How we saved the captain’s blushes

Welcome to the Hacker’s new home on the internet where nothing will change apart from the extra amount of space able to be devoted to the subject of golf’s down-trodden.
For those who haven’t previously followed the Hacker in the Independent on Sunday over the past 14 years this will be an insight into the actual sufferings of a high handicap golfer down on his luck.
And because the column is now available on a Monday I am able to bring fresh news of the Hacker’s adventures over the previous weekend.
Yesterday’s was one of the most eventful — involving the captain of my club, The Glamorganshire, and the man who runs our winter league whose name is Peter James. Peter is a retired dentist whose nickname of Jammy I presumed to be something to do with his surname but now I realise is more to do with what a lucky sod he is.
As tradition demands, in this session of the winter league Jammy is playing with the captain, Jim Corsi, which is something of an imbalance in that Jammy is 5 feet 2 inches tall and Jim, a former rugby second row of some repute, is six feet six inches.
They are known as the twins because they resemble the actors in a film of that name starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny le Vito.
But Jim, who plays off ten, and Jammy, who plays off 18, take themselves seriously as contenders for a top prize. Their results thus far haven’t supported this view but there was no doubt they were pretty confident yesterday against me and my 26 handicap partner Bob Colley.
Even the prospect of having to give us 13 shots didn’t diminish their optimism and over breakfast in the clubhouse beforehand the captain declared very loudly that if they didn’t beat us he would show his arse in Queen Street.
Since neither Bob and I were at breakfast we weren’t aware of this boast until we reached the refreshment hut by which time we were three up with four to play.
News of our display had got around the course by now and those in the refreshment hut were contemplating erecting a temporary spectator stand in Queen Street which is Cardiff’s main thoroughfare. Jim and Jammy could barely eat their hot-dogs for thought of the ignominy awaiting them.
Because there are over 100 of us we have a shot-gun start and we were off the 13th which is the best part of a mile walk over the steep hill that dominates our course.
By the time we’d trudged through the frosty grass Bob and I were not exactly full of beans and duly went one down but in a burst of uncharacteristic good play we won the next four holes to go three up.
They fought back to reduce our lead to one but with Bob hitting some great fairway shots we then played well to restore our three hole advantage.
With four holes to play we thought we had a famous victory in sight but three times we were in two putts of winning. On each occasion, I putted up short and each time Bob missed the match-winning putt. He was distraught but I claimed full responsibility for not leaving the first putt stone dead.
With the game all square we then went to the first sudden death hole, a short par three. Jim stuck his tee shot ten feet from the hole. I squelched mine short and left.
In a valiant attempt to chip the ball close, Bob executed a double hit and we lost the game. There was a slight delay before our opponents came to shake hands because they were laughing so much.
Next weekend I am being substituted by Coleman, a ten handicapper, which should help our cause. I will be over in Ireland as part of the Royal Porthcawl party who will be fulfilling an age-old fixture against Portmarnock.
The two clubs exchange visits every year to coincide with Ireland playing Wales in the Six Nations.
We’ll play golf on Saturday and watch the rugby on Sunday. I can’t imagine a better weekend.

21 thoughts on “How we saved the captain’s blushes

  1. Pete, so pleased you found a home for your hidden gem of a column which will be sorely missed in the Sindy, especially by yours truly who helped to found it all those years ago and who has tittered and guffawed weekly ever since. I’m the kind of part-time player who can only dream of being regarded as a downtrodden hacker and who enjoys the occasional vicarious pleasure of acting caddie to a talented son. Look forward to reading about your coming (mis)adventures. Cheers Neil


  3. He is Jammy by name and by nature. Be thankful he didn’t start reciting poetry to you or singing silks from the musicals.

  4. Peter, about 6 months ago I wrote to you complaining how often you used the annual Stableford story in your column….it seemed like every 3 weeks. However I should have apologised as in reality it doesn’t matter….I have enjoyed your column for a number of years, searching it out each week, and now have this site in my favourites. Keep it up…

  5. Hi Peter,
    Many congratulations on attaining independence from the Independent.
    You have given good golfers as well as hackers many laughs over the years and I look forward to reading further tales of wow.
    Hearing of the terrible plight of Bob’s double hit and The Captains howling reminded me of the time I did something similar in a first team match at Caerphilly about 15 years ago.
    I still fear a repeat of that shot every time I stand over a lob shot…..playing off scratch does not mean you can be immune from self doubt and the dreaded golfing gremlins.
    15 years of continual practise has seen ” no improvement!”.
    Keep your fingers talking on the keyboards of golfing life for many years to come.


  6. Excellent. I too am a 28 handicapped hacker and share your enthusiasm and delight for the great game of golf. I have been playing for 3 years now, twice a week and love it and continue to hope that one day i will reduce my handicap. Thank you for your insight and enthusiasm.

  7. You improve weekly,l,ve seen the Captain,s backside so for once I,m happy you lost. I wish you a great weekend,if you break 100 atPortmarnock I,ll show anything anywhere. All things to you hero,Bob.

  8. I’m fairly fit, but whatever club I use – even a driver off the tee – the ball never travels further than 175 yards at most. Yet people say my swing looks OK. It’s maddening.

  9. Peter, welcome back. Great to find you are still at it after the Independent on Sunday. Keep up the good work.

  10. Top hole Peter, as always. Delighted The Hacker is now likely to be getting an even larger audience than before. Best wishes, Alan.

  11. Have just found your website and as I have never read the Independent it came as a wonderful surprise. I am also a 28 handicapper. As I am in my 80th year I don’t think I will lower it in the foreseeable future. I wonder if your partner is related as we share the same surname. I am originally from Poplar in East London. Just a thought.Steve Colley

  12. Hi Pete, Great to hear that you are out of “The Heath” and recovering well I am told. Good to read your latest missive so it shows you can never keep a good man down. Look forward to seeing you in the Henry Howell bar before too long.
    Off to France with the “Chips” tomorrow for 5 days. Have “J J J Jeff” in my car so there will be plenty of arguments (before we get to the Severn Bridge) and loads of moans about lost balls because he hits them out of sight and not very often straight!!
    Best wishes Pete and see you soon. Pob hywl, Arwyn.

  13. Hi Peter
    I am so pleased to have located your website ,and look forward to catching up with previous hacking stories . Also of course, so pleased to speak to you recently and hearing of your great progress following that big bad op.!
    Looking forward to future writings and to seeing you in Trap 2 at Royal Porthcawl once your taste buds have recovered sufficiently to enjoy a pint of ” back passage ‘ !


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