The Hacker: Witchcraft ensures bad spell goes on – maybe I need the broom-handle putter

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The Independent Online

My remarks last Sunday, innocent as always, about how the new Equality Act is going to affect our golf club, were not taken by some ladies in the humorous vein that was intended.

They were particularly appalled by my idea of how to preserve our men-only bar when the act comes into force next month.

I proposed that in order to defend this precious sanctum – which has existed for 120 years – against invasion from those who might not obey our strict rules regarding strong language and rude jokes, we should put a urinal next to the fireplace and rename the bar the "Gents".

This would have the double effect of guarding our traditional haven and saving the more elderly from having to go behind the hedge alongside the 18th on a cold night.

Although desperate times call for desperate measures, it was not a suggestion that I expected to be taken seriously but it did get some support. When I popped into the bar on Wednesday, there was a notice – taped to the wall next to the fireplace – bearing the words "Peter's Pisser".

My low ranking in the affections of the ladies section dates back to the early 1980s when I was in charge of the winter league.

One Sunday lunchtime before I delivered my report on the morning's play to the packed bar, the captain asked me to make an announcement.

On the previous evening, the club had staged a Halloween dance and the walls had been decorated appropriately, the centrepiece being a broomstick supplied by the ladies captain.

This had gone missing, said the captain, and it was imperative that it was returned immediately. I duly relayed this to the 100 or so men assembled. "This is a particularly serious matter," I said, "because she had to walk home." This flippancy did not go down too well in certain quarters and it is only just dawning on me that the plague on my game began around this time.

I don't believe in witchcraft but some of the weird happenings that befall me on a golf course can't be easily explained away by the usual shortcomings of a wretched player.

In my long quest to break 100 in a medal, I have often felt that I am doomed never to succeed. Perhaps, a supernatural force is ensuring that I stay doomed.

Last Wednesday was an uncanny example. In the September medal last weekend, I ruined my card at the first when I happily flipped from one greenside bunker to the other, six times, ending with an 11.

In a bid to make early amends, I decided to try my luck for the first time in the midweek medal.

Eirian agreed to join me which was good news, not least because he has a buggy on account of having had five hip and knee replacements (he had one hip done twice, if you are wondering).

We started at 8am, it was a beautiful morning and I felt on the brink of a great day. Then I shanked my drive into a bush. I took a drop and shanked it again. Then I missed the ball altogether.

Never have I suffered such an abject failure to connect with the ball properly. I took a 12 and Eirian suggested it might be better if we had breakfast instead.

I insisted on continuing and finally abandoned my card when my ball got stuck up a leylandii tree on the 12th. God only knows how many I would have scored.

I would go for a lesson but I do not want any more tips on stance, grip or swing. I want someone who can lift a spell.