In the golden days of my youth, Christmas was an exciting time, not least because of the games, toys and other welcome gifts that came my way. However, as my hair has grown thinner so has the appeal of this annual festival of unwanted presents. Call me Scrooge if you like, but I?m thoroughly fed up with trying to look thrilled at what is so evidently disappointing. It?s like trying to smile after fluffing a succession of bunker shots; it?s possible but rarely convincing. At least with bunkers you eventually get out but with Christmas there?s no escape.
I?ve nothing against holly, carol singers or even distant relatives dropping by when all you want to do is fall asleep in front of the television. No, what really depresses me more than taking three putts from five feet is the ghastly succession of golf accessories that gather around my feet as each parcel is opened to reveal yet another appalling gee-haw gummed together in some far-eastern sweatshop.
Quite what the oppressed oriental workers make of it all is hard to say. In fact, it?s hard to say anything sensible when confronted with another handy, pocket-sized, shot counter. Surely you must have at least one. You know the thing, just push a button each time you hit the ball and, hey presto, before you can say ?what the hell do I need this for?? it gives you your running total. Handy or what? ?Gosh, that?s brilliant,? you lie. ?Now I?ll know exactly how many shots I?ve taken at any stage in the round. Wow, that?s really useful.?
Undoubtedly the ghastliest gift I received last year was a set of novelty tee-pegs. They were an assortment of tiny plastic women in a range of lewd poses. Gosh how I didn?t laugh when they fell onto my lap. Good old Uncle George really knows a thing or two about sophisticated humour. ?And you rest your balls on top,? he explained to general guffaws.
But the most unwelcome golf gift that I have ever received comes down to a play-off between a set of animal head covers and a seven-iron. The former merely betrayed an appalling lack of taste whereas the thought process behind the latter is hard to fathom. My heart sank like a drained putt when I spotted the telltale, long, thin parcel beneath the tree. ?Golly, it?s a seven iron. That?ll come in really useful if my present seven iron ever wears out,? I remarked without only the merest whiff of irony.
Try and look on the bright side. At least you won?t be short of booby prizes come your society?s spring meeting. Happy Christmas!