Arwyn nearly
makes history

It’s always good to hear about politicians playing golf. It tends to humanise them a little, particularly if they are not much good at the game. But we weren’t prepared for the frank assessment of the golfing ability of Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond we heard in the clubhouse last Sunday.
You may well be puzzled how his name cropped up in a South Wales golf club but we were in the presence of Jim Borland, who recently moved down from the famous Scottish golfing town of Carnoustie to be near his two daughters who live in Penarth.
Jim’s accent is not easily decipherable but he was asking whether he’d be able to vote in the Scottish referendum and if not why not?
At the age of 81, he felt entitled to have a say in his homeland’s future but, I‘ve found out since, he can’t.
Jim was a long-term member at the fearsome Carnoustie links where he once played off ten. In fact, he said, he once played there with Alex Salmond.
‘What’s he like?’ we asked.
‘He’s a shit golfer’ said Jim.
Since that remark was made in the company of several golfers highly qualified to share that description, Mr Salmond mustn’t think we are getting at him but it is comforting to know that the Honourable Company of Shit Golfers has such a wide and varied membership.
The reason we were having a beer with Jim is that, in the winter league that morning, he and his partner, Roger Alban, had achieved a certain notoriety we were interested in hearing about.
Our winter league has a foursomes format in which each pair has to have a minimum combined handicap of 20 and the shot allowance is half the difference.
But if only one of a pair turns up he has to give full difference — a draconian rule, perhaps, but designed as a harsh punishment for non-attendance.
Jim, who is off 19, and Roger, who is off 24, were due to play Alan Davies and Steve Dorman. Steve has gone to Australia for a month and arranged for Arwyn Williams to sub for him.
Arwyn turned up at the appointed tee at the shot-gun start time of 9 am but Alan Davies, a former coach of the Welsh international rugby team was nowhere to be seen.
So he had to play Jim and Roger on his own. Arwyn plays off 12 and their combined is 43 so he had to give them 31 shots — that’s two shots on 13 holes and one on the rest.
Jim and Roger thought they’d be in the bar early but Arwyn didn’t seem to be thirsty and proceeded to play out of his skin. Arwyn used to be my bank manager and he gives bugger-all away and the boys found it very difficult to live with him.
So much so that he was three up with three to play. They had two shots on each of the remaining three holes and although Arwyn got a par on each of them they managed to get three bogeys/net birdies in a row to go all square.
The first sudden death hole was a par four and they had two shots on that one, as well. Arwyn was eight feet away for two but he missed the putt and got a par and Jim holed from three feet for another bogey/birdie.
It was nearly the best achievement in the annals of our winter league. There are vague memories of past individual excesses but no-one can remember anyone giving away that number of shots and winning.
Winter golf is hard but it does produce heroes.

2 thoughts on “Arwyn nearly
makes history

  1. Hi Peter,

    if you are considering launching the Honourable Company of Shit Golfers, please will you promise to send membership details? My only concern is that I may be, somewhat, over-qualified.



  2. Peter, I was so impressed with Arwyn play, a gross 74, net 62, that I have invested four pounds in his ability by having the honour of being his partner in the Stoddard Cup this year!

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