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This is an age of pop-up political parties. So welcome to the Golf Party

November 3, 2020

One of the more ridiculous aspects of the new lockdown in the UK is that the government has decreed that we can’t play golf.

Anyone who might have seen me on Saturday when I laboured through a round of golf in a 30-mph gale and horizontal rain would have realised that COVID had no chance of getting anywhere near me or anyone else on that particular day, if for no other reason that we were soaked to the skin, and water is the best deterrent of the virus.

Even on a decent day, I and the people I play with scrupulously maintain the prescribed social distancing protocols. My home golf course is also set up in such a way as to eliminate any chance of catching a dose from, say, a distance marker or a bunker rake, because they’ve all been removed. Even the flag pin is equipped with a little device that chucks the ball back at you when you hole out.

So who is more likely to pass on COVID? Some panting, sweating jogger in the park who comes lurching past you on a narrow path, spraying toxicity in their wake, or a couple of people ambling up a fairway miles away from you?

Since this is a time for dark thoughts, something tells me that Boris and his rabble wouldn’t know a putter from a baseball bat. So ignorance would be one factor. And the second would be political. Fear of being seen to pander to what they see is an elite: the nation’s golfers. Whereas in fact, golf is as far from an elite sport as you can get. I play with people from all backgrounds – from builders to bankers. Bunkers and rhododendron bushes don’t discriminate.

No doubt the stock response from the government would be “if we make an exception for golf, we’ll have to do the same for lots of organised sport – such as tennis, hockey, dogging and croquet”. Well yes, except that golf is ideally suited for social distancing, whereas most other sports definitely aren’t.

I’m waiting for Nigel Farage, who was once quite a good golfer by all accounts, to redeem himself for his detestable views by standing up for us hackers. Unlikely, since he’s busy with his new pop-up political party. But since one-issue parties are fashionable these days, perhaps I’ll form one myself: the Golf Party. The agenda: keep Britain’s golf courses open, and while we’re at it, abolish the new handicap system, which is so fiendishly bureaucratic that it could have been invented by some nerd deep in the heart of Downing Street.

I admit that it might take a while to gain the necessary traction, and it might never get the attention that the infernal Brexit Party garnered. But we golfers need a lobby. After all, everyone else seems to have one.

Until such time as a Million Golfer March cripples London’s transport system and forces the PM to change his mind, I’m also thinking of Plan B.

A few weeks ago, I announced a plan to turn my garden into a shooting estate in which visitors could pay to train their shotguns on the squirrels and pigeons that colonise the back of my house. That didn’t get very far. I was overwhelmed with Twitter hate mail and animal rights protesters demonstrating on my front lawn, much to the distress of my neighbours.

But my latest wheeze might have more success. Since my next-door neighbour is also a golfer, I’m thinking of approaching him to suggest that we turn our gardens into a driving range. There’s a hedge between them, but with a bit of netting we can avoid too much damage. We can then take turns pitching golf balls into each other’s gardens. To avoid injury from incoming golf balls, we could rig up a fog horn – or whatever the Army uses to warn bystanders that they’re about to start a tank bombardment on Salisbury Plain – that announces our intentions.

With a bit of luck, there might be other golfers further down the road who would like to get involved. That way, we could cater for every length of shot. As for the cost of repairing greenhouses and windows for those whose properties are on the flight path, we could charge fees for the use of our range, and the revenue could be used for that purpose.

I can’t think of a better time to do this. After all, who but a mad person ventures into their garden in November? Admittedly, there are still a few details to be ironed out, such as signing up my neighbour and the folks down the road, persuading everyone else in the neighbourhood to stay indoors for a month, and hiring a couple of needy adolescents to retrieve stray balls.

But all in all, as a plan, it definitely holds together.

In case you’re thinking that this scheme is, er, a little left field, fear not. There’s plenty more to come. Lockdown 2 is only just beginning. It’s surely a time for creative thinking, is it not?

From → Politics, Social, Sport, UK

  1. Ha ha ha

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