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  • Alistair Tait

The 12 golfers of Christmas – The Organiser

Welcome to my Christmas series highlighting characterisations of golfers I’ve played with over the years. A wide variety of people with a vast array of personalities enjoy this game. I’ve distilled them down into 12 types to entertain you over Christmas.

I obviously pre-wrote these so I didn’t have to write my daily blog over the holidays. No flies on me. In other words, I’m currently incommunicado enjoying time with my family, eating and drinking too much and taking Izzy for long walks. So, in true BBC style, please do not respond to these blogs; they’ve been pre-recorded.

11. The Organiser

I don’t have to do much to schedule my games of golf at Woburn Golf Club. Other people do it for me.

No, I don’t have a crew of personal assistants. I belong to several swindle groups who play on different days. I get several emails a week informing me golf has been arranged on a certain course on a certain day and the tee times are X and Y. If I’d like to play then let them know. All I do is respond with a 'yes please' and I’m given a tee time and sometimes even told who I’m playing with.

How good is that?

I’m sure what happens at Woburn is no different to many golf clubs throughout the British Isles, the rest of the world. It’s no different for those who don’t belong to golf clubs but play in regular groups, societies, etc. There’s always someone who takes on the role of organiser, and the inevitable headaches.

Today’s blog is in honour of those organisers, without whom many of us wouldn’t play as often as we did. It’s a job I’m not sure I could take on. I’m not sure I have the patience.

Golf clubs and golf groups, be that societies or just a bunch of pals who play on a regular basis, are lucky to have people who take the time to arrange tee times, set up four balls and generally run groups. Think it’s easy running a swindle group when Player A can’t stand Player B and vice versa, or Player C only likes to play in four-balls and Player D prefers later to earlier tee times? It’s often a bit like babysitting kids.

The organisers sometimes get no respect whatsoever. In fact, often it’s the opposite. There’s always one, maybe two, three, who question the draw, the choice of course or the time of day. There’s always one who complains they always get put in the worst group, or tee times they don’t want.

Any psychology student looking to write a PhD thesis on human behaviour would probably find rich pickings in any group of golfers who play on a regular basis. They say it takes all kinds to make up a world, and that’s often true in any group of golfers. That PhD student would probably find the dynamics within many golf groups fascinating.

Organising a bunch of club golfers would drive me potty. I couldn’t handle the plethora of petty gripes. I’d turn into Jimmy Rabbit at the end of The Commitments and tell them all where to get off.

Of course, the petty squabbles in groups of handicap golfers aren’t much different from those in professional golf. If I had my way I’d make pro golfers understand just what goes into running a golf tournament. They just turn up and play while an army of organisers work tirelessly behind the scenes to put the whole tournament together. Sure, many of these people are paid to do that job, but many aren’t. An army of volunteers are enlisted who go to extremes to help ensure the whole thing runs smoothly. You can imagine their reaction when tour pros moan because this or that isn’t up to their liking.

England’s Jamie Spence preceded Thomas Bjorn as chairman of the European Tour’s tournament committee. Spence, a two-time European Tour winner, struggled to combine the job with playing tournaments. Every complaint came his way, often as he was preparing to play a tournament, sometimes as he was playing a round in a tournament. The gripes he received often baffled him.

It’s the same for those who organise golf groups, golf outings, those who run annual golf competitions or even trips abroad for groups of friends. It’s my idea of hell, which is why I’ve got nothing but respect for those who take on the job of organising.

So I pay homage to the organisers and those who take the responsibility of shepherding groups of golfers around green and pleasant fields. It’s a thankless task for which I’m thankful.

#JustSaying: “It wasn’t always easy to play when 10 minutes before my tee time someone was complaining to me about the sandwiches in the Players’ Lounge.” Jamie Spence

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