This story is part of our 'Embarrassing Golf Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.
Photo by Allie Caulfield.
When I tell people I can’t play golf, most assume I’m being modest and laugh it off. What they don’t actually take into account is that I actually can’t play golf. The connecting the ball and golf-stick head just never works for me. Ever. I’ve had makeshift family lessons. I’ve tried my best at mini golf. I’ve watched Greg Norman and Tiger Woods compete with the best of them. I’ve even turned to the Wii to hone my skills. Nothing works.
I blame toad golf entirely. For anyone who hasn’t been to Australia, one of our biggest and most hated pests is the cane toad. It really doesn’t help its cause - it has a face only its mother could love, it kills not only the wildlife but also our pets and if you’ve ever accidentally stood on one, you’d understand the instant revulsion that accompanies a mere glimpse of these creatures.
One of the more barbaric extermination methods is to get a golf club and launch the poor, unwitting creature into the neighbour’s garden or better yet, council property. In some areas, it’s almost a rite of passage for neighbourhood children. These are my roots. Love them or hate them, I now embrace them.
Most kids go through this pretty sadistic stage, before realizing the toad actually has feelings and either grow out of it, realize there are more effective and kinder ways of eradicating a pest or simply realize it’s not all that professional to turn up at the golf green with your clubs sporting toad entrails. Even at a young age, I was repulsed by the flailing legs of the toad as it flew and by the corpses that were discovered the next morning.
I took it upon myself to sabotage every toad golf expedition I saw - by hiding golf clubs, turning off lights so the unsuspecting toad couldn’t be found, dobbing like there was no tomorrow and generally making a nuisance of myself to anyone who tried to start a game.
While successful in that endeavor (many clouds of dust were created and ant nests upended as toads escaped being finally flung towards their creator), I have failed completely to master golf. I simply cannot bring myself to connect the club with the ball.
While my skill or clear lack thereof is far more embarrassing for anybody playing golf with me, the explanation behind my handicap is simply impossible to explain to people without sounding like a complete and utter nutter. Embarrassing? Yes. Awkward? Yes. True? Yes. It happened because of a friend of a friend of mine!