First published on the Golf Monthly website on Thursday August 7th 2008
Monsoon season has hit Aberdeenshire and Fergus is not impressed
Last night I watched a very interesting nature programme called “Lost Land of the Jaguar.” It’s a series documenting the efforts of a team of naturalists exploring a remote area of jungle in Guyana that’s never been surveyed before. They’ve found fascinating species from bird-eating spiders to those little fish that can swim up your urine and lodge themselves in places you really don’t want things lodged. I thought they were just a jungle myth, but no – They’re called Vampire Catfish or Candiru and they’re nasty little blood-sucking parasites.
Where was I going with this? Oh yes – At one point Dr Russel Mittermeier described the area they are working in as, “the greatest remaining rainforest wilderness on earth.” It is an incredible swathe of jungle but I can’t quite figure it out. In two episodes, it hardly seems to have rained at all. They all sleep and work outside and I haven’t seen one umbrella.
Perhaps on returning from Guyana the team should conduct a quick survey of my back garden. It might force Dr Mittermeier to reconsider his statement. OK, my garden isn’t huge and it’s not exactly forest, but when it comes to rain, it has all bases covered. It has been lashing down here now for what seems like weeks (it’s actually two days). I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before new species start evolving in my rockery. The rabbits are already developing gills and I’m pretty sure I saw a field mouse with webbed feet swimming past the kitchen window yesterday evening.
The weather is pretty tiresome and certainly not conducive to golf. Yesterday I was supposed to play in the midweek Stableford but, on arriving at the course, I was devastated to see the “Course Closed” sign up and a number of soggy golfers trudging back towards the clubhouse. Apparently the greens were unplayable.
As regular readers know, I will play in any conditions and there’s nothing that irks me more than for a course to be closed. In my opinion it should be up to the individual whether they’re feeling brave enough to go out. I agree, it was right for the competition to be cancelled, but I think it should have been up to me whether I went out for a bat or not.
Something that worries me as much as not getting a game is how this will affect me when I’m an old man. It’s the prerogative of old people to smugly tell youngsters how soft they are. The course closes for a bit of rain and they say, “In my day the course never closed. I played a medal round during the great blizzard of ’56. The snow was coming at me horizontally and the course was under six-foot drifts. And what’s more, I broke par.”
When I’m older and more cantankerous I won’t have this option. I’ll have to say, “When I was young, the course used to close when there was the slightest hint of rain. We really didn’t like getting our feet wet in those days.” It’s a shame.
It’s the 36-hole men’s Open at Banchory on Saturday and all signs are pointing towards more monsoon-like conditions. When checking weather forecasts I have about 15 websites I visit to try and find one that gives a slightly more promising outlook. But, this time, I’m struggling. There are a couple of sites that place only two raindrops rather than three above Deeside but the general consensus is for continuing wetness. Thank god the USPGA will be on in the evenings or this could have been a completely golf-free weekend.
I know what I can do, I’ll use Flora’s paddling pool as a makeshift dinghy, head out into the garden with a video camera and see if I can get some footage of a fox with flippers.