The well-known and popular, Limerick poet, Maureen Sparling, picked up on something I wrote in her St Mary’s Parish Notes:
“I cannot resist referring to the golf essays penned by golf enthusiast, Ivan Morris. Except for rugby or swimming (my forte) I have little interest in sporting activities. However, I do refer to Ivan’s columns on occasion.
“Last week, I found myself actually reading the entire article. His style of writing is nearly enough to convert the golfing non-believer and what an expressive vocabulary he possesses! It was the little golf ball ‘squirming’ out of the hole that enchanted my imaginary powers, or powers of the imagination, whatever? I found myself asking, ‘How on earth does a ball squirm out of a hole? As far as I can ascertain, when it rolls into the hole it is lodged there good and proper until the happy putter extricates it himself….”
Maureen’s comments made me chuckle. Her ignorance (in the true meaning of the word) is amusing. She obviously does not appreciate how disobedient and delinquent golf balls truly are. Golf balls have roguish personalities capable of driving the most phlegmatic to distraction.
Balls ‘squirming out of holes’ are normal events. Why, or how, golf balls spin, hop and slide out of holes with infuriating regularity is unknown. Perhaps an invisible goalie lurks beneath the green surface? Or, some golf balls are afraid of the dark? It’s obvious golf balls ‘love’ water even though they cannot swim; they enjoy playing hide and seek and defying gravity by mysteriously rolling across cellophane bridges that operate in reverse fashion to the way any trap door over a hole in the ground normally would. Every week on TV, the baffled expression of a touring pro whose supreme ball control cannot be questioned confirms the unpredictable behaviour of golf balls.
It is said that a ball does not know who, or what, has hit it but years of experience have proven beyond doubt that golf balls are paranormal objects with a sadistic penchant for exerting a gleeful and callous revenge on those who do not make contact with its ‘sweet spot’ or, do not speak to it in kindly tones, which becomes readily apparent whenever a ball ‘refuses’ to respond positively to strangulated roars of – “Stop!” “Bite!” “Run!” “Go left!” or “Go right!” And, brings to mind a poem written by a forlorn, long-suffering, fellow golfer:
‘In my hand I hold a ball, white and dimpled, rather small,
Oh, how bland it doth appear, this harmless-looking little sphere.
By its size I could not guess, the awesome power it doth possess
But since I fell beneath its spell, I’ve wandered through the fires of hell.
My life has not been quite the same since I took up this wretched game.
It rules my mind for hours on end; a fortune it has made me spend.
It has made me yell, curse and cry; I hate myself and want to die
It promises a thing called Par if I can hit it straight, and far.
To master such a tiny ball should not be very hard at all
But my desires the ball refuses and does exactly as it chooses.
It hooks and slices, dribbles and dies, and disappears before my eyes.
Often it will have a whim to hit a tree or take a swim.
With miles of grass on which to land it finds a tiny patch of sand,
Then has me offering up my Soul if only it would find the hole.
It’s made me whimper like a pup and swear that I will give it up
And take to drink to ease my sorrow but the ball knows … I’ll be back