The sport of golf is packed with folklore: tales of incredible feats or of dire misfortunes. In clubhouses across the country you’ll hear peels of laughter or gasps of amazement as golfing stories are retold for the umpteenth time over a couple of post-round libations. There may be some truth to these wildly spun yarns that have long since been embellished upon, or perhaps they’re just myths of the fairways.
We have picked three of the best clubhouse tales, so you decide, fact or fiction?
Bob Taylor and the lucky 16th
Competing in the 1974 Eastern Counties Foursomes at Hunstanton Golf Club in Norfolk, Leicestershire County player Bob Taylor came to the testing par-3 16th. It’s 188 yards and surrounded by bunkers. A stiff wind was blowing in his face – a daunting shot. Bob selected a 1-iron and, incredibly, holed out for an ace.
The following day, Taylor reached the 16th with the wind in the opposite direction, a completely different proposition from the day before. He selected a 6-iron and struck a sweet shot towards the green – another hole-in-one, two in two consecutive days at the same hole!
The following day, word of Taylor’s love affair with the 16th had got out and, this time when he reached the tee, a gallery had assembled to watch him play. Again, the wind was in his favour so he opted for the 6-iron. The crowd looked on in curious hope rather than any real expectation, but defying all laws of probability and reason, Taylor once more holed his tee shot. Three in three days! A plaque now marks the site of Taylor’s remarkable deed.
‘Would the gentleman please move’
Playing at a well-known club that should remain un-named, the first group of a society outing was on the tee. Just before a member of the first fourball was about to play a shot, a shout came from the starter’s box, “Would the gentleman on the ladies’ tee please move back to the men’s boxes.”
The gentleman ignored the cry and settled over the ball for a second time. “Sir, please move off the ladies’ tee and back to the men’s boxes,” the voice persisted.
Now he was a touch more rattled, but decided to ignore the shouts and just get on with the testing shot he was facing.“For the last time, would the gentleman on the ladies’ tee please move back to the yellows?”
This time the fellow decided action was required so stood up from his shot, turned around and retorted, “Would the gentleman in the starter’s box please stop shouting and allow me to play my second shot!”
A Presidential disaster
In 1995 three U.S. Presidents teed it up together prior to the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and conspired to wreak havoc amongst the spectators. George Bush Snr, Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton teamed up in a fourball with American pro Scott Hoch.
Ford’s opening drive was a wild hook into the crowd, he’d shouted “Fore” before he’d even started his downswing.
Bush’s second shot of the day rebounded off a tree and hit an elderly lady, Norma Earley, in the face, smashing her glasses and causing a cut that required stitches across the bridge of her nose.
Bush later hit another spectator who had, wisely, turned his back on the play. It seems Bush’s ball struck him on the backside. Ford then struck a spectator on the hand, drawing blood.
While there are few who will be able to tell us the actual happenings on each of these days, it will not stop the clubhouse chatter from recalling famous mishaps on the course. Embellished or not, these stories are as ingrained into the game as green jackets and the astonishing bar bills for hole-in-ones – and in all honesty the game wouldn’t be the same without them.