The Hacker: Now even the celebrities are ganging up on us lesser mortals

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Celebrity golfers are not like ordinary golfers. They may play ordinarily for much of the time, but their fame makes them invaluable to charity golf events.

"Celebrity" is an elasticated word that seems to stretch wider in meaning every year and has even included me on the odd occasion when the organisers of a fundraiser have been so desperate they'd recruit anyone to fill the gaps in their money-making fourballs.

Unfortunately, claims to celebrity status do not include the spending of most evenings celebrating, so I have notproved worthy.

But in Tenerife the other weekend I played with a few entitled to the description. As I wrote last week, we were a dozen blokes from different professions and backgrounds on a highly enjoyable golf trip.

Luxuriously billeted at the new Abama Hotel Resort on the west coast, we played three courses on three sunny days, and recognised everywhere we went, even by Tenerifians, was the actor Ross Kemp.

Formerly of 'EastEnders', Ross pursues his calling in a variety of roles. Recently returned from Afghanistan, where he filmed a documentary series for ITV, he opened this weekend in 'Snow White' at the Wimbledon Theatre.

He spent much of his spare time on the trip learning his part as the wicked henchman. It is very difficult to play golf when you can sense someone behind you all the time, but he did win the last day with 33 points.

Ross took up golf after finishing playing rugby and is a member at a club in south London so, unlike many charity golf celebrities, he has an official handicap which is 18.

Someone who I am sure will be making more appearances on the celebrity circuit is the comedian Dom Joly, who also writes for this paper.

I was assured before the trip that Dom was an even worse player than me, so when I lined up against him on the first day I felt fairly confident. Then I hooked my first drive out of bounds and he sent his a mile straight down the fairway.

I said: "I thought you couldn't play."

"So did I," he replied.

It turned out that he'd spent the previous week having lessons from his local pro, and the result staggered even him. He came in with something like 30 points and was a revelation for the rest of the trip.

I asked him what exactly he'd learned. He said he'd been told to remember three things: soft hands and a slow swing were the first two, and I can't for the life of me remember what the third one was.

The upshot was that his golfing life has been suddenly transformed, and personally I hope that watching someone suddenly discovering that playing golf is a pleasure instead of an embarrassment will bean inspiration.

All I can say about my golf is that I improved each day, and my final round of 25 points was more than a few of the others scored. But I still finished last, and for that I was presented with a signed copy of Ross's book on 'Gangs', based on his award-winning series on Sky TV.

I don't think that was very fair on him. It was the first time that I'd ever heard of a celebrity booby prize.