You can keep your knighthoods, you can keep your CBE?s. You can keep your BAFTAs and your Oscars. The highest and most prestigious honour a man can receive has been bestowed upon me. I?ve been enrolled as a senior assessor for the next Golf Monthly top 100 courses. (If anyone from the British Academy reads this, I?d quite like a BAFTA too).
This week, Little Aston received the actor?s first assessment. After meeting fellow panellist, John Drake, and giving each other the obligatory G.M. secret handshake, we took to the course. A few weeks ago, Fergus Bisset (blogging genius and golfing god) discussed how difficult it was keeping a neutral perspective of a course while playing badly. I know exactly what he meant. The course played beautifully, a perfectly manicured joy to behold. My game stank like a sumo wrestler?s jock strap after a world title fight. Thank goodness for John. The entire round he kept my spirits up with his lively banter, his perfect etiquette and also by playing even worse than I. A true gentleman.
I was going to play on Thursday. But after a massive cast party on Wednesday night and the mother of all hangovers the following morning, I had to declare myself unplayable and penalty dropped back to bed.
So it was Friday, that John, myself, his friend Bernard and Chicago?s new drummer, Heinrich (finally a golfer in the cast) took to the green, green fairways and very fast greens of The Warwickshire, a 36 hole complex just south of Birmingham. I?d like to say I played better, but my game still boasted the odour of Japanese wrestler sweat, while John (rather unsportingly) played much better. He and Bernard took the money 3 and 2, however, the financial burden was somewhat alleviated by the Chicagoers winning the bye, two birdies to finish from the actor saw to that (thank god my timing on stage is better). The trash talk was top class throughout the round with Bernard?s wit as sharp as his short game. My only riposte of any note came when he pulled his tee shot into the lake on the 13th and I told him not to worry, I had a good line on it.
Heinrich is a real find. A good golfer (he played off 9 in his native South Africa) and a pleasure to partner. How ironic to finally find a Chicago golfer just as I finish. Yes, this has been my last week on tour. Now it?s back to the family, auditions and The Stage Golfing Society. It?s been a great golfing week to end a great golfing tour and next week, I?ll review the year in full: my favourite courses, my favourite people, the friendliest clubs etc. But for now, it?s a big goodbye from Mr Billy Flynn.