Archive for the ‘The Funny Side’ Category

Joining a Golf Club – Confessions of a Golf Addict Pt 4….

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Joining a golf clubLet me introduce myself, my name is Paul and I’m a golf addict!

So at this stage, I have been playing golf for roughly for three years, my ‘Society handicap’ was 25 (before I knew about The Social Golfer) and I still wanted to improve.

Fuelled with the comments made to me by other society golfers (that I have to play more) I decided it was time to be joining a golf club….

Now this is a big commitment as golf took up only about 10 days a year…not only was there the financial implications but also the commitment to playing the game every weekend. “My club would be a great place for you to start Paul” says one of my social buddies. 

They have a special offer on, of 18 months for the price of 12”  So I join, seconded by the fella that has recommended me the club.

Joining a Golf Club – Getting Started…

Off I go to meet the Secretary at the club. Now this club has/had no buggies so I have to buy my own. 

This is another financial outlay and getting the right machine to fit in my car is not an easy task.

Anyhow I find a machine for sale on e-bay; I put in an offer and win the thing! At the weekend I shoot over to Kent to pick the item up.

The machine is only a couple of months old and looks brand new, the guy selling the buggy only used it to watch his grandson playing he was not even a golfer.

He shows me how to dismantle the machine and I load it up in my Land Rover. 

Off I go, back to Essex with my newly acquired golf transport. On getting it home I reassemble it.This takes about 15 minutes and park the buggy in my garage.

I’d seen other buggy owners leave their machines complete using ramps to load and unload their ride-on’s. So back to ebay… I purchase a sturdy pair of ramps, that look as if they were built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel…they weigh a ton.

My then driveway was on a slope, I wait for my ex to go shopping then reverse the Land Rover in position, the rake of the slope is shortened by the ramps and I feel confident that the machine will almost roll unaided into the boot with ease.

I line up the wheels of the contraption and free wheel the buggy onto the ramps.

Creaks emerge from the ramps but they are so sturdy, I have nothing to worry about but what I had not anticipated was the weight of the buggy and the tyres gripping the ramps jagged surface. So I try and push the buggy, no joy though, the brute is stuck.

I have a light bulb moment, why do I not just turn the machine on and use the motors to locate the buggy in the boot.

I switch on the device turn the throttle and the buggy shoots forward wheels spinning up the ramp, the tyres are gripping like no tomorrow, the ramps start to shift and I am hanging onto the throttle for dear life.

The buggy lurches from the ramps precariously perched with two wheels in the boot, the others, one spinning furiously in mid-air one still on the ramp, I let go of the throttle and try to heave the machine the last three feet.

Crash one ramp hits the concrete, I am now the only thing hold the buggy up, I lose my footing (did I mention I only have one leg!) and the other remaining ramp gives way, we all fall to the floor. 

I am now pinned to the concrete driveway by a ramp and the buggy which is on top of the ramp; I am half under the car and can’t move an inch.

I try to bench press the machine but it slides further on top of me, I can’t reach my phone which is in my pocket…I am facing death by golf buggy on my own drive! 

There is no one in the house, help I shout weakly, half humiliated by the embarrassment but now also now starting to panic. 

“Help!” much louder this time, I hear footsteps. My neighbour’s (who had been washing his car) face appears grinning above the wreckage that is pinning me to the floor, ‘do you need a hand old chap’ yes I squeak I’m getting crushed.

After a few brief grunts and groans I am free from the carnage and thanking my neighbour profusely for saving my life.

After a few more dry runs, I mastered the buggy into the boot without any more mishaps and set off to my new Golf club the day after.

Joining a Golf Club – My first game…

joining a golf clubOn joining the golf club, I was told that the Saturday swindle would be a good way to introduce myself. 

So I pitch up at 7.30 am on a chilly October morning.  There are about a dozen or so men milling around in the car park. 

I introduce myself, balls are placed in a hat and drawn, and I am allocated a four-ball.

