OPINION

"10 things to banish from golf once and for all"

Room 101

It was a pretty simple directive. You can pick ten things, said the boss, to banish from the game once and for all. A ‘Room 101’ for golf, so to speak. What are you picking?

It wasn’t the most difficult assignment I’d ever been set. As much as I love golf, there are many, many things about it that infuriate me to the point of face-reddening, vein-popping exasperation. The only challenge I faced was whittling my list down to ten.

So, here goes…

Note: what follows is by no means a comprehensive list. Think of it more as a start.

No relief in a divot

I’m in total disagreement with bunkered ed Bryce Ritchie on this one. Whilst I get where he’s coming from – “where do you draw the line between what is and isn’t a divot” – I don’t think it’s right that you can pipe a drive exactly where you want it to go and be punished for somebody else’s inconsiderate behaviour. The game’s hard enough without ‘unlucky breaks’ like that. To me, there’s a clear solution: if you’re in the fairway (not the ‘first cut’, not the rough, not anywhere else) and your ball has come to rest within broken ground, you get to place it in the nearest point of relief not nearer the hole, almost like you would with a sprinkler head. What’s a divot and what’s not? If it looks like a divot, it’s a divot. Simple.

White belts

An abomination. A fashion faux pas on a par with David Beckham’s sarong, Crocs and every Liverpool away shirt ever made.

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“Mashed potato!”

Imagine going to a golf tournament and your first reflex being to shout about pureed tatties after a player hits a shot. What compels a grown adult to do something so completely imbecilic? Is it to win a bet with some mates? If so, find some mates who are much less lame. Is it so that you can hear yourself on TV? If so, there’s surely some reality bollocks, like “I’m A Celebrity’s Big Brother, Get Me Off This Love Island” you can apply for. Why not just behave and cheer and enjoy like a normal person? [See also: “Baba booey” and “Get in the hole”.]

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Brian McFadden

Nothing against the lad. I’m sure he’s perfectly nice. But I’d sooner paper-cut every square-inch of my hands and be made to peel a box of lemons than watch him hack it about in another pro-am. 

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Borrowing lingo from other sports

An especially American affliction, this one. Listen to US telecasts and you will invariably hear commentators describe somebody as being “ahead by a field goal”. That’s meant to tell you they have a three-shot lead, a field goal being worth three points in American football. “Unforced error” has also made its way over from tennis. How long before we hear about tour pros “taking wickets” or “hitting home runs”? Enough.

Iron headcovers

Irons cost a lot of money, so it stands to reason you should want to take good care of them. But headcovers? Really?! Be honest, when was the last time you cleaned your irons? Like, properly cleaned them. Got deep in the grooves and scrubbed them to a ‘like new’ shine. Because if you’re not doing it after every round then iron headcovers aren’t going to make the blindest bit of difference. Plus, you’re hardly helping pace of play when you’re taking them off and putting them on.  Which brings me to my next point…

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Slow play

Stop fannying about. Speed the f**k up. It’s not hard.

Blazers

…and everything they represent. Blazers are only acceptable in two environments: school and swanky bars. They have no place being anywhere near a golf course, far less behind the controls of a club’s business. Now more than ever, golf clubs need people with actual business acumen sitting at the helm, not a harem of ill-qualified do-gooders who sadly conflate wearing big woolly jackets with the ability to do a job well.

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Phil Mickelson’s Twitter account

In the right hands, Twitter’s great. In the wrong ones? Not so much. Phil’s account is a perfect case in point. Here’s a guy who doesn’t need to do Twitter and who, if he never did, would exclusively be remembered as a five-time major winner and one of the greatest golfers of all time. He’ll still be that but, with his career winding down, he has tried to reinvent himself as a joker, a comedian, “one of the lads”. Trouble is, he’s just not that funny. It’s sad to see one of the game’s greats reduced to playing a parody version of himself just to remain relevant. The ‘Phireside Chats’? Toe-curling. The ‘Tribute Tuesdays’? Contrived. The ‘banter’? Mortifying. As the kids might say, delete your account.

Courses that don’t allow dogs

“Never trust a person who doesn’t like dogs.” Bill Murray said that. Smart guy. Good golfer. Be like Bill.

Now, it's your turn...

What things would you like to see in golf's Room 101? Do you particularly agree or disagree with any of Michael McEwan's choices? Leave your thoughts in our Comments section below. 

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