found out and exposed – just not by me!

Technically, I call myself a golf journalist, but on reflection I have now decided that I don’t fit the bill at all. I just don’t have the natural curiosity to ask other people about themselves.

I thoroughly enjoy my work and have been lucky enough to interview some of the top names in ladies’ golf but it probably takes me longer to think of 10 questions in advance than it takes for a men’s fourball to play 18 holes.

I would also be useless as an interviewer on TV. I have no interest in knowing how someone feels about winning a tournament.

I take it as a given that they are really happy.

In fact, I would like to make it a capital offence for any reporter to ask any player a question which begins ‘How do you feel…?’ because I think it is lazy and completely unimaginative.

With TV technology these days, we could even have Britain’s Got Talent style Xs to buzz reporters off as soon as they ask the ‘feel’ question. What we should do is ask readers for a list of questions they would like to hear the answers to.

Because I’m a geek, I want to know what techniques they use to control their nerves standing over that last knee-knocking putt so that I can transfer that to my own game.

I want to know when they have just knocked one out of bounds how they manage to smile sweetly (Tiger excepted, of course!) when they would rather bury their club in the head of the nearest spectator.

So, now that I’ve established that I am largely unemployable, I had better revert to Plan B. So, what have I done with the zoo opening times? I suddenly seem to have developed an unexpected yearning to visit the elephant enclosure!

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