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  • Alistair Tait

The 12 golfers of Christmas – The Early Caller

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.

6. The Early Caller

The Early Caller can alter your mood in round of golf with just two words:

“Made it.”


“It’s in.”


“Got it.”

Any one of these short phrases is enough to have you howling at the sky. Or maybe screaming like a banshee at the speaker.

I used to shrug off these phrases. Lately the’ve been doing my head in.

These words are uttered as your ball tracks towards the hole, only to either come up short, lip out, or veer past the cup inches before it seemed the ball was going to dive over the rim and nestle in the hole.

You go from the ecstasy of holing a birdie or par-saving putt to the despair of another miss in the space of seconds.

Somehow the muttered "sorry" from the sheepish playing companion just doesn’t cut it.

You could live with missing the putt, but the speaker stressing how close it was to going in just makes the whole situation so much worse.

It happened in my last round of golf. I started par, par, par – yes, miracles do happen. I had to lay up short of the par-4, 4th green because my weak tee shot hadn’t given me a clear view of the green tucked around the corner of the dogleg.

I struck a crisp pitch from 60-yards to eight feet and thought I’d made my fourth par in a row with a well-struck putt. It was tracking nicely towards the hole when one of my playing companions said those dreaded words:

“It’s in.”

It wasn’t. It lipped out.

I shot the Early Caller a dagger and he apologised. He’s a good friend, always a gentleman and a joy to play with… but I obviously blamed him for the lip out.

“I’d have made that putt if not for you,” I retorted

Of course, I blamed him for the double bogey on the next hole too: even if that was all my own doing.

Another friend has uttered the “Got it” line on quite a few occasions over the years (you know who you are). Each time he apologises profusely. I know he doesn’t do it on purpose; he just can’t help himself. Many can’t.

We’re still good friends, but one more “got it” and we might not be…

The Early Caller just just irks me, but I heard of one golfer – a Royal and Ancient Golf Club member, I believe – who went apoplectic at the unfortunate Early Caller. This guy was practically foaming at the mouth when shouting at his poor unfortunate playing companion for making the early call. From what I can gather, the Early Caller risked life and limb.

Early Callers (probably) won’t suffer life and limb if they open their mouths prematurely as my ball tracks towards the hole, especially if they’re bigger than me…. They just might get the silent treatment for a wee while.

Don’t be an Early Caller. Wait until the ball drops into the hole before you open your mouth.

Remember the second rule of the caddie code: show up, shut up, and keep up.

Silence is always golden, even if the ball looks like it will definitely drop into the darkness.

#JustSaying: “There is one problem with this game as far as I'm concerned: the ball will never come to the hole." Fred Daly


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