Bet­ter at Re­ceiv­ing Than Giv­ing

The Kilted Cad­die re­calls a se­ries of cad­die ex­pe­ri­ences for suc­cess­ful Amer­i­cans who are keen on the old game…

HK Golfer - - Contents - By The Kilted Cad­die

A fair com­ment on Pres­i­dent Donald Trump, Amer­ica’s most as­tute golfer.

Ionce cad­died for this el­derly Amer­i­can chap who was ap­par­ently very fit, wealthy and pretty keen on the old game. He handed me a card on the first tee and asked if I would record his score. It was fine, but it be­came quickly ap­par­ent that his card was to be a won­der­fully cre­ative work of fic­tion. It started on the sec­ond when he duffed a chip and merely put an­other ball down, hit it close and used it. It was pri­mar­ily a round of on­go­ing self-given Mul­li­gans. Fair call I thought, and maybe this is how golf should be played? I mean they kind of do that in lawn ten­nis. But I’m not sure if the Rules bloke at the Royal and An­cient will buy into it.

Things got a bit more colour­ful on the ninth. He hit a good pitch which went fif­teen feet past the pin and onto the small bank just be­hind the green and stuck there, some­how de­fy­ing grav­ity. I said, ‘bad luck’ and meant it, as in most cases it would have come back down to the hole, which it did! As he walked past the ball, he gave it a del­i­cate and most skil­ful wee nudge with the out­side of his left foot, and it rolled to a few feet.

The ul­ti­mate came through on the long par four, twelfth. He had a Mul­li­gan off the tee and found him­self in the green­side bunker in ‘three’. He had sev­eral stabs, at­tempt­ing to get out of the bunker, and even­tu­ally, put it to forty feet and rolled in the putt. His wife turned around and said, ‘what was that?’ And he re­mark­ably and unashamedl­y and as­ton­ish­ingly said ‘a par’.

He carded an 82.

I cad­died for an­other very suc­cess­ful Amer­i­can gen­tle­man who was some kind of

pas­tor in Peb­ble Beach as well as some­thing along the lines of a self-help guru, busi­ness­man. Well, at least that is what he told me over the first few holes. He had ‘writ­ten 102 books, had over 20 mil­lion fol­low­ers on Twit­ter and spoke at con­fer­ences around the world mak­ing mil­lions’.

He was quite a canny golfer but was man­i­festly full of him­self. How­ever, when he got into a bunker at thir­teen, on a down­ward lie, he merely kicked his ball onto a flat and more favourable po­si­tion. I sup­pose that is what he pro­fesses as self-help, or am I a bit too cyn­i­cal? Maybe he has a chap­ter in one of his books about it. Maybe called ‘The Bunker’. Any­way, I shan’t be buy­ing one. For that one lit­tle act on the golf course had un­der­mined him in my eyes, no mat­ter the mil­lions of Twit­ter fol­low­ers or the num­ber of books he had pub­lished. Sorry. Not im­pressed. And I shall not be giv­ing his name away but let’s just say a most bit­ter flavour comes into my mouth when I think of it.

By all ac­counts, a rather fa­mous and no­to­ri­ous ex-foot­baller in the Amer­i­can sense, (I mean foot­baller in the Amer­i­can sense, not no­to­ri­ous), play­ing in a Pro-Am, seem­ingly had his ball tee’d up in the rough and on be­ing asked why and how he claimed it landed on it! I won­der how that would stand up to the jury?

On an­other foot­ing, this brings up the re­mem­brance of a golfer at our club, David Pa­trick, who was a Walker Cup player and got through into a fi­nal play­off to qual­ify for The Open. He, un­for­tu­nately, hit into the rough, away from ev­ery­one, and on ad­dress­ing the ball, it seem­ingly moved just more than the al­lowed half di­am­e­ter. Any­way, he called the foul on him­self and in­curred the penalty which pre­vented him qual­i­fy­ing. Won­der­ful. That is golf. That is life. But how rare does this kind of be­hav­iour ap­pear nowa­days? I mean even politi­cians have been found out to be ly­ing. Look at that Flynn bloke in Amer­ica. The Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor for good­ness sake. Poor show.

My brother told me of an amus­ing anec­dote of how he was play­ing in a Club Medal one day with a very suc­cess­ful lo­cal busi­ness­man. Mark­ing the chap’s card on the six­teenth tee, he asked what he’d scored to which the re­ply came ‘five’. Know­ing this was wrong my brother in­ti­mated that he thought he had played six shots on the hole. To which the man un­be­liev­ably and im­me­di­ately replied ‘net five’.

Give me strength!

Now, there is a re­mark­ably suc­cess­ful man in Amer­ica who is a very keen and seem­ingly most as­tute golfer. He is also that coun­try’s pres­i­dent. Mr Donald Trump.

