Want a reality check? Take the grandkids golfing.

Most school holidays I make myself useful and head off to babysit the grandkids so their parents can continue working. Naturally I enjoy the time spent with them and I am rewarded for my efforts with good food, fine wine and scotch. On the most recent trip, I decided to take them (as observers) with me for a relaxed 9 holes at the local golf club.


Prior to getting in the golf buggy I explained the obvious terms like par (the expected score of an accomplished golfer), birdie, eagle, bogey and double bogey. I also told them a little bit about etiquette and conduct on and around the course. They say kids can be cruel...well add to that, brutally honest, highly perceptive and better sledgers than you've ever heard on the cricket field or from your regular four ball banter.


Before leaving the pro shop I'd been conned into buying two 500 ml sugary drinks and thought I'd try out the new Srixon soft cover balls at 5 for 10 bucks. I heard granddaughter say to her brother..."why does he need so many balls...he only hits one?" I didn't think I'd dignify that with an answer. The first hole went well I thought but a three putt was disappointing...as grandson wrote down the score he correctly and loudly announced that I'd scored a double bogey.


The second was a long par five. My third shot landed just before and left of the green and disappeared. As we approached grandson said "I think it's in the bunker"... didn't know he knew what a bunker was...after a second shot that got the ball out granddaughter pipes up..."why did you have to have two shots out of there?" I didn't answer. They recorded the score after a three putt and the next question hurt...."Oupa (Afrikaans word for granddad)" says granddaughter "If that was a 7 it would be double bogey but it was an 8 what do you call that?" I had to answer... "Triple bogey! Four over par would be quadruple, like the bypass I had on my heart a few years ago."


The next three holes garnered three bogeys and after the 6th hole (another bogey) granddaughter asked with hands on hips..."Is that the best you can do?" As I set up on the 7th the two of them started chanting in unison, hoping to lift my spirits, "Go Oupa, go Oupa....."It was really touching but I had to explain that that kind of support was for other sports or at least only after the strike of the ball. Success at last....got a par on that hole much to the admiration of the kids.


I had a great drive on the par 4, 8th with a simple chip onto the green required. Forgetting my simple swing thoughts and with a slight lapse in concentration I came out of the shot too soon and skulled it past the flag and across the green and down the bank on the other side. Grandson politely asked if that was my intention and had I done it on purpose...I grunted something that I hope he or his sister didn't hear. I managed to walk away with a bogey.


The 9th was an intimidating par 3. Had my tee shot gone as long as it went high I would have been happy. It didn't and I had to answer another awkward question. The 7 iron approach was very satisfying ending up a foot from the hole for a tap in par. Nice way to finish... but the sledging continued.... Grandson..."you didn't even get a birdie so what chance have you got of getting an eagle?" Granddaughter..."so what are you going to do with the extra balls you bought and didn't use?" ( I think that was a backhanded compliment.)


We parked the buggy, handed in the keys and said goodbye to the Pro, packed the clubs and the kids in the Jeep and headed home with two detours... the bottle shop for beer and Maccas for the burgers.