(Bantam, £10.99)

Nice Jumper, by Tom Cox

Shocking confessions of a teenage golf fiend

My perception of golfers is that they are pretty dull: no histrionics of the Roy Keane or Freddie Ljungberg variety for the likes of Faldo, Woosnam or Nicklaus. Icy self-possession seems a prerequisite for the mental discipline needed to club a small ball into a small hole a long, long way away.

But is golf cool? Former chicken decapitator Alice Cooper is an ardent player. Even sultan of style Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, furtively admits to 15 years of plodding down a fairway. However, according to Tom Cox, most golf clubs are filled "with right-wing bigots with no dress sense", the sort of caricature whose company is as welcome as your parents talking about sex.

It's during puberty that the wiring of the male psyche short-circuits and never quite reconnects. In his first teenage year, Tom Cox woke up one day and "for golf and me, it really was this simple: we found ourselves utterly, inexplicably in love". Nice Jumper is his apology for a youth misspent "amongst young conservatives sired by local textile magnates and county bridge champions". It is the Fever Putt of golf, an engaging tale of sporting obsession and adolescent fumbling for identity, of never quite reconciling Johnny Rotten tendencies with buttock-clenching golf etiquette.

Like a rash of acne, Cox's teenage years are inflamed: "Golf was life; life was golf. God was in the swish of a blade against freshly clipped turf". While most kids practice fornication and drunkenness to shock their parents, Cox was perfecting his swing and climbing the ranks of Cripsley Edge Golf Club. Much to his parents' consternation, he became a very good golfer.

It is axiomatic that, as an adolescent, what you've got you don't want. Tom Cox had parents who listened to the Ramones and Rolling Stones, a father who could recite Monty Python sketches, and a mother who would exhort him to "loosen up and get with it". Posters of existentially naked women leaning over sinks adorned the walls of his home. Little wonder Tom mutated into James Dean in plus-fours, his hormonal rush longing for the straitjacket of a blazer badge and a rule book as unbending as a two-foot putt.

That didn't stop him from "severely fucking about" in between winning junior championships and becoming a local golfing hero. His catalogue of club and equipment abuse, pranks of malicious ingenuity, "surprisingly expressive drunkenness" and frequent suspension are consistently entertaining and often extremely funny. It was when he turned up to tee-off in a T-shirt emblazoned with "Too Drunk to Fuck" that he realised his dedication was on the wane. His valediction came after sinking five pints of Red Stripe and breaking into the course to listen to the new Archers of Loaf album carrying a three-foot ghetto blaster and a sandwich bag full of dope.

"Is golf sort of like, really boring, Tom?" asks a girlfriend. "Well, yeah and no," he replies. In Cox's hands, very much the latter.

Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine