I was first introduced to this 18 hole Japanese outdoor boardroom when it was learnt that our new boss was an enthusiast (as compared to proficient player) and if we wanted our career graphs to putt forward we’d better buy a bag and club on regardless. We were young then and hungry for ambition so we put away the cards that our incumbent adored and decided that from now on we would bridge our fortunes along the links of life.
That the no-trumps head of department still had three weeks to handing over time is a testimony to the callousness of youth. In corporate jargon it is called “killer instinct” and “going for the jugular.” I preferred the third choice: doing your own thing.
Golf was suddenly our own thing.
Consequently, over the next few weeks the course was spangled with company men all getting their act together for the new boss, all believers that more topflight decisions were made on the 17th hole than at the annual general body meeting. It was also strongly rumoured that our leader-to-be had been quoted: “A man’s real fibre is best judged on a golf course under pressure.”
We had all resolved to be more fibrous than breakfast cereal, and flagging interest (there was lots of that) was buoyed up by mutual reassurances. Isn’t this fun? Exercise and play together.
Some four weeks into it the golf boss rather rudely despatched himself to that golf course in the sky thanks to a particularly messy bypass surgery and his replacement thought sport was a dirty word.
But in that month we did receive an education in the rudiments of the game of presidents and kings and, therefore, I feel qualified in listing my version of what it all means. At the end of the study of my interpretations you may not be a better player but you’ll know how it feels to be an “enthusiast.”
Fore: Originally a warning cry indicative of great prowess. F-o-rr-el ! Watch out everyone here comes a little white missile. In beginners, indicative of often unrequited high hope, usually reduced by slice, top-ping, undercutting or simply miss-ing the ball to a mere “Twoo”, or “Twooo and a half”, if you get my drift.
Tee (1): Place on course from where it all begins except that some-times it doesn’t. Hence, the term “teed off”, meaning annoyed and frustrated beyond reasonable limits. Tee (2): A little plastic cup also known as the devil’s own work.
Fairway: The thin, narrow swathe of real estate where the ball should land but doesn’t. Given the name because it neither shows the way nor is it fair.
Out of Bounds: Huge magnetic fields on the edges of the Fairway that attract the ball with incredible intensity, often never to return.
Par: Some romantic fool’s idea of how the average guy plays the game.
Green: Envy area wherein bad things start happening to otherwise excellent performance.
Spectators: Cause of lapse in concentration.
Opponent: Cause of missed three-foot putt. He was talking. Wind, Sun, Shadows, Cloud movement: Cause of missed six-inch putt.
Caddy: The know-all who knows it all and sneers his way into the player’s heart. For some reason, considering he has all the answers, why doesn’t he play?
Grip: Control on oneself after ball has rolled off the green. Hence, the sentiment: get a grip on yourself.
Stance: Stoic attitude taken after the wood club has taken driven ball to 95-yard mark and stopped it there.
Philosophy: It’s not the game, it’s the taking part.
Reality: It’s the game.
Handicap: Let’s not even discuss it.
Eagle: An aspiration to which few can dare.
Birdie: Worth two hours of boring buttonholing at clubhouse.
Ball: White, spherical object with evil mind of its own. Deeply resistant to falling into cup. Great propensity for balancing on rim of cup, skirting over rim or skying away.
Stroke: What you risk getting when you are 7 on a par 4 hole.
Dogleg: Mental condition when the back nine call for a miracle just to come in on the handicap.
Golf widow: Wife who could do lots of things with the clubs her husband is wedded to.
Hole in One: Stuff that dreams are made of. . . usually occurs when the world is looking elsewhere.
Apres-golf bonhomie: Peculiar belief that everyone wants to hear of the perils of the seventh par 5.
Golfing Fraternity: Groups at par-ties who speak of nothing else.
Putter: Golfer’s scapegoat.
Nineteenth hole: A time for honest fibbing. – Khaleejtimes