As a career hacker one is used to getting into scrapes on a golf course, but in Tenerife last weekend I added a new experience to my list of hazardous occurrences when my playing companion and I were apprehended by the police.
I'm not sure "apprehended" is the correct word, but when two policemen clutching batons jump out of their patrol car it's close enough for me.
Not that I blame them. When a caddie car emerges out of the night and heads straight for the entrance of a five-star hotel, you can be forgiven for being jumpy. A suicide golf buggy wouldn't be that far-fetched.
But when they saw that the occupants were two harmless and utterly lost golfers, they kindly directed us to the clubhouse we'd been searching for.
Due to not understanding a word they said, we promptly got lost again in the near pitch-blackness that had descended on us after we completed the 16th hole.
We followed the pair we were playing with as they drove off but soon lost them in the dark. Since golf buggies don't have lights we could just about make out the cart path but little else, and were driving blindly in search of a light.
Doing the driving was my partner, Tommo, whom I had not met before that day. Tommo, who plays off five, had just been elected as captain of a club in Oxfordshire, and I don't think buggy-driving is one of the qualities his club look for when choosing a new captain.
However, he made the best of a difficult job, and after 15 minutes we were shocked but grateful suddenly to find ourselves on a main road with the lights of the hotel ahead.
It was still pretty dark and it was that, plus the fact we were on the wrong side of the road, that prevented us from seeing the police car, and them from seeing us, until we passed them. Hence the alarm.
We didn't find the others, who were also lost, until we came upon them just as they'd been found by a member of the groundstaff, who guided usback to the clubhouse.
This was just one hilarious incident on a weekend which drew together a dozen blokes of various backgrounds, not all of whom had known each other previously but who got on remarkably well. Only golf has this unifying power.
Our group comprised the managing director of a national newspaper group, an editor-in-chief, a vet, a comedian, an actor, a hospital consultant, a top London chef, a scriptwriter, a builder (that was Tommo), a lawyer, a man who drives dangerous materials around for the Ministry of Defence, and a sportswriter down on his luck.
We stayed at a new hotel resort, the Abama, on the west coast of Tenerife, which apart from many other sumptuous comforts has an excellent golf course. The par-72 layout, which is as beautiful as it is tough, has greens whose borrows would confuse anyone, includingIsaac Newton.
I finished last on the first day, as you would expect, but found it totally enjoyable. Indeed, ifwe hadn't been so engrossedwe would have noticed the gathering gloom before it was too late.
Our further adventures will need to be related later.Reuse content