Golf News and Comment

Politics & Golf UK: not a good mix

As the old saying goes “a week is a long time in politics“. For the current inhabitant of No 10 Downing Street simply getting through another 24 hours is solid grounds for immediately arranging another “work event“!!!

In anticipation of another party leadership contest every potential candidate will have his or hers entire lifetime of experience forensically examined. Seemingly critical qualifications such as school & university attended, career highlights, political values, which parts of Mayfair or Chelsea they actually own and most importantly their key supporters and powerful contacts.

Astonishingly no one aspiring to the highest political office in the land ever seems to get questioned on current golf handicap, favourite course or whether they prefer the Pro V1 or V1x. The simple explanation is that an interest in the finest sport known to man and woman is not deemed worthy of note by the candidates or the power brokers. This state of affairs is deeply concerning and must be addressed urgently if we ever hope to re-establish the UK’s reputation around the globe.

To find a man’s true character play golf with him“
P.G. Wodehouse

In the USA no fewer than 16 of the last 19 Presidents have been enthusiastic golfers. In stark contrast no British PM has shown any real interest in golf since Harold MacMillan back in the 60’s; save for a brief encounter between Barack Obama and David Cameron at The Grove near London.

We expect our elected representatives to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity; to compete hard but treat their opponents with respect. These are all the values drilled into every new golfer. If you are having a bad day on the course and the situation demands it you call a penalty on yourself. You don’t wait for a playing partner or opponent to call the penalty. You don’t get to launch an independent enquiry to assemble all the evidence in order to establish guilt or innocence. More likely you get hauled in front of the match committee for a friendly “reminder“ on the rules and etiquette expected from the club’s membership. At worst your reputation and standing in the golf community will be forever tarnished.

As every regular golf club member knows, how you conduct yourself and how you interact with your playing partners will be recalled long after your actual score is forgotten.
Not all great players are great golfers!!!!

I still fondly remember my interview with the then Secretary at my current club during the application process. A man of unimpeachable integrity, highly respected by all members and a fine player. Above everything else his key demands of every new member were to play for enjoyment but to always respect the traditions of the game. Being true to those values meant you always completed your round in a Medal. The suggestion that someone would NR in a medal was simply incomprehensible to him.

On the golf course, just as in life in general, you don’t quit just because the day has not gone your way. You have to tough it out. You need to find some grit, get to the 18th green and hold your head high in the clubhouse afterwards.

We all have some bad days; that’s what makes the good ones special.


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