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Corona Diaries: let us open the fairways, Boris

May 8, 2020

A bit of special pleading here.

Please, please Boris, let me play golf again. I know Eton is not renowned for its star golfers, even though Bertie Wooster was partial to the odd foray onto the fairways. I also know you might be worried that those whom you think of as the lower classes, and whom you spent so much time and effort wooing in December, will resent a load of crusty old gammons being able to hit a white ball around wide open spaces when everyone else only has shit-strewn parks and grubby pavements on which to exercise their dogs.

But believe me, it’s not only gammons who play golf. I play with all sorts: builders, taxi drivers, electricians, lawyers, retired colonels, hot tub salespeople, clergymen, gravediggers and bog-snorkellers. No Old Etonians. Sorry.

If you’re worried that people might think it unfair that I’m allowed to traipse around a golf course while others are not permitted to spend a few hours sunbathing in parks, let them play croquet, petanque and bowls. Let them practice their knife-throwing, or do socially-distanced yoga classes and other outside activities that don’t involve people slobbering all over each other. In fact, if they can’t be arsed to exercise, let them eat cake.

We won’t infect anyone, honest. Where I play, we had a trial run of corona-golf just before the lockdown. The clubhouse was closed, you picked up your scorecard from a desk, you went straight out to the course with no prior congregation. There was no rakes in the bunkers and the flag-sticks were fixed in the holes so you didn’t need to remove them to retrieve your ball.

The only chance of catching the virus was if one of the players got a coughing fit and died on the spot, in which case the instruction was to leave them where they were until the paramedics arrived. Anyone hitting their ball near a corpse was allowed to drop the ball elsewhere without penalty.

With all these measures, we had a COVID-safe environment. This will continue if you let us out. We promise not to shake hands, not to do high fives and not to touch each other’s balls, so to speak. And definitely not to have discreet assignations with dog-walkers in the rhododendrons near the seventh tee.

We’ll wear face masks if you ask us nicely. Our hearts will be lifted as we commune with the birds, the bees, the foxes and the crocodiles. The oldies will get decent bouts of exercise that will keep them out of care homes. Nobody who goes out to play golf will feel the urge any longer to kick their dog, send their cat into orbit or speak ill of their spouse, at least not in the latter’s presence.

Besides, you owe us. The vast majority of members of my club voted for your infernal Brexit and then for your party last December. Not me on either occasion, but I’m still looking out for all those old codgers who knew not what they did. And if Nigel Farage is allowed to stand for hours in the cliffs of Dover watching out for boatloads of illegal immigrants, do you really want my lot to join him for a little afternoon entertainment? Surely the last thing you want is videos of police vans filled with elderly insurgents all over News at Ten.

I know golfers who are fed up playing online bridge, who never want to talk on Zoom to their simpering children again. They’re driving their neighbours to distraction by peppering them with golf balls miscued over garden hedges. They’re ripping up their lawns as their muscle memories fade and their chip shots become ever more inept. Their long-suffering spouses are on the verge of banishing them to the outer darkness because they’re frustrated at the sight of them as they waddle like basking walruses from dinner table to armchair and settle in for endless afternoons watching re-runs of The Masters.

So if you’re really planning to let us live a little, bear in mind that there are many people who don’t want to go to the hairdressers, go clothes shopping, climb Ben Nevis or sit on pavements at socially-distanced tables getting pissed.

We just want to hit a stupid white ball into a few gorse bushes. Not too much to ask, surely. I’ll never vote for you, especially after the mess you and your lot have made of the last three months. But at least you can go some way towards redeeming yourself by applying a touch of much-needed common sense.

If the po-faced Science permits, of course, because we crusty old gammons are the last people to want to rock the boat. Aren’t we?

From → Social, Sport, UK

  1. deborah a moggio permalink

    Is that a bird? Can’t blow up the picture. Is it some other animal?
    Po-faced? please, educate me.

    • It’s a pheasant. Po-faced mean devoid of expression, in other words lacking signs of humanity. S

  2. deborah a moggio permalink

    thought it looked like a pheasant, but was afraid I was projecting. When I was a child, lots of pheasant in the back yard, uncle raised them.
    Where did the PO in po-face come from, do you know?

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