You would be forgiven for thinking that the game of golf is a humdrum pursuit for boring baldy blokes. Because that’s exactly what it is.
And in a failed attempt to make themselves more exciting, these golfers wear bizarre hats, weird psychedelic striped trousers and knitted jerseys in colours such as “salmon pink” and “custard yellow”.
Not the sort of people who would gladly seek out a perilous thrill, then.
However, the H&P editor recently sent me a list of the world’s most dangerous golf courses.
For example, there is a one-hole golf course on the border of North and South Korea that sits right on the edge of a minefield. One stray electric golfcart, and you have a two-hole golf course.
Then there is the water hazard at Willows in Australia, where the 14th has a resident crocodile. The course also boasts a host of poisonous snakes and spiders, which has to make any golfer think twice about reaching into the hole to retrieve his ball.
A hand grenade was recently discovered on a course in Georgia that’s built on the site of an old army training area. That must make the greenkeeper a tad nervous as he trundles around on his ride-on mower.
There is also the occasional uninvited spectator to the game, like the adder that turned up in Surrey and bit a curious golfer who gave it a poke with his club. And the black bear who decided it was picnic time during the USPGA Senior Open in 2008 in Colorado.
Golfers at a famous course in South Africa tee off from a ledge atop a 1400 foot mountain. The only way to get to the tee is by helicopter, and from the moment the golf ball is struck it takes almost 30 seconds to hit the ground.
Whacking a wee ball from that height must be a bit of a novelty for the golfers. But with a $1million prize for a hole-in-one, the resort has to guard against cheating. As far as I can figure, they have a staff member near the hole so he can signal exactly where the ball has landed.
While it might be dangerous for the golfer swinging his club around at the edge of a cliff, it’s infinitely more perilous for the poor bloke at the pin who has golf balls raining on him at something approaching the speed of light.
And let me tell you, getting hit by a golf ball is no joke. I know, because I caught one on the backside once; it dropped me like a sack of spuds. More recently my 6-year old goddaughter swung a club like a pro, missed the ball, and caught her mother right on the side of the head. Ouch!
And that’s my point: you don’t have to seek out these dangerous courses abroad. In fact, I reckon Balbardie golf course in Bathgate should be right up there with the worst of them.
At Balbardie I have seen somebody almost have their head knocked clean off their shoulders by a stray ball. And – one of the funniest things ever seen – three “yoofs” scattering from the scything blades and erratic path of a wildly out-of-control, petrol driven, remote control helicopter. A big one.
And that’s just what goes on there during the day!
Yes, golf courses might be able to lay some claim to being “dangerous” places. But let’s face it; in reality a “hazard” on a golf course means either sand or water.
Wouldn’t it be an infinitely more exciting game with real hazards like hidden bear pits, concealed spikes in the bunkers, trip wires that activate paint bombs, and maybe a feral Doberman or two on the loose?
There should also be a rule that, if caught out on the course during a thunder and lightning storm, all golfers have to stand where they are, point their steel-shafted 9-irons skywards and chant: “Pick me! Pick me!”
After all, surely there should be some sort of penalty for inflicting those outrageous fashions and kiddie comic paintbox colours on the rest of society. It seems only fair, does it not?
AND WHILE we are on the subject of golfers; this joke just in:
Boab and Tam from Bathgate Golf Club had saved their money in a big jar to go on a golfing trip to Spain.
Standing outside the clubhouse of the Grassyass Golf Course near Puerto Pathetico, Boab nudges Tam. “Hey look, that’s big Sean Connery over there.”
And so it is. Boab approaches the big man and says: “Hey, Shawny, me an’ Tam are fae Bathgate Golf Club. Dae ye think we could hae a picture?”
Connery declines. “I don’t do that shhort of thing theshhe dayshh,” he explains.
“Aw come oan, Shawny. We jist want wan. We’ve come a’ the way fae Boghall!”
Connery relents. “Okay then, but jushht the one,” he says.
Boab hands Connery the camera, runs back to Tam and shouts: “Mind you get us both in, big man!”