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fans everywhere are counting down the days to July's big showpiece event.
The World Cup Final? Are you mental? I'm on about the return of the Open
Golf Championship to Royal Liverpool, which begins on July 20th. In
response to Liverpool City Council inviting all residents of this great
Metropolis to act as ambassadors and non-threatening helpers to tourists,
Swine presents a handy guide to golfing on Merseyside's Municipal Courses,
for any Yanks, Japs or Irish who might be popping over for the
golfstravanganza and who fancy getting in a quick 18 holes.
casual visitor will undoubtedly head to the Club Shop on arrival at the
course and look to book a tee-off time, rent a set of clubs and buy some
balls. This is a mistake. Tee-off times need to be booked in advance, as
the boozer league and the dole league will almost certainly have snaffled
all available tees. Also, the club rental facility is no longer available,
due to the club shop being emptied by ram-raiders earlier in the week. As
for balls, I wouldn't bother as they will be available
"on-course" for a tenth of the retail price (see below). So you
need to phone the course and book a tee, which will almost certainly be
some time after 5.00pm, and, unless you've brought your own clubs, get
down to American Golf Discount for a set of cheap cavity backs.
first thing to remember about your equipment is that it has to be low-key.
Swine seriously recommends against getting out of your hire car and
pulling out a "Power Caddy" and luxury rhino skin golf bag with
"CALLOWAY BIG BERTHA TITANIUM" down the side, as they will
almost certainly be heading out of the car-park in the back of a
black-windowed Golf GTI before you've finished locking your boot. Other
items of equipment that are frowned upon include Broomhandle putters
(gay), gap wedges (ostentatious display of wealth) and umbrellas from
company golf days (suckhole).
who values their life should ever, under any circumstances, attempt to get
on a Merseyside Muny wearing anything that Ronnie Corbett would wear. That
means all the stereotypes of golf clobber are right out - no tartan kecks,
no aunty hats, no Pringle rollnecks etc. All you need is a glove. Golf
shoes are OK as long as they are all black or those nice Adidas ones with
the green stripes that Langer used to have. Do not attempt to wear
"spats". The rest of the kit is a combination of jeans/tracky
bottoms/cargo shorts and Polo shirt/sweatshirt/hoody/tracky top