He has seem­ingly won nine­teen club cham­pi­onships, held an ama­teur course record of 66 at a club called Mar-a-Lago and was listed on the USGA GHIN sys­tem at the end of 2016 with a 2.8 hand­i­cap. That is os­ten­si­bly very im­pres­sive. A course record, al­beit an ama­teur one. Nine­teen club cham­pi­onships! Wow. And play­ing off 2.8.

On fur­ther in­spec­tion and not to dis­credit th­ese achieve­ments, Donald turns out to own the golf cour­ses at which he had the many vic­to­ries and the per­son­nel thereat have not been will­ing to elab­o­rate on th­ese au­gust tri­umphs, for some rea­son. But well done any­way. I sup­pose you could say that th­ese are home club vic­to­ries in the truest sense, as he owns them all. The only club he is a mem­ber of which he doesn’t own is Winged Foot, and he has no record of any club cham­pi­onship wins there.

I have won two club cham­pi­onships. My ju­nior at Mor­ton­hall in 1979 as well as some­how car­ry­ing off the Mor­ton­hall

Ca­sual Barmy Army Club Cham­pi­onship in the glo­ri­ous sum­mer of 2008 af­ter a oner­ound de­cider, re­sult­ing from the com­mit­tee’s in­abil­ity to ar­range a spring qual­i­fy­ing round and any re­sult­ing match play that year. A de­fault win maybe. But a win. And an hon­est win. A rea­son­able 76 as far as I re­call on a cold and wet Oc­to­ber’s day.

Now I do not want to un­der­mine Mr Trump’s golf­ing stature or in­ti­mate that he is barmy, but things don’t look that good on closer in­spec­tion. He some­how only posted twenty rounds be­tween 2009 and 2016. Why? That for a start doesn’t in­spire one with con­fi­dence. And fur­ther.

Alan Ship­nuck, the then se­nior writer at

Sports Il­lus­trated said that play­ing golf with Mr Trump was a ‘nau­se­at­ing char­ac­ter study of him’ And fur­ther ‘he bends the rules or com­pletely skirts the rules to his ben­e­fit’. Hmm, not good ei­ther.

Nick Reilly, an­other Sports Il­lus­trated writer, played with him and claimed that he gave him­self ‘a gimme chip’. How­ever, that was lam­basted by a rather riled Mr Trump who then la­belled Mr Reilly as ‘a dis­hon­est writer’. Fake news I guess?

Mark Mul­voy, the Sports Il­lus­trated me­dia ed­i­tor told Wash­ing­ton Post that he had played with Mr Trump in the nineties. Mr Trump said that he had placed his ball next to the pin on one hole and ex­plained it by say­ing that, ‘the guys I play with cheat all the time, and I have to cheat to catch up with them’. Ok, the pic­ture is build­ing here.

Now in Oc­to­ber, Sen­a­tor Lind­say Graham played in the Colum­bus Day Foun­da­tion Tour­na­ment at Trump Na­tional GC, Wash­ing­ton, with the owner. He tweeted af­ter that ‘he (the owner) had shot a 73 in wet and windy con­di­tions’. On be­ing ques­tioned fur­ther about the round the Sen­a­tor did not say much, but he did say this about putts, ‘he is bet­ter at re­ceiv­ing than giv­ing’. I think enough said.

Ernie Els reck­ons that Mr Trump is about an eight to nine hand­i­cap­per and Rory McIl­roy came out with the most politic quote af­ter play­ing with him this year, ‘he prob­a­bly shot around 80. He’s a de­cent player for a guy in his 70’s.’

Well, I don’t like the word ‘prob­a­bly’ here Rory and ‘around 80’ is far too vague and usu­ally means about 95 once you’ve added the good­will fac­tor to it. And in this in­stance, I imag­ine that was con­sid­er­able.

Any­way, I am not on a witch hunt against Mr Trump here; heaven for­bids I don’t work for the FBI, nor that bloke Mueller. I just un­der­stand and ad­here to the rules and eti­quette of the noble game of golf and have a gut in­stinct when things ap­pear amiss. And I’m afraid things just don’t stack up for me here. I trust that the pres­i­dent is very prob­a­bly a de­cent player for a guy in his 70’s though. But hell, I’m a Comey, straight talk­ing kind of bloke who calls a spade a spade and a bo­gey a bo­gey.

My hand­i­cap is now very def­i­nitely and ab­so­lutely eleven. Yes, that’s dou­ble fig­ures I know. But an hon­est writer I am. And an hon­est golfer too.

Yes, that may well not be a very sexy level of hand­i­cap to my fe­male read­ers out there. How­ever, on the plus side, I do hit a very long ball. Well, when it goes straight that is. If that sort of thing is im­por­tant to you?

Please go to thek­ilt­ed­cad­ to find out more about The Kilted Cad­die.

Rory McIl­roy came out with the most politic quote af­ter play­ing with Donald Trump this year, ‘he prob­a­bly shot around 80. He’s a de­cent player for a guy in his 70’s.’

The only club Donald Trump is a mem­ber of which he doesn’t own is Winged Foot, and he has no record of any club cham­pi­onship wins there

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