Lockdown Loopy. Martin Vousden

Thought for the Day
Never trust a dog to watch your food

The air of desperation is growing ever more frantic with each passing day. Deprived of the opportunity to play golf, or even practise (putting indoors and chipping in the back garden hardly count), we golfers are going a little stir-crazy, or lockdown loopy. Television and radio news is an endless recycling of the same story; variations on a theme that doesn’t have a great deal of variety. And our sports pages demonstrate the art of stretching any material as gossamer thin as it will go.

It has become so bad that you are probably, like me, trawling websites, blogs and Tinder et al for any crumb of information about golf or golfers but there are some pretty desperate depths to be plumbed.

My favourite so far concerned a GolfTV question and answer session with Tiger Woods hosted by his friend Rob McNamara. One of the questions submitted by viewers was: ‘What type of gum do you chew in competition?’ Tiger said: ‘Joey (Woods’ caddie) has this, um, orange, I think, I believe it’s Trident. I ended up getting hooked on it too because I like the sugar and the flavour. So yeah, that’s what Joey and I end up chewing to wake ourselves up.’

My life seems so much richer now that I know Tiger’s brand of chewing gum.

Other questions included: ‘When you’re not playing, do you still wear red on Sundays?’ And if your existence would be unbearable without knowing the answer, it’s ‘No.’ But really, how incomplete would your own life be if you were compelled to find the reply to either of those questions?

Elsewhere you can discover why the pros may break Augusta National’s strict rules of behaviour. If the Masters goes ahead in November, as planned, it will clash with some big college American football games, so the pros may check up on the scores by having their cell-phones on in their bags, usually a big no-no. Yes, seriously, Golf.com has reported this as news.

Or you may be delighted to know that Brooks Koepka’s girlfriend has given him a haircut – a proper number 1 – and he’ll be wearing a bobble hat until it grows again.

Like many others, I tried for a while to take my daily exercise by walking around my golf course but found it immeasurably frustrating to be striding the fairways but unable to hit a shot. Out of habit I would find myself looking at a distant (or near) green and calculating which club I would be hitting in order to get there. It’s like going to the best restaurant in town when you’re on a diet and can only eat salad and drink water. I also can’t help but notice that, because of the great early season weather we’ve all enjoyed, the course looks in great nick.

So, like many others, I have been obliged to dig the tools out of the garage and undertake some of those DIY jobs that I’ve been meaning to get around to (honest) for the last decade or so. One such task involved trying to figure out why my wife’s electric golf trolley gave up the ghost around about the same time as Nick Faldo won his last major. To her and my eternal surprise, I managed to fix it, but it needs a serious workout to make sure that the fix isn’t temporary.

The obvious thing would be to take it to my golf club, load it up with a full bag and walk 18 holes, and although I’m seriously tempted, I can’t. Anyone else seeing me would assume I’m out there playing. Being British they wouldn’t challenge me, just mutter to themselves and possibly write a stiff letter of complaint to the secretary, or the Daily Telegraph. I’ve tried trundling the trolley round the garden but I don’t have captain Tom’s dedication or stamina to replicate a round of golf on our postage stamp of a lawn. And if I tried to road test the thing at our local park, I’m convinced the social distance police will metaphorically feel my collar, or issue an on-the-spot fine for being recklessly in charge of a motorised vehicle.

The only tiny speck of light at the end of the tunnel (but it could well be an express train about to flatten us) is that, when the restrictions start to ease, tennis and golf might be among the first social activities to resume – under strict social distancing rules, naturally.

We’re all going cabin crazy but have to stick with the lockdown for a little while longer – so clean your clubs (again), buy some more golf balls and gloves online (again) and dream of the glorious day when you can get back on a course (again).

Quote of the Week
My ball retriever is not long enough to get my putter out of the tree
Brian Weis

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