Real live heroes in the golf wars

Click to follow
The Independent Online

I am fast becoming a showbiz cliché: the Jimmy Tarbuck de nos jours. Since I went to Bermuda for a "celeb" golf tournament, I have been inundated with invitations for similar events all over the UK. I like golf, but very much prefer it when it's linked to an all-expenses trip to somewhere hot and lovely.

It was, therefore, with some reservations that I accepted the offer of a game at Stoke Park in aid of the charity Help for Heroes. I must admit that, apart from getting the exciting opportunity to listen to Brian Mcfadden "live and unplugged", the main attraction for me was the chance to play on the course that was the setting for the most famous golf sequence in movie history: the Oddjob cheating episode in Goldfinger.

I drove up the magnificent drive towards the clubhouse in a fabulous mood, although this was slightly dampened by discovering that Anton Du Beke had pulled out at the last moment. Somehow, despite the obvious blow to the prestige of the event, everyone pulled themselves together and carried on. This is how true heroes behave when all seems lost.

I was playing with Warren Clarke, the actor whose magnificent portrayal of a gay Winston Churchill brought the house down in Bermuda in front of a slightly puzzled minister of tourism. Joining us was one of the heroes, a tough Scot who had been blown up by a shell just outside Uday Hussein's palace in Basra.

Within two minutes of meeting him, I was looking at some fairly shocking X-rays of the poor man's face, half of which had been blown off. As well as his physical injuries, he had completely lost his memory and had to be reintroduced to his wife, kids … his whole life. Magnificently, his main concern, as a proud Scot, had been that when being taught to speak again he retained a Scottish accent and didn't end up sounding like David Jason.

I played my usual brand of "casual'' golf and was soon glad of having stocked up on balls at the shop. It was at about the seventh hole that I asked my military companion what regiment he had been in? The answer was something like "G24 – Black Ops". I looked confused, so he continued: "Military intelligence: I was responsible for interrogations. I was pretty good at it. If one of my boys told me that someone wasn't talking, then I'd pop in and have a word. They'd soon be singing like canaries."

I nodded as though this was the answer I'd been expecting, but have to admit to feeling a little uncomfortable about these revelations. I kept my feelings to myself, however, as this probably wasn't the place or the day to discuss the morality of advanced interrogation techniques, especially when the gentleman in question was holding a five iron.

We did well and ended up in the top 20 (of 22) and retired to the clubhouse for an auction overseen by Jeffrey Archer. Warren Clarke encouraged Archer off the stage early with the sort of forceful, well-chosen words that Churchill would have approved of. All in all, another average day in the world of charideee … although I don't really want to talk about it. That would be quite wrong.