On reintroducing me to my playing partners, one announces ‘I’ve already said good morning to you once’ another says ‘do you work for the council?“Yes!” I retort. Are they going to build an F****** Mosque in Chelmsford?” he asks

Is this what people discuss on the course these days?… I think to myself!

I must confess, the round was not my best but after a few holes, I settled down and showed my partners that a one legged player could actually hit the ball.

On arrival at the 18th I was starting to feel a little more confident. I drove the ball just off the fairway but still in reach of the green that was about 160 yards away.

Grabbing my 6 iron, I fancied the approach shot. I lined up feeling one good blow would allow a possible par on the last; I had not got one yet.

Swoosh… I smashed into the ball which set off straight but then reared right, tuening into an almighty slice.

The ball clattered onto the club house roof and disappeared down the other side. “That’s OB” a member indicated, so I played a provisional (this time straight) but nowhere near the green.

I set off to retrieve my ball which when I got in the car park sat in the Lady captains parking bay next to her car. 

As I approached she got out of her car. ‘Well that shot was a bit wayward wasn’t it’ ‘yes’ I sliced it ‘never mind’ she replied bending down picking up the ball and offering it to me, I was still sat in my buggy.

I reached out to take the ball…but she held onto it with the grip of a steeple jack, I looked into her face which had been smiling, it now turned to thunder. 

She let go of the ball and announced ‘and don’t drive your buggy over the tee next time!’ to my horror I had done just that, in haste to fetch my ball. I returned to my provisional ball and promptly took an 8.

A game under my belt and only two more cards to go I would have my CONGU handicap…god help me I was now a Club Member….and clearly had some way to go before I had endeared myself to “the committee”.

By Paul Houghton

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Paul Houghton is a member at Riverhall Hall Golf Centre where he plays off 15 (on TSG). He’s also a member of the Disabled Golf Association and European Disabled Golf Association; he has represented England nine times in tournaments.

Sharing a Golf Buggy – Confessions of a Golf Addict Pt 3

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Sharing a Golf Buggy

Let me introduce myself, my name is Paul and I’m a golf addict!

Playing golf socially with friends can be a pleasing experience, add a bit of competition and it makes the experience even more enthralling. Sharing a Golf Buggy with unknown opposition is an entirely different matter!

Sharing a Golf Buggy– It all started with such good intentions…

I’ve now been playing golf for a couple of years just monthly, in the society about ten times a year.

My handicap has stuck at the agreed 32 mark; I’m not really competing at events but still thoroughly enjoying my new past time. The golf shop in Chelmsford market (sadly no longer there) is a source for new or second-hand equipment.

I’ve now secured a set of graphite Mizuno TZoid clubs, a mix and match group of woods and rescues, with a broom handle putter.

John the proprietor of the golf shop spots my enthusiasm and tries to assist in me acquiring all the right gear.  The putter is his idea, he also states that Henry Cotton had all his clubs the same length something I should consider?

This we did, I traded in the Mizuno’s (after a few rounds) for a set of Callaway Hawk Eyes which he fitted to all the same length other than the sand and gap wedge. So it was me who inspired Bryson Dechambeau!

Anyhow now clad in my new golfing attire and with the newly fitted clubs I arrived at Burnham Golf Club fit for purpose or so I think.

I’m drawn in a group of golfers who were playing off circa 15, so quite handy players.

On chatting to one of the players, we discuss why I should have taken an iron on the tee at a par three instead of the rescue, which I have hit too long.

It becomes apparent very quickly that I have no idea how far I hit the ball with each club; in fact I am focusing so much on hitting the damn ball, that direction is irrelevant.

The respect I have been offered by the society for playing on one leg has waned; quite rightly they think I should be improving from the handicap they gave me.

A bit disenchanted I finish the round in a lowly 14th, 3rd from last.

One of the group approaches me in the car park, his father is disabled and plays golf regularly.

He says “Paul my old Dad has his own golf buggy and plays regularly“… “I’m sure you would improve if you had a buggy and contemplated joining a club?”

I thought carefully at what has been said…do I take the plunge and join a club, how much would all this cost?

Firstly I would need to purchase a buggy and perhaps take a few lessons?

