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  • Alistair Tait

The 12 golfers of Christmas – The Selfish Git

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.

11. The Selfish Git

I tried really hard to come up with a less derogatory title for my 11th golfer of Christmas. Honestly I did. But hey, if the name fits…

Besides, there seems to be more Selfish Gits currently playing the game if my experience and anecdotal evidence is anything to go by.

The photo above is evidence of a Selfish Git. How anyone can leave a bunker in this condition is beyond me. As good friend and fellow Association of Golf Writer Greg Allen pointed out recently, and which I turned into a blog, many golfers seem to have forgotten how to rake a bunker properly following the temporary removal of rakes because of Covid.

Finding footprints in bunkers is occurring more often, much to the chagrin of the majority who play the game as it should be played, who were taught to rake bunkers properly.

A poor rake job is just as annoying as no rake job. There’s nothing worse than finding your ball wedged up against a hugged mound of sand because the raker couldn’t be bothered to spread the sand evenly, but just pulls the rake back and creates a wee mound. What happened to the old adage that says if you’re going to do a job then do it properly?

I mean it’s not difficult.

Failure to rake a bunker or not smooth it properly stems from one simple reason: a complete disregard for others. The Selfish Git just thinks, I've played my bunker shot and to hell with anyone else who happens to land in the sand afterwards.

Ditto for failing to repair pitch marks. At least this misdemeanour can be put down to simple forgetfulness, as in being so in the zone that forgetting to repair a pitch mark sometimes happens.

Not replacing divots is another Selfish Git trait. Maybe the gits should practise the late Rodney “Mucker” Wooler’s trick. Mucker, who passed away last year, caddied for many years on the European Tour for the likes of Howard Clark, David Feherty, Gary Orr and many more. He had a neat trick when it came to replacing divots.

Mucker would start out with a divot in the player’s golf bag, which he would use it to fill the first scar left by his player. Then he would pick up the real divot and place in the bag for the next repair job, and so on throughout the round. That way he never had to walk back to replace a divot.

There were no flies on Mucker.

Ironically, selfish gits can sometimes be guilty of slow play, while others are guilty of playing too quickly. As with failing to rake a bunker, not keeping up with the group in front is a Selfish Git characteristic. So too is the golfer who thinks 18 holes should take about an hour and a half for a four ball, and seems to take pleasure in repeatedly standing in the fairway imitating a teapot, signalling to the group on front to get a move on. Schadenfreude is probably the teapot’s favourite word.

Finally, those selfish gits who book tee times and don't use them should be put on football’s card system: one yellow card if you book a tee time and don’t fulfil it but have no reasonable excuse (emergencies such as family illness, death, car crash, etc.) then you get a yellow card. Another tee time miss gets you a red and a wee suspension from the club.

There’s nothing worse than not being able to book a tee time because all the tee times are allotted, only to hear there were a number of times not taken. That small minority who can’t be bothered to phone and cancel a tee time fall into the Selfish Git category.

The Rules of Golf are fairly explicit when it comes to all of the above. They're contained under Rule 1.2, which deals with Standards of Player Conduct and emphasises "consideration to others" and "taking good care of the course." In short, it's part of the spirit of the game.

Here’s hoping the Selfish Gits have made new year’s resolutions to be less selfish in 2002.

But I’m not holding my breath.

#JustSaying: “Live for something other than yourself. If you only think of yourself you will find thousands of reasons for being unhappy." Sir Henry Cotton

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