If time travel were possible, who out of history would you choose to play one round of golf with or what and when would you go back to witness?
If golf history is your thing then maybe you zip back to 1935 and watch Gene Sarazen play the infamous’‘shot heard around the world’; a thundering 4-wood to the par-5 15th in The Masters that rolled in for an incredible albatross to tie the lead. Or Seve’s tee shot at the 10th at The Belfry or Sandy Lyle’s miraculous bunker shot to set up a first British win at The Masters in 1988.
If you are more daring then how about a three ball with Old and Young Tom Morris. Between father and son they won The Open four times each between 1861 and 1872. Young Tom is just 21 and at the peak of his game having just secured his fourth consecutive open championship, a feat never repeated to this day. Yet you watch heartbroken, for you alone know that he will never win another title and soon his wife and child die in childbirth. Young Tom will never recover, dying three short months later. Such is the curse of the time traveller.
For many, maybe the trip will allow the chance to plot a more personal course through time. Enabling you to snatch hours with an unknown grandfather or once again share a sun dappled two ball with a sorely missed parent. The chance perhaps to complete unfinished conversations or whisper words never said.
Then again could Gandhi unlock your inner calm or Field Marshall Montgomery teach you a thing or two about coming out of the sand? Whenever, whoever; it’s your choice.
Personally I choose 1860 and Charles Darwin for a very practical reason. What if during the course of our round my ball should run into a small hole? I pick up my rule book and flick to the index. I look up’‘hole’ and find ‘Made by burrowing animal’ and turn to the proffered page of definitions. A “burrowing animal” is an animal that makes a hole for habitation or shelter, such as a rabbit, mole, groundhog, gopher or salamander. An index chain later and the gist is: hole by burrowing animal equals abnormal ground condition equals relief. If ‘burrowing’, the animal ain’t, bad luck. Thus I find myself out of my sphere of knowledge and stuffed by a stupid rule.
I haven’t got a clue what holes may or may not have been made by ‘burrowing animals’ or otherwise. Why should I? You should get relief either way! Instead, I’m in a hole, and can’t move on until I can identify the species that made the hole. Even if I can then I have to know enough about it’s physiology to ascertain if it is ‘burrowing’ or not. And then I remember my well chosen partner, the pre-eminent naturalist of the last two centuries. Salvation. “Hey Chas,” I ask “Do you know anyone whose got a gopher?”