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Monday, August 03, 2009

Do you know, there are some people out there who claim that golf is a difficult game. Those people have no idea what they're talking about...

I think the key to a decent tee shot is to forget that you're being filmed the moment you strike the ball, panic that you've broken your brother's expensive driver, and then camp it up like something out of Saturday's Pride parade. Oh, and if you can look like a fat tramp, that helps too.

But the PGA aside (that's the Phil Gardner Academy of Golf), I had a very nice evening on Friday. It was the night before Pride, or as one of my friends put it, Gay Christmas Eve. That was shortly before he told me about his plans to become a Country & Western superstar and sing about cowgirls with Hep C. It was a strange kind of night. But we spent an enjoyable few hours in a bar on the seafront, discussing pharmacy related issues and watching pre-Pride revellers queue around the block for the nightclubs opposite. I should do it more often. But preferably not when I've got to be up early the next morning.

As luck would have it, we were due in St Leonards for the weekend to celebrate my birthday (three days late) by eating large amounts of pizza and cake with my brother and his family. So having staggered home at midnight through crowds of men in hotpants and body paint, I was up at dawn on Saturday to drive my appetite along the coast for a couple of days.

Within seconds of walking through the door of my parents' bungalow, I could tell that Amelie was expected. My Dad had nailed sheets of hardboard to the front of all his bookcases. What I didn't expect was to be challenged to a round of golf within half an hour of arrival. If I had, I might have dressed slightly differently. The Sedlescombe Golf Club near Battle in Sussex enforces a strict dress code of collared shirt, trousers and appropriate footwear. I had a t-shirt, jeans and trainers. And I hadn't even shaved. Or had much sleep. Frankly I looked like a down and out. But my brother said he'd sneak me in anyway.

Fortunately the 9-hole par 3 course was deserted. And it soon became apparent why: everyone else had seen the weather forecast. But the good thing about standing under a tree halfway down the third fairway in the middle of a torrential downpour, is that you finally realise why golfers carry those massive umbrellas. And I'm pleased to say that my brother had one. Locked away in the boot of his car.

Anyhoo, we didn't let the rain dampen our spirits. Although it saturated our clothes. Here I am tasting success with my tongue hanging out...

... while my brother managed to snap this shot of me missing a long putt by the tiniest of margins...

Putting Me Off
Obviously if he'd pressed the button three seconds later, you'd have seen the ball sailing straight past the hole, off the green and into the bunker, but sport is all about timing, and he got that one spot-on.

Anyway, I can't say who won the match for legal reasons, but considering I lacked the clothes, the equipment, the training, and the basic talent required to play the game, I think I did pretty well.

As for the rest of the weekend, that was mostly spent eating, interspersed with moments of indigestion, but I did manage to pause long enough to work out how to use my new video camera. I shot a very nice scene on Sunday morning of Amelie and my niece playing together in the living room. It went on for about ten minutes, included lots of arty zooming and panning, and I spent the whole time thinking how lovely it would look on my widescreen TV. After which I attempted to change the camera settings without reading the instructions, and promptly deleted it. But hey, I've still got my memories. And plenty of room on my memory card.