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So, the UK will go to the polls next week to determine the outcome of the 58th general election, and not a moment too soon.

Irrespective of your voting intentions or political disposition, it will surely be a blessed relief for us all to put the unique horror of campaigning behind us.

From the toe-curling photo ops, to the disingenuous attempts to prove that “hey, I’m just like you”, to the gerrymandering, the obfuscation and the tiresome phenomenon of live televised debates, there is nothing quite so vom-inducing as the sight of grown adults shape-shifting their way across the country in a conceited attempt to establish control over the rest of us.

Stop pulling pints for the cameras. Stop pretending to like football. Stop holding babies that aren’t yours. You’re not like the rest of us. If you were, you’d be doing what we’re doing: laughing and sighing at all of you odious perma-prefects, not chapping letterboxes in between trips to Ladbrokes.

Billy Connolly said it best: “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever becoming one.”

Bang on, Big Yin.

Rest assured, I have no intentions of ever boarding a battle bus, pinning a rosette to my lapel and being a name on a ballot paper. I’d sooner mop up sick on a cruise ship.

If I were to do it, I’d have to launch my own party. The National Alliance for Golf. The NAG, for short.

Hear me out.

It’s reckoned there’s around 5.4 million golfers in the UK. The population of Scotland, for context, is 5.5 million. If that’s enough to sustain the Scottish National Party, then you have to think the NAG has a great chance of returning seats to Westminster.

Our manifesto would comprise 12 main pledges:

1. Last year, in collaboration with the R&A and the University of St Andrews School of Medicine, Fife Council made golf available on prescription in a bid to improve the health and wellbeing of its citizens. The NAG would roll that out nationwide, reducing the burden on the NHS and fighting back against the might of big pharmaceutical companies.

2. The NAG would reduce the traditional week from five days to four, with Fridays now reserved for playing golf.

3. The NAG would introduce a new, annual bank holiday on June 16 to commemorate the birth of Old Tom Morris. ‘Old Tom Day’ would be marked with a series of celebrations in St Andrews, Prestwick and at every club across the country that has a course designed by the auld fella.

4. The NAG would make The Open and AIG Women’s Open available to watch on free-to-air / ‘coonsil’ telly.

5. The NAG would also demand that golf is given at least ten minutes each year on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show. If that’s at the expense of cricket, so be it.

6. To ensure that everybody – no matter their background or socio-economic status – has access to an affordable golf course, the NAG would give protected status to at least one municipal golf course in each of the UK’s ten biggest cities: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Sheffield, as well as Leeds, Bristol, Nottingham and Liverpool. The capitals of the respective home nations not already on this list – Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – would also be included.

7. The NAG would make golf free to play for all Under-10s.

8. Somewhat related, the NAG would also put Golf Studies on the national school curriculum, replacing Home Economics.

9. The NAG would criminalise iron headcovers and white belts.

10. Also on crime, the NAG would support golf’s greenkeeping, agronomy and sustainability community by putting convicted criminals to work. Weekly grass-cutting and such like for the duration of your jail sentence seems like appropriate community service, no?

11. The NAG would abolish gender-based tees and, instead, advocate for tees to be split by ability. Roll your eyes all you want but Charley Hull would hit it miles past you.

12. Speaking of abolishing things, the NAG would also do away with the House of Lords because, honestly, why wouldn’t you?

The more I think about this, the more I’m talking myself into it.

It’s too late for this time around but we’ve got five years – well, maybe less – to get it right in time for the next general election.

So, don’t vote for more of the same. Vote FORE change.

Vote for the PAR TEE that puts you and your interests first.

Vote NAG.

Face it, we’d do a far better job than any of those other muppets.

Michael McEwan is the 2023 PPA Scotland ‘Columnist of the Year’ and ‘Writer of the Year’


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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