Jilted at
the first tee

It’s not only brides that get jilted — it can happen to golfers. There I was early last Sunday morning walking towards the clubhouse in the happiest of moods because not only was it not raining the sun was shining out of a clear blue sky — a rare event in these waterlogged days.

I’d been asked to be a substitute in the winter league for Simeon who is in the Welsh Guards and had to be on duty last weekend. I gladly accepted because I hadn’t had a game for a couple of weeks and my partner would be my old friend Porky.

He is still my friend despite my denouncing him as a pot-hunter in this space after the pre-Christmas session of the winter league. Porky, who is not at all fat but loves pork pies, plays off five and won the session with a partner hand-picked to play better than his handicap.

Usually, when you are choosing a partner for the winter league foursomes you go for one of your pals but the pot-hunters are far more selective and look for someone who is a bit of a bandit.

The club tries to keep the hot shots at bay by insisting on a minimum combined handicap of 20 so that the better players have to play with a higher handicapper but Porky and his ilk keep a constant eye open for likely talent.

Porky doesn’t deny being a pot-hunter. Why should he? He likes winning. He’s got a panel-beating business in the motor trade and after beating panels all week he likes nothing better than hammering a few golfers at the weekend.

His choice as partner this time, Simeon, plays a very steady game off 16 and is as young and fit as you’d expect a guardsman to be. Unfortunately, they have to go on guard sometimes hence Porky’s need for a replacement.

I’m not sure I would have been his first choice but on the Thursday evening he rang the captain to ask him to find a sub. As it happened, I happened to be drinking with the captain at the time and, impishly, he asked me if I fancied the job.

In no way am I pot-hunting material but I jumped at the chance. A couple of years ago I

was twice on the winning side in foursomes matches against Porky and he reckoned I was a jinx. This was my chance to do him a favour or, more likely, to make his life a misery.

Either way, it was going to be a laugh. Then, as I approached the crowd of golfers outside the club, the first person I saw was Simeon.

‘What the hell are you doing here,’ I said,’ I’m supposed to be subbing for you.’

He looked at me blankly and said that the duty roster had been changed and he had texted Porky in the week to say he could play after all.

Porky then turned up and stared at Simeon as if he was a ghost. He hadn’t received a text.

Simeon then said;’ Peter, you turned up so you should play.’ I refused, saying that he’d been soldiering all week, he needed to get out.

Porky said I should play instead of him. Don’t be daft, I said, you need to win. If I played and we lost, I’d never forgive myself.

So off they marched to their shot-gun start and I went into the club, had a sausage sandwich and read the paper.

In an hour or so, the sun went in, a big black cloud appeared and it started pouring down. It cheered me up immensely.

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