Ask yourself this, when were you at your happiest?
Now that's a question. I don't mean knocking in a two footer to win the mid-week stableford, I mean looking back over your life and thinking; "I'm not sure I can be any happier than this"... Sometimes you don't realise it when you are living it. It's only when you look back on life you appreciate that that was the time of your life.
I can remember wheeling my super divider golf bag, full of a mixture of clubs from Woolworths 3,5,7,9, iron, some sort of battered sand wedge, Tony Jacklin Driver, some old hand-me-down 3 wood and an Arnold Palmer putter. I would walk out of the block of flats to Clapham Junction, get a bus to Putney then another bus to Roehampton. It must have looked strange in those days a young lad with both arms wrapped around a golf bag a trolley holding onto them as if they were the most important things in his life, they were. I would then walk what seemed like 25 miles down Priory Lane to the gates of Richmond Park. The view as I walked into the park was always pure joy. The beautiful colours, the smell of cut grass, watching the deer in the distance, walking, grazing, trotting, this was my second home for long school holidays, or days shall we say when I was not feeling well enough to attend Spencer Park School..
Playing 3 rounds a day with a short break for a Mars bar and a can of Coke, sometimes I would treat myself to a slice of heavy bread pudding. I was 15-16 years old, I had not had a grown up drink, nor had I done grown up things.. Hadn't smoked, anything. These were the days when the sun seemed to shine every day, my handicap was coming down nicely, I was the youngest player to be picked to play for my club (White lodge), I had a season ticket which meant I had unlimited golf to play on the two courses at Richmond Park, (Princes & Dukes). These were the days of fun without consequence.
To this day I cannot tell you what gave me the drive to make me play and practice so hard. Was it to get out of the concrete council estate? Was it to get away from my dad who, shall we say, used to find life difficult sometimes and took it out on me on what seemed like a daily basis. Even though we would spend hours of quality time together on the golf course, he was a man who I thought was truly frustrated that he never was brave or confident enough to get out of the concrete jungle. He was a shift worker at Gartons glucose factory, 2 days on, 2 days off, 6 till 6. We would drive to Richmond Park in his old beaten up Austin Wolseley. Sometimes it wouldn't start so dad had to use a starter handle to get the old thing going. Cracked leather seats and always playing was one of two big cartridge cassette tapes, Diana Ross greatest hits or Elvis Presley, live via satellite from Hawaii.
Even now some 40 years on hearing those songs take me back to sunny days driving to the golf course. Back in the 60s/70s it seemed that middle age, working class people just went through the same routine over and over. Mum had 3 different jobs in one day. Sunday mornings, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand or John Barry would be playing, dad would go down the pub about 11.30am, roast potatoes would be on the bar for the customer's and mum would prepare the Sunday roast and sometimes she would pop down for a G&T. Dad would come back about 3, eat and fall asleep in front of the telly.
Dad had a season ticket at Richmond Park also. If my mind serves me right the cost was £70.00 a year for unlimited golf. One day my dad said to me "ok son, YOU, YOU would need to renew your season ticket. O no, how on earth am I going to get 70 quid". If I don't I'm done for, and he meant it.
So more shifts as a paper boy, carrying the heavy Sunday morning papers up flights and flight of stairs, lifts were always broken. I must have had the only intelligent people in Battersea who could justify reading the Sunday times. And of course they always lived on the 14th floor. Those papers weighed a tonne. I also delivered taxi cab business cards and any other jobs I could get. Time was running out, I'm not going to be able to pay for my season ticket and that would be a complete nightmare for me.
Golf was the only thing I enjoyed doing. I was up to about £50.00 with about two weeks left. I thought I know what I would do. Go to them, they all knew me there and I would make some offer to pay the rest as quick as I could or I would work at the club, clean theirs cars, clean the club house, anything. I go to the office and speak to a really kind old boy who used to work there. It was like going to see the head master, I was so afraid he would say there was nothing he could do for me. So I went in there with my 50 odd pounds; "I would like to renew my season ticket for next year Sir but I don't have enough money?"
