Golf '80 - A Sport for Conceited Middle Aged Executives – Part One

in #golflast year (edited)

WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE AHEAD, PLEASE PUT THE KIDDIES TO BED.

I love all these new STEEM tribes that are turning up; it seems there’s a different one each day and SportsTalk is one of the more recent additions.

I haven't visited either Towneley or Burnley (Glen View) Golf clubs this century, but yesterday drove past and stopped at both to gain some photography for this article.

I don’t generally blog about Sport, not because I have no interest but due to the fact that I can no longer participate due to back issues.

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It was not always the case, so let me tell you a little tale about my early experiences with Golf.

At the age of 15, my parents decided to move house. I could still attend the same school but it was now a 6-mile journey each way.

What sucked was I was at that awkward age where I couldn’t roam the local streets and make new friends. They now lived 6 miles away and so I no longer had any local ones.

Six months later I left school and managed to keep in touch with just one school friend. That was until he announced that he was joining the Royal Air Force.

Fucking hell, I was destined to have NO friends.

Before all this happened, we had both took an interest in Golf. While neither of us had any money, we both somehow scraped together a little for a golf bag from a certain dedicated sports shop in Burnley, Lancashire.

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I purchased a red one, and him a brown. Brown was a fashionable colour in 1980, so don't think too badly of him.

Of course, we couldn't hit golf balls with a golf bag, and so every other week we each bought one cheap but new ‘Swilken‘ club. Even on a municipal golf course, there was etiquette to adhere too.

There was no going around an 18-hole golf course with a 7 iron and a putter. This was a far cry from pitch and putt and so we needed around 7 of these ‘sticks’ before we could ditch the weekly hiring of the half bag of the worst clubs ever seen to man.

Then there was the ordeal of the first hole which always had a queue. Towneley Municipal Golf Course was a parkland course that I would regard as ‘easy' now but for anyone trying Golf, you will know that the sport is far from that, to begin with.

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Follow that path and you get to the first tee. This is where the below happened almost 40 years ago!

You teed up the ball conscious of about 20 middle-aged blokes watching you with greedy expectant eyes. Taking your backswing, you try to hit the ball as hard as you possibly can while watching the fairway ahead.

What happens next is generally called an ‘air shot' and while the hands-on-hips, disapproving crowd watches desperately trying to suppress the guffaws, you look like a complete arsehole and have to compose yourself for the next embarrassment.

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The next shot, you take a little easier and try and watch the ball and not where you would like it to go. You top the ball, and it trickles off the tee and goes a few yards in the right direction. Thank god for topspin!

The next step is to grab your tee (if you can find it), and then turn around to view the puffed up sneering faces looking at you.

They actually want me to fuck my shot up’, were my thoughts every time I teed off that damn first hole.

‘Of course, they do, you're a young long-haired lout and they don't want you on their bloody precious golf course even though it's a public one.'

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This was Golf in 1980.

I had longer hair then, covering my ears. Call it an overspill from the '70s.

I was never fashion conscious and the average Golfer was much older than me, probably drove a nice car and was perhaps an executive.

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This became more apparent on private courses. Not content with playing Towneley I decided to pay the extortionate green fees required to play the ‘other course' in Burnley.

You couldn't play at the weekend as this was members only, but they were happy to take my money during weekdays.

No jeans, you must wear golf shoes (at the time those spikey ones which are banned now), and you must wear a polo shirt.

All this etiquette was a little much, but I wanted to play so conceded to adhere to their dumb stupid fucking rules.

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Burnley (Glen View) Golf course, little has changed since 1980.

So there I was, at 16 playing a private snooty course alone in the rain.

It wasn’t fun I tell you and every shot I took with a long iron that was slightly off centre sent 100 volts down my arms causing me to lose sensitivity for a few minutes.

They didn’t have cavity irons then or if they did, they were for the pros!

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I was improving but still taking occasional divots from the fairways and frequently smacking down my club on to the fairway in anger for the recurrent bad shots.

It seemed every step I took there was some middle-aged pompous twat watching my every move.

’OYYYYYYYYYYY.... Where did you get on this course’, one yelled to me from 200 yards away.

Same place you did…, the clubhouse', I tartly yelled back. I was a rebellious teenager, there was simply no other response to make.

This didn't go down very well and resulted in the red-faced porker storming over to me and demanding to see my receipt or tag attached to the golf bag.

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We offer so much it says. In 1980 this was applicable only to a certain calibre of golfer, and that didn't include the likes of a young me

I did gain a certain satisfaction when he skulked off after validating my genuine reason to be there and stuttering something to the tune of...

Well OK, all seems to be in order, make sure you don’t drop your bag on the green, and replace that divot you just made, don’t pick your nose in public and get your hair cut…

‘What divot you fat bastard, there isn’t one’

At my age, I couldn’t possibly be tainting their precious Golf course and be legitimate? Surely not.

