Golf course closed? Now what are you going to do?

The Scoop

Heavy rain across much of the UK has seen most courses rendered unplayable – and even if they are it's not a pleasant experience. The Niggle team discuss the alternative plans

Mark Townsend: Golf course closed? I’d ring round to see if anywhere was open, if not I’d tidy the garden while listening to house music. A nice juxtaposition of old man meets young, thrusting buck.

Dan Murphy: On the one hand, it’s been planned in, you’re out, it’s your quality time, you’re not expected elsewhere. On the other, you really are just standing around sipping coffee, talking about sport and wafting putters in the pro shop. You really ought to go home and use the time constructively.

Mark Townsend: I would just go home and seek some sympathy. And then drop it in to every conversation possible that I missed out and am still owed some ‘me time’. And get back to the garden and Larry Levan.

Dan Murphy: Yes, there’s a lot to be said for playing the martyr. I find if you rehearse on the way home you can get just the right tone.

Mark Townsend: “Oh, it doesn’t matter, there’ll be other times”, then stare into her soul to gauge her reaction. If there’s no sign of a re-scheduled round within 45 minutes then create an argument from nothing and sulk (in the garden).

Dan Murphy: A couple of years ago I was playing at Seacroft on a day like this. We drove through 100 miles of snowy fields and obviously once we got to Skegness it was clear and we could play. But it was freezing. We were playing with a lad who was an occasional golfer and all he had was a jumper and one of those old windcheater tops we all used to think were great back in the 90s. You have never seen anyone so cold.

Alex Perry: I played golf with Mark in Lapland.

Snow golf Alex Perry Lapland

Dan Murphy: Back in the day, I was that person who eventually wore down the greens chairman until he said people could go and play if they really wanted to. There’s no way I’d be bothered now. I’m not that guy any more.

Steve Carroll: Rage against the dying of the light.

Dan Murphy: Given you are at the club, with your competitive juices flowing, a trip to the snooker room is surely the only option?

Alex Perry: Yes, that’s what I need – another sport where I’m awful at getting the ball in the hole.

Mark Townsend: Snooker is brilliant to watch, an abomination to play. I’ve spent far too much time in the golf club snooker room trying to compile a break of more than three colours. Before then consoling myself that I’m ‘canny’ and sending the white back down to the baulk cushion wherever possible. And then losing 33-28.

Craig Middleton: Had a high break of 86. I don’t like to talk about it though…

Mark Townsend: Why are you so bad at pool then?

Mark Townsend: My general rule of thumb of trying to calculate someone’s actual highest break is to divide it by five and take away four. And a miss.

Alex Perry: I’m good at pool and awful at snooker.

Mark Townsend: Everyone is good at pool and awful at snooker. My mum, who is 82 and can’t walk, is good at pool and awful at snooker.

Alex Perry: And there is no way you have had a high break of 86, Craig. Are you sure you’re not thinking of bowling?

Mark Townsend: Thinking about it if golf was cancelled 10-pin bowling would be the perfect substitute. Five frames, two hours, drink some carbonated muck, moan about the size of the finger holes and go home.

Alex Perry: You don’t have your own bowling ball?

Mark Townsend: Should do, could have gone pro.

Joe Urquhart: I beat Craig at pool on the eve of the 2016 Open at Royal Troon.

Alex Perry: Was that in that pub where it you could buy two pints, play several games of pool and put a whole album’s worth of songs on the jukebox with change from a fiver?

Joe Urquhart: Happy memories, so the high break is a clear lie. I think he does have his own cue though so there’s that.

Alex Perry: Of course he does. In a little case. And his own chalk. Tries to get out of a snooker with a smart-arse trick shot, only to see the cue ball fly off the table and make its way loudly across the room.

Mark Townsend: Where is Craig anyway? Down the local snooker hall hustling Tony Drago out of a few quid?

Alex Perry: The former Leeds United left-back?

Mark Townsend: The Maltese Falcon.

Steve Carroll: I’m a league snooker player. That is all.

Mark Townsend: Do you want a biscuit?

Steve Carroll: How about a frame?

Mark Townsend: 10-pin bowling? Yes. Watching you amass a break of 12 while overly chalking your cue and complaining about non-existent kicks? No thanks.

Steve Carroll: I’ll pass on the bowling, thanks. I wear enough silly shoes out on the course.

Alex Perry: And off it.

Mark Townsend: Three frames of 10-pin bowling and whatever the total difference in points is the start for three frames of snooker? Loser buys lunch.

James Savage: One of the things that makes me saddest about my life is how infrequently I go bowling.

Mark Townsend: I pine for the days of afternoons lost with my large and natty shoes.

James Savage: 1995 was probably my best year for bowling. Basket of chicken and chips, bucket of coke and three frames for £5.

Mark Townsend: I was more of a 2002 kind of guy. I joined a gym upstairs in Finsbury Park just to give me an excuse for a midweek singleton bowl. Paid off when I set PB after PB, and developed a drink problem.

Joe Urquhart: I’d go home and play Tiger Woods ‘05 instead.

Alex Perry: Well that’s an error because ‘05 was awful. The series peaked at ‘04.

James Savage: Can we keep it about bowling please?

Alex Perry: When I show up to a golf club wanting to play golf only to find out I can’t play golf, all of a sudden the last thing I want to do is play golf. “Range is open.” Yes, mate. So is Hollywood Bowl.

James Savage: When I’ve mentally prepared to play golf only to be denied it takes me a while to get over it. I was the same with football. If the referee called it off for a frozen pitch at the last minute, I’d beg him to reconsider. I once suggested getting 26 people to piss on the pitch to thaw it out.

Alex Perry: If I wake up on a golf day and it’s hooling down with rain I’m usually relieved when I’m told I can’t play golf. Football is different because it’s easier to keep warm.

Alex Perry: On reflection, can I change “Hollywood Bowl” to “Livin’ on a Spare”?

Mark Townsend: “Alley Cats”.

James Savage: “No Pin Intended”.

Dan Murphy: So have we come to the conclusion that, should we show up at the club to find the course closed, we wouldn’t actually go and work on our game on the range?

James Savage: If football was cancelled we didn’t go and do kick ups in the car park. We went and had a full English at Morrison’s.

Alex Perry: One thing’s for sure, we wouldn’t be having this discussion if we worked for National Club Bowler.

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