First published on the Golf Monthly website on Thursday 4th December 2008
Cold weather and snow have had Fergus confined to barracks all week and he’s beginning to lose his grip
Prior to Jessie and my wedding (an event that’s becoming an increasingly hazy memory) I made a suggestion about having part of our wedding list at the pro-shop at my golf club. She laughed and I joined in. I was a little disappointed as my proposition had been totally serious and I half-hoped she would think it a good idea. At that point Jessie had her suspicions about my golfing obsession but wasn’t fully aware of its extent.
I was remembering this as, a couple of weeks ago; Jessie suggested that I should have a Christmas wish list at the aforementioned pro-shop. Maybe, after almost ten years, she’s come to understand my addiction, or perhaps she’s just given up.
It’s actually a very sensible idea for the golf fiend though. If I’m completely honest, all I really want for Christmas is: some proV1’s, a couple of ML white leather gloves (Callaway or Ping), some white wooden tees and a winter’s supply of hand-warmers. Just as with a wedding list, I’d probably put a couple of optimistic items on my Christmas list. Rather than sneaking a 32” plasma screen TV on there, however, I’d probably take a punt with a Titleist D3 driver.
For a non-golfer it’s almost impossible to buy the correct golfing gifts for golf-mad friends and family. Go into a pro-shop and you’ll be confronted with hundreds of ridiculous looking bits of equipment. Unless the pro there happens to know the intended recipient there’s no chance of you walking out with anything approximating an appropriate present. So, wouldn’t it be great if you could go in and enquire at the desk:
“Excuse me my good man, can I ask what’s left on the F Bisset Christmas list?”
“Certainly sir/madam.” The pro responds. “At the top end there’s a Sky Caddy GPS system at £300, right down to a Scotland flag ball-marker at £1.50.”
“The latter will do very nicely, thank you.”
“An excellent choice sir/madam, would you like it gift-wrapped?”
I’m beginning to suffer from cabin fever. It snowed heavily on Tuesday and there’s still ice and snow on the ground now. As we live up a steep dirt road that becomes like the Cresta Run as soon as three flakes of snow touch it, we’ve been pretty much confined to barracks all week. This week’s Alliance at Cruden Bay was cancelled and I’ve now used my putt-returner so extensively that the battery has run out.
Being snow/ice bound has made me notice just how dark it gets at this time of year. I’m writing this at 8.45am and it’s still not properly light. By 4.00pm it’ll be dark again, so we’re getting no more than seven hours of daylight. Even without snow, fitting golf in is tricky. The absolute latest you can tee off and still get round is 1.00pm.
It’s amazing how life changes from summer to winter here. In the middle of June I’ve teed off at 8.30pm and still got round with enough light. By 8.30pm at the moment I’m considering whether it’s too early to go to bed. Variety is the spice of life I suppose.
But, if you think we’ve got it bad, spare a thought for the Scandinavians. I was watching cross-country skiing from Kuusamo, Finland on Eurosport the other day. (It’s the sort of thing you do when desperation kicks in, you’ve been stuck in the house for three days and there’s no golf on Sky.) Anyway they were competing under floodlights and the commentator mentioned they have just four hours of daylight there at the moment. If you consider a round of golf takes three and a half hours, there must be one hell of a fight for the 10.30, 10.37 and 10.45 tee times at Kuusamo municipal.