I was young but I wasn’t stupid; I just wanted to play and I was seeing some signs of improvement.


To be continued...



All Photographs unless cited are my Own.

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Get a haircut already!

Well at least you paid to go on the courses, we never did although it was a much smaller affair.

Good to see you show up in the #sportstalk feed :)

Long hair was becoming not cool to have by then, but I didn't trust those damn barbers!

It wasn't the only incident I had regarding pompous bastards questioning if I had paid..., it happened several times, but it was a time and place.. its not like that anymore.

Hehe, Billy No-Mates, lovely story and your beautiful photos, too.
I've only done the pitch and putt course with my stepson and his dad. I'm pleased to say it wasn't my ball that landed in the pond, although I am generally useless. I enjoyed it, though, and I was thinking yesterday that I should drive out there and have another go. There is another course within walking distance and I have been through there using the public footpath (a slightly scary experience). Two wonderful older women golfers had to show me where to cross the green safely so I could get out. It was lovely to be there at 7am on a hot summer's morning.
Look forward to the next installment!

Thanks Shani, it's a great sport and very tactical once you get to a certain level. I could possibly still play but would be wary of opening an injury up that I'll explain about in the next part.

You can still play the game as an older person which is great. It's around a 4.5 mile walk doing 18 holes too. Exercise to boot!

Slippery slopes for slippery slobber(chops) NOT !
This is my first read this morning after just waking up and without my glasses and thought what...a sewing room at the Burnley!! I don't golf so my sleepy brain allowed me to go there and now after a couple of sips of coffee I chuckle at myself.
My husband golfs and talks about the stress of hitting the ball off the first tee with everyone around and he is 70 and it still bothers him.
I was a teacher and always liked the kids who said what needed to be said even though old farts thought they were rude. Good for you.

You know, several months later I returned to the 'posh' club and watched some trumped up arshole tee off on the first hole. He was well dressed in slacks, took the backswing and topped the ball.. it travelled around 12 inches and stopped.. before rolling back a little.

Having money and the fast car didn't make you good at the game. I did my own inward chuckle at that. Its funny you can remember these kinds of details after so many years.

Well as far as I got was playing putt putt golf, but I enjoyed that lol. I wonder if you could disc golf with your back? I dont even know if that is "a thing" there though.

I don't know what that is... guess its not a thing here. I could probably still play but I'm risking it..

Well think of a smaller Frisbee like disc that is thrown towards metal baskets. Much like golf, with a disc lol. You can of course see it on YouTube but it is seemingly, wildly popular here, and growing!

I love golf, just got into it two years ago and am steadily improving. It's very middle-class in Canada. A decent set costs a few hundred bucks used, you don't need pro stuff if your learning and you won't know what will fit you anyways.

There are par 70 and even 72 courses here for 40 bucks, a game lasts 4.5 hours so it's actually cheaper than doing many things hourly. There are city owned executive, par3 and 9 hole courses that are transit accessible for less than 30 dollars.

Forcing golfers to dress decent comes across as snooty, they don't want you in gym clothing, but most sports have uniform policy. Getting angry at people who damage the course, slowdown the pace of the game or who don't have a golf set of their own is understandable. Some courses aren't for beginners either and the price should scare most away. It's like dining at a fine restaurant, the food isn't any better. I'll stick to public courses or semi private ones that aren't exquisitely maintained to save a few bucks.

Thanks for the great read.

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It's not like a described it now. That was a different time clubs now struggle to keep going due to nobody having money.

Many have opened their doors to more people, unlike before when you had waiting lists to become a member.

Keep at it, its a rewarding game if you persevere.

I've never played golf apart from a few shots at a range. It never really appealed and I'm not too sure about the people who seem to play it. Seems as much about the social exclusivity as the game, but I expect there are exception. I have played frisbee golf, but not for a long time. Not aware of a course near me, but there are hundreds of golf clubs around here.

Seems as much about the social exclusivity as the game

I don't believe the is the case now.. but then.., more so on the private courses.. it was not the blokes who took your money at the clubhouse, more the dickheads out there who believed they owned a chunk of the course and that I was a trespasser!

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Excellent post!

Until Tiger Woods started playing this was very much the image of golf. However Tiger got me and many younger than me into the sport and now it is just as much a young man or woman's game as it was an old farts' game back in the 80s.

Please continue with more golf stories by the way, I love 'em!

Cg

I rarely play these days (due to the issues mentioned in part 2 of this), so there's little to add to the story now.

Saying that I played 9 holes a few weeks ago (on that really hot day), and had no problems.. besides ring rust.

Ah, I didn't see part 2, I'll look again.

Saying that I played 9 holes a few weeks ago (on that really hot day), and had no problems.. besides ring rust.

Ah you never forget it's like riding (a really complicated) bicycle :-)
Cg