The 12 golfers of Christmas – The Addict
Updated: Jan 7
Welcome to another Christmas series highlighting characterisations of golfers we’ve all played with over the years. The series proved so popular last year I’ve decided to repeat the exercise this Christmas, too.
Once again, I obviously pre-wrote these so I don’t have to write my daily blog over the holidays. Still no flies on me. In other words, I’m currently incommunicado enjoying time with my family; eating and drinking too much; and taking long walks, sadly without Izzy in tow.
Oh, Izzy. Merry Christmas my big lassie. Still miss you big time.
12. The Addict
My name is Alistair Tait and I’m a Golfaholic. I suffer from golfitis.
Been a while since I said that. I haven’t been attending meetings lately. But once an addict…
Golfitis doesn’t affect me the way it used to. There was a time I couldn’t go two minutes without thinking about this bloody game. Now I sometimes manage five minutes. At least I have an excuse: I’ve spent nearly 30 years writing about golf. I've had to think about it.
I’m not alone. Many of the people I play with suffer from golfitis too. Indeed, I know of at least one Golfahalic whose marriage suffered because of golfitis. His spouse gave him the ultimatum: golf or me? He picked the four letter word and she left. Now there’s a choice many of us wouldn’t want to make. (Of course I’d pick you darling.)
There are probably a lot of Golfaholics who either don’t know they suffer from golfitis or are in complete denial.
I’ve suffered from golfitis since I hit a long, straight drive on Merry Hill Golf Club’s practice ground using my mother’s hand-me-down driver, complete with a baby blue clubhead. Like many, that one shot was enough to hook me.
I still remember that perfect drive as if I hit it yesterday. Just as I remember a perfect 4-wood to the par-5, 6th hole at Beaverdale Golf Club in one of my first 18-hole rounds that ended up a foot from the pin. I remember breaking 100 (96) the first time I played the Old Course, when my dad and I interrupted a trip back to Scotland from Canada to realise one of our bucket list items.
I also vividly remember breaking 80 around the same track in a golf writers’ comp before the 2005 Open Championship. ( I'm such a sad bugger, I still have the scorecard.) Mind you, I also remember standing on the 16th tee of the Old years before and realising I was only 4-over to that point. I thought: I've got a chance to break 80 on the world's most iconic course.
Dumb! I hit it out of bounds and made six, made seven at 17 and bogeyed the last!
What’s that old saying about never counting chickens?
I remember finishing second in the duffers’ section of the Woburn club championship thanks to a seven on the Duchess Course's 11th hole and losing by one to some pimply 19-year-old.
Yes, it STILL hurts.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Other Golfaholics will be able to relate. Those memories of great days on the links, even if we ultimately come up short, stay with us forever, part of golfing DNA. Many of us probably remember more about rounds of golf than family functions, albeit we'd never admit that. Would we?
As I said, I’m not as afflicted as I once was. My other hobby of hillwalking has replaced my golf addiction – but only slightly. I now tend to think of walking routes in Glencoe or the Cairngorms, woolly harts, climbing boots and down jackets. I can spend an entire evening poring over an Ordnance or Harvey map the way I used to spend evenings reading golf books and magazines.
Yet golfitis still afflicts me. I’m still prone to trying any old tip passed on to me, even from someone unqualified to pass on said tip. I strongly resist the urge to look at golf instruction online, but admit to relapsing once in a while because I’m in desperate need of a fix. Sure enough, said fix is ephemeral. I go from feeling like Bruce Springsteen finding the keys to the universe in the engine of an old, parked car to getting the shakes when the fix wears off.
But what a fix it is, this game. Far better than any drug or drink. Hopefully I’ll be a Golfaholic until I go to that great golf course in the sky.
Below are a few signs you're a Golfaholic. There are many more but time is of the essence: I need to get to the driving range to try out that new swing thought I had last night. It’s sure to work, right? Right?
You “definitely” quit one day but are back on the practice ground the next.
You can’t help stopping off for a few holes on the way home from work.
You can’t walk past a mirror without checking something in your swing.
You watch reruns of The Open/Masters when your family has gone to bed.
You have more than two putters.
You have several sets of clubs in the garage.
You can’t bear to throw out old clubs.
You have enough practice balls to open a driving range.
Your spouse says you play too much; you disagree but play four times a week.
You nip out for a pint of milk and sneak in a trip to the driving range.
The Golf Equipment page on eBay is bookmarked on your computer.
You’ve got golf gadgets you’ve only tried once.
You’ve either got a putting matt or a carpet so smooth you can putt on it.
You’ve got a driving net in your backyard.
Balls lying in the backyard prove you can’t resist practising your chipping.
Your library has more golf books than works of fiction.
You can’t go a full five minutes without thinking about golf.
You log rounds played, recording greens, fairways, putts, sand saves, etc…
I could go on, but you’ll have many of your own that prove you're a Golfaholic….
P.S. Thanks to everyone for reading my 12 Golfers of Christmas series, and for reading my golf musings in 2021. Thanks to the many who got in touch. Comments are always welcome , positive or negative as long as they're constructive.
Happy New Year. May the golfing gods bring you more fairways hit, greens in regulation, and a lower handicap in 2022.
#JustSaying: "Golf is a game where guts, stick-to-it-iveness and blind devotion will always net you absolutely nothing but an ulcer.” Tommy Bolt