I have never had any natural ability at sport, I’ve always had to work hard to achieve anything involving games.

I’ve played chess for Essex a game my father taught me at an early age, I studied openings out of chess books, played both Nigel Short and Murray Warren both chess grand masters, but my claim to fame was beating Terry Marsh the fighting fireman.

Terry retired as unbeaten Welterweight world champion and was also a very good chess player.

As usual, I digress, nevertheless the pep talk from these society members kick-started me into action, I know now that I  want to be as good a golfer as I can!

Sharing a Golf BuggySharing a Golf Buggy – Who are you…

So a quick trip onto ebay reveals a single seat golf buggy for sale in Kent, with a few days I am its new owner.

Golf buggies for older or disabled players are as important as the clubs in your bag.  In fact, a lot of us cannot play the game without the blasted things.

Sharing a double buggy can be an interesting experience, and one I do regularly… my reasoning for getting my own single seat machine follows…

The Pro’s:  It allows two of you the bliss of being together for 4 or more hours. (Great if you both get on) even better if you hit the ball in the same direction. It can keep the rain off, save you energy; keep you cool and can make for quick golf.  They also allow you to carry loads of refreshments, and stacks of golf balls.

The Cons: They can be expensive to hire and you may be forced to sit next to somebody you don’t like for four or more hours also the driver maybe so bad that you cannot concentrate on your golf for fear of drowning in the lake the driver did not know existed until you careered towards it, or fear being crushed as you assume the wall of death position, while circumnavigating the side of a bunker while your buggy partner attempts to re-enact the Indianapolis 500.

On many occasions, I have considered leaping out away from the runaway death trap while the driver (talking on his mobile phone) hairs toward certain doom, utterly oblivious of the 200-foot drop he is driving towards!

Attracting the attention of a golf buggy driver is not an easy affair.

I was introduced to ‘Steve’ at the club house, he seemed a decent enough chap and was to be my buggy companion for the day, although I did notice he was chain smoking.  Anyhow we were out in the fresh air.

Steve apologised just before we set off, that he was a cricket nut and would need to listen to the test match (through headphones) on his Walkman.

Sharing a Golf BuggySharing a Golf Buggy – Check their credentials…

What he also failed to tell me was he did not have a driving licence!

Off we set with clouds of smoking billowing from the exhaust of the machine and from my playing partner Rothmans Super King size cigarette as we back-fired our way down the first fairway. (From the air we must have looked like a damaged Battleship in the attack on Pearl harbour).

Conversation was impossible amongst the smoke and noise from the engine, which was as fine-tuned as a dumper truck.

That we found our balls was a miracle, the suspension on this bone cruncher, had nigh shattered my eye sockets, my vision was so blurred by the smoke and the lurching ride made me feel dizzy it was like getting off a fairground ride.

I went to select my club, bang went the exhaust Steve was off in clouds of smoke like a dragster as Santa Pod, Steve!!

The two walking players in this four ball looked over in disgust at the commotion we were making.

Steve had played his shot, while being unplugged I managed to attract his attention by wildly waving my arms like a demented Morris dancer.

Steve realising that I was stranded clubless, fired up the ‘Mad Max’ sound alike buggy and proceeded to deafen this part of Essex.

Through smoke, petrol fumes and the smell of nicotine, I tried to play a good round, it was like playing golf during the Battle of Waterloo.

Steve was so engrossed in his cricket, he was not conscious of the commotion we were causing.  “100 for two he barked, Cooke’s got a half century”.

I just managed to pull my head in a Steve drove us through a Hawthorn bush, it spines tearing at the fragile fibreglass structure.

Out came the sandwiches followed by a flask,…”Tea?” bellowed Steve, who was all of a foot away.

Is this what sharing a golf buggy is about?

He proceeded to continue driving the bone shaking brute sloshing tea from a thermos cup, clutching an egg sandwich in the other hand; his mouth was still puffing on the near dog-ended grout!

FFS Steve!” I screamed you’re going to kill us, he had the look of ‘possessed demon’ in his eyes.

