Since last week?s blog promised more revelations about my trip to Thailand, the golfing world has been gripped by an almost tangible sense of anticipation not experienced since Sir Henry Persimmon-Penfold unveiled his new-look niblick in the spike bar at Walton Heath in 1912.
Those who have waded through ?Recovering from Thailand? will recall that, much against my better judgment, I allowed myself to be dragged along to the fleshpots of Pattaya to be thoroughly outraged. Leaving to one side the fact that the drinks were remarkably cheap and the pole-dancers were extraordinarily beautiful, I was so shocked that it took me several hours before I recovered sufficiently to be able to leave in disgust.
However, before going I was reliably informed by a 32-handicapper that I would ?enjoy? the female caddies. My remarkable nose for a good story started to twitch. Ever the consummate professional, I decided it was time to uncover the probably unpalatable and possibly sensational truth about Thai caddies.
So, cleverly and convincingly disguised as an average hacker, I visited several golf courses. Unlike the girls in the bar the night before, the caddies at Burapha could hardly have been less scantily clad. With matching jumpsuits, hats and wraparound scarves, it was as well that were numbered otherwise it would have been hard to tell them apart. Mine was 102 and named ?La?, presumably after the French definite article. Out of the 350 caddies at Burapha, only six are fellahs who, one imagines, are much in demand when a gay golf society rolls up.
La did everything you might reasonably expect of a good caddie. She gave me accurate yardages, the line on putts, advised on club selection, repaired divots and pitch marks, cleaned the clubs and ball, kept score, occasionally said ?good shot? and did her best to suppress a delightful giggle. But nothing more.
A second night of painstaking research in downtown Pattaya merely served to reinforce my earlier feeling that this was no place for a clean-living journalist. With another tough day of investigative reporting in prospect, I therefore made my excuses and retired early to my hotel room alone, vowing to focus my energies on my short game.
My caddie around the Emerald course was called ?Oi,? which made me feel rather ill-mannered. ?Oi, my seven iron,? is never going to sound nice. Despite this nominal antagonism, she helped me to negotiate this very challenging lay-out. But again, no hint of any ?extras.?
Thinking that perhaps blokes in Pattaya see golf as a welcome escape from sex, I hopped over to the idyllic tropical island of Koh Samui to check out the magnificent mountain course, Santiburi Samui. The lovely Lon made it clear to me when I sliced my tee-shot at the fifth that she didn?t venture into the jungle for anything or anyone. Through her brilliant white teeth, she made a hissing sound that I misinterpreted as a warning to keep my distance. She was, in fact, simply alerting me to the presence of snakes. Despite the fact that it was a nearly new Titleist, I took the hint.
Further rounds up north in Chiang Rai and finally back in Bangkok only served to uphold the honourable reputation and integrity of Thai caddies. The moral is a sad one. When it comes to supplying reliable information, intoxicated 32 handicappers in sex bars are not to be trusted.