He looked at me with a confused look on his face and said, "You don't have enough money? Well how much do you have? Because a JUNIOR season tickets costs only £13.80".
"What, Oh, I'm sorry, what?"
You see my dad had always paid for my season tickets and I just thought they cost £70.00. Now that's when was I happiest? That time, that moment in time was the happiest day of my life? I was running, jumping, singing to myself. I can now do the only thing I cared about, playing golf with no restrictions for all of the next year and I had money in my pocket. Summer of 77...
Last Sunday we had the Captain & Pro play off. This is a four ball better ball stableford. To qualify for this event you would have had to beaten Andy and I throughout the season which saw 7 teams qualify.
We played 25 matches, lost 7, halved 4 and won 14.
The winners on a last 6 count back were Stewart Robertson and Paul Morgan playing with Paul Moran.
Playing golf with Andy this year was a complete pleasure. A very kind man, a thoughtful man with a lovely juvenile sense of humour and a tremendous sense of loyalty to this club. Also very generous, paying for over 100 breakfasts in his year.
It was a lot of fun playing our Captain & pro matches. I would personally like to thank everyone who played us this year, and look forward to what 2017 will bring.
Roll Up Revelation
Wimbledon Park are now following Augusta National, allowing women to play alongside the men. Peter Dawson
said "after a lot of thought I have decided to let Maria Diegan join in"
. How to chip from anywhere
Chipping really is an art that once honed to perfect, you can perform from anywhere regardless of the lie.Click here
to watch a video of me proving this.
I hope you enjoy. The countdown to Christmas starts now with our Christmas Ball Personalisation Offer
With the calendar ticking over into November, our attentions turn (begrudgingly for some) towards the festive Christmas season.
With that comes our first Christmas gift offer:
Buy a dozen balls from either Titleist or Srixon, and get a FREE
These make fantastic gift ideas for the golfers in your life, and once printed will be delivered FREE
of charge to us here in the pro shop for you to pick up at your convenience. Click here
to find out more or order your personalised Srixon Balls Click here
to find out more or order your Titleist Balls. Staying on the Christmas theme...
Now is the perfect time to launch our ever popular Pro Shop Christmas Draw. Make sure you drop into the pro shop and get involved to be in with a chance of winning some stunning prizes.New in the Pro Shop
With the cold weather seemingly now set in for the winter, we are in the process of taking in some brand new winter hats designed to keep you warm out on the course in any temperature.
Drop into the pro shop soon to check them out for yourself.We don't have what you're after?
Spending a few hours with the members and just chatting about anything and everything, it became clear that the shop sometimes takes for granted the fact that the members know that we can get them anything they want.
Please remember, many times your request for equipment is just one phone call away. Even if we don't stock it, the chances are we can get it for you.
Someone once said to me you don't play golf down the high street so why shop there.
We know your game, we are not here today gone tomorrow, myself, Dean and Tom are here to talk with you regarding anything from fitting you with a driver to sizing on club crested underpants.. From a re-grip service to re-spiking your shoes.
So no sweating on a parking ticket down at the local post office because you were not in when they delivered. No worrying about sending stuff back because it was not just right. Come and talk to us and don't worry if I can't get you what you need, I will tell you where you can get it. Click here
to get in touch if you have any questions, or click here
to visit my online retail site. Short game clinics, by Dean WingroveWednesday, 9 November
- 10.00-11.00, Short game area Saturday, 12 November
- 10.00 - 11.00, short game area Wednesday, 16 November
- 10.00-11.00, short game area Saturday, 19 November
- 10.00-11.00, Short game area Wednesday, 23 November
- 10.00-11.00, short game area Saturday, 26 November
- 10.00-11.00, short game area
These clinics will be limited to 8 players on a first come first served basis. £8.00
There is a sign-up sheet posted between the ladies locker room & office or you can book by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Call the Professional shop on 020 8946 4053 or just pop in and book.
I am very much looking forward to this next series of clinics!