The Hacker: Jeff tucks into the bacon baps and is bitten by the bug - Golf - Sport - The Independent

The Hacker: Jeff tucks into the bacon baps and is bitten by the bug

It is a testament to the power of golf when you witness a man who is bitten by the bug before your very eyes – especially when it's pouring down with rain.

Anyone can be smitten by golf when they are standing on a sun-blessed fairway, with birds singing and the blue sky framing a panoramic view.

But on a wet and windy hill in Wales it is a near miracle, even more so when the man concerned is 66 years old. Jeff may be a sprightly 66 but it is a ripe age to suddenly discover a new passion.

It was a wonder we were out there at all. It was the club chef's 40th birthday and he'd invited a crowd of us for a game punctuated by large amounts of food and drink.

But the weather was atrocious and by 8am we'd all been informed that the course was closed and it was all off.

An hour later, however, we all had a text message that it was back on again. They'd opened 11 holes and the chef was waiting to dish out bacon baps before we started.

I'm not sure whether chef is the right description, Perhaps cook is better but who knows these days. It reminds me of the old Army joke about the Regimental Sergeant Major marching into the canteen and bawling: "Who called the chef a cook?" Came the answer from the back: "Who called the cook a chef?"

I'm not sure I've got the words right but there's frequent confusion about the terms and perhaps that is why we call our cook the caterer.

Whatever his title, Ben has done a superb job for us in the past year. Whether he is feeding four or 150 he has served dishes of a very high standard and has contributed greatly to the pleasures of club life.

There's not a job more infuriating than catering for golf club members. They never stop moaning and even Delia Smith would be cursing like Gordon Ramsay after a week, particularly when four ladies order a pot of tea for two and four cups.

But Ben copes with it all admirably and he has taken up playing golf when he is not at the cooker. So despite the weather it was a fitting birthday for him to be out on the course with his friends, not all of whom, it must be said, are all that familiar with the game. Together with Steve, a fellow club member who plays off 18, I was in the last group with two of them.

It was far from an ideal day for rookie golfers but Adrian, Ben's father, and Jeff stuck manfully to the task. Steve and I tried to give instructional advice which consisted mainly of shouting "keep your bloody head down" but, despite being wet, Adrian did not take to it like a duck to water.

He had so many air shots that pilots at Cardiff airport were complaining about the turbulence.

Jeff, on the other hand, found a decent swing from somewhere and was hitting the ball sweetly by the end.

"I wish I'd taken up this game years ago," he said excitedly. "I'm going to join the club as soon as I can."

I should have told him to do himself a favour and buy a set of darts. He'd have more fun and never get wet. But it's too late. He has the unmistakable symptoms of a man captured by the incurable disease that inflicts so many of us.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 31: playing in the frost

This time of year is always frustrating for golfers, as bright sunny mornings also bring frosty conditions. When playing around the greens, it is best to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible. If the ball is lofted into the green, it is at the mercy of the frost as to how hard it bounces, and that is almost impossible to determine. The following are all shots worth trying in the frost: six-iron bump and run; putter from off the green; hybrid or fairway wood played like a putt. All these can be tried from as far as 75 yards from the green. Try these different methods and find which works best for you. Leave that 60-degree club in the garage until the spring...

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Purley Downs GC, Surrey.

www.theshortgame.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future