We had arrived at the next hole. “Cooke’s got 75 now” he muttered as he left the buggy parked half way up an elevated tee on a 1 in 2 camber.  I scaled out of the cabin more like a mountaineer than a golfer!

My nerves shattered from this eventful game I succumbed to just getting around the course intact without the need of medical attention.

All thoughts of a good golf score were long gone.  Just as I started to relax as we puffed along yet another fairway … I felt a stinging sensation on my chest!

Looking down I thought I was going to see the tell-tale sign of a black and yellow insect, but to my horror I saw smoke coming from my shirt I was on fire!!

Stop the kart!” I hollered while trying to put out the flame that was now coming from my shirt, Steve looked across and grinned removing the now dead fag from his teeth, “Cooke’s got his hundred”.

“I’m on fire you fecking idiot!” I tore his ear-piece from his right ear… pouring water over the coin size hole in my shirt, the smell of singed chest hair hit my nostrils.

It was hot ember from Steve’s now dogend fag that had been the culprit.  I leapt from the buggy as soon as we came to a standstill rolling on the ground like an agitated puppy.

After the carnage had be dealt with, and tempers had subsided (Steve apologised and promised to buy me a new shirt) he went to get back in the cart and replace his ear plugs; I put my arm across his chest …. “Steve, I’m driving!”

Sharing a Golf Buggy – The next step…

Next month, I finally join a golf club and am confronted with rules and golf etiquette!

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Paul Houghton is a member at Riverhall Hall Golf Centre where he plays off 17. He’s also a member of the Disabled Golf Association andEuropean Disabled Golf Association; he has represented England nine times in tournaments.

My Golf Obsession – Confessions of a Golf Addict Pt 2…

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionLet me introduce myself, my name is Paul and I’m a golf addict!

My Golf Obsession – When did my golf addiction really start?

Someone once said, “The key is to learn from failures and then keep going!”

Well back in the late 90’s Scuba diving was my thing. I loved nothing more than hauling on a dry suit and submerging myself into the murky waters of Stoney Cove or Gildenborough water.

In the summer, I’d brave the Channel and other exotic destinations….

As life does it throws you a curve ball. I picked up an infection at work, (remember I was a roofer) the long and the short of it was I was diagnosed with Necrotising Fasciitis (the Flesh eating Bug).

However, after what I like to refer to as ‘my lost weekend’ I emerged from hospital minus 5 stones in weight… and my right leg above the knee.

What’s all this golf to do with golf you say? Bear with me….

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionMy Golf Obsession – What I did next…

After my amputation, I did return to scuba diving but it’s a tough sport with two legs, let alone one. I did do a three and a half mile charity swim for McMillan but my love of this adventure had waned somewhat.

I needed a different challenge…

Enter Amputee Football. This started but I met the England national team amputee goalkeeper (as you do), he  only had one arm!

He put me in touch with the Southend United Amputee Football team manager and I was part of this circus for three years.

Amputee football is seen as too dangerous to be included as a Paralympic sport, so right up my street.

Over the next  three years; I rose to the heady heights of Chairman of the club but again life made some changes and it was time to move on….

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionMy Golf Obsession – You look like a golfer!

A colleague of mine at work used to shout out; “You look like a golfer!” every time I limped past his desk.

He was recruiting for the Council’s golf society. “How can I play golf I’d answer?

Plenty of one-legged golfers out there he’d retort“.

This went on for some time, one day he made his usual demand; I stopped looked him in the eye, and said, “OK, put me down for your next event“.  It turned out to be Manor of Groves, Hertfordshire.

Now, ‘time’ had moved on in golf club technology, the Slazenger XTC’s were no longer state of the art equipment.

In fact, when I dug them out from the back of the garage, they were not exactly in what you would call in tip top condition either.

But they will have to do I thought. It had been roughly 12 years since I have hit a golf ball, so off to The range I went.

Paul Houghton - My Golf ObsessionMy Golf Obsession – Starting again…

Earlier I mentioned a quotation, which actually came from Sir Ranulph Fiennes. A man I deeply admire. So learning to swing a golf club with a bit missing can’t be that hard….can it?

Memories of those eventful outings with CT came flooding back.  This time around, I intended keeping the ball in play a bit more.

Life on a prosthetic leg can be kind of interesting.  The opportunity of crashing down onto terra firma is never too far away. Balance and stability are key to standing upright and keeping your remaining limbs unbroken.

Introduce the golf club, and life for the leg amputee gets slightly trickier.

I had a little over a week to nurture my swing into a competitive stroke, allowing me not  to look too foolish at the society bash.

The basic principles to hitting a golf ball on one leg are the same as with two.

Obviously over swinging is going to cause loss of balance, so having a more conservative swing with more focus on ball contact makes a lot of sense.

So with a few basic fundamentals in place I turned up at Manor of Groves anxious that I would not make a complete fool of myself.

What a day it was it was! It was a scorcher as the temperature rose into the 90’s, the other society members gathered. I knew a few from work to say hello but none you would call friends.

I was introduced to the captain, given a card “What’s your handicap?” said the secretary discreetly looking at my prosthesis which gleamed from my shorts.

I don’t have one!” I exclaimed. In the past CT and I had played off 18 but that was wishful thinking even then).

“OK how about we try you off 32!”

Seemed fair to me (although I didn’t think I could be more than 28?!).

Paul Houghton - EDGA - TheSocialGolfer.com

My Golf Obsession – It’s the leg, honest…

I was introduced to the four-ball I was playing with….

As you all know, Social golf is a great way of meeting new friends but being the new boy and being half robot does make you feel slightly apprehensive.

A suction socket on Prosthesis is sufficient in everyday life but for sporting activity and on a hot day, air expands and the stump gets sweaty.

So you tend to let out a fart like sound every time you get up from a chair especially getting out of a golf cart – what would these guys make of me?

I shared a bacon roll with my four-ball partners and made my excuses so as to collect my golf bag and get a buggy.

Thrupp off went my leg… charming the lady member of the four-ball exclaimed, my face reddened.

On the tee, I joined my colleagues, hit a scruffy shot down the fairway and took a big sigh of relief.

Thrupp went the leg; my female playing partner looked at me with disdain.

After a few holes, I was getting exceedingly hot, I had secured a few points and the two chaps I was playing with were nice enough, but the lady was a bit fierce.  She was a good player and very competitive.

On one hole she hit her ball into the rough; I thought she had given it up, so returned to my ball in front on the fairway.

She was very hot and bothered and hollered that she could still score if only she could find her ball.

I returned to help her search…Thrupp went the leg “That’s not nice” she exclaimed, “It’s very undignified“.

I can’t help it!” I offered…Thrupp! We played on.

Now this lady was very well-endowed and she was perspiring heavily. Her shirt had become very sweaty in the chest area and was becoming a bit see through.

About this time the others players arrived to help in the search. Hands on her hips she ripped into them (one of them must have stared, a bit too intently at her now semi-transparent shirt on course etiquette).

Are you looking at my chest she demanded!”  Thrupp! I tried to move uncomfortably away from the now intense debacle …only to hear her shout again “Will you stop farting, you rude man!” she screamed!

Needless to say, the rest of the round was a little tense, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Paul Houghton - EDGA 2015

Paul Houghton – EDGA 2015

My Golf Obsession – Back at the Clubhouse…

Shooting well over a 100 I was pleased to contribute a few points into the match even if I was last.

I declined the club cleaning service offered, as I feared the rust and dirt were holding the clubs together.

I left early from the meal careful only to let my stump give out a gentle ‘Thrupp’ as I got up from the table.

I saw my male playing colleagues look over smiling, my female companion was not.

Is that your leg making that noise?” someone asked…

You’ll never know I replied!” and hastily made my exit.

My golf obsession had begun!

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Paul Houghton is a member at Riverhall Hall Golf Centre where he plays off 17. He’s also a member of the Disabled Golf Association and European Disabled Golf Association; he has represented England nine times in tournaments.