The Hacker: Late change in scoring means Keith and I have had our Chips

According to the latest survey, the game of golf is in a very healthy state and contributes to the European economy a total of €53 billion (£46bn) every year with a net profit of €14.5bn. More importantly, perhaps, are the other benefits they say golf brings to society, such as the enhancement of social, personal and environmental skills.

This evidence that there's some higher meaning to our miserable existence will hearten hackers everywhere, although it not easy to see the environmental advantages of millions of us threshing about the bushes looking for our balls on a daily basis.

The survey also claims that golf promotes integration and participation and creates a sense of belonging.

When a stranger walks up to the bar in the more posh clubs, a sense of belonging is the last thing he is likely to feel but I do know what they mean.

A close bond develops between those who play regularly together. The ribaldry, gamesmanship and the chortling when the bets are settled may give the impression of bitter rivalry but beneath it all lies a genuine feeling of brotherhood.

Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the unofficial competitions that take place every week in clubs. Known by a variety of names such as "swindle" or "fiddle", they are usually open to anyone who turns up at the appointed time and pops a pound or two into the kitty.

One of the most popular gatherings at our club is called the Chips, for the simple reason that the winner buys chips for all the losers.

Although it is principally an individual event, the balls of all the participants are thrown into the air and those that land closest together form pairs for a four-ball better-ball game.

I was once lucky enough to land next to the current hot-shot, who went out to score 42 points on his own. I didn't come in once but had a free plate of chips and £2.60 in winnings. Other experiences have, however, been much less successful and one of my least rewarding sights is the look of horror on the face of the owner of the ball that is juxtaposed to mine.

In the Christmas Chips last week, however, they drew for pairs in advance and I was partnered by Keith, a former policeman who was invalided out after injuring his back on duty and had four discs removed from his spine.

Despite having to take a regular rest on his shooting stick, Keith plays a mean game and was bang in form. After a bad start, I did well and scored 17 points on the back nine but, as is more important in four-ball better-ball, I dovetailed well with Keith.

I came in with a three or a four-pointer on the holes he didn't score much on and we came in with 44 points, which would have been well in contention for a prize.

Then they explained that we weren't playing better-ball but aggregate scores and his 36 and my 26 didn't amount to anything like a winning score.

Never mind. As befits a celebration dinner that starts at 5pm, we had a riotous night. What the survey didn't say was that there's nothing like a sense of belonging to create a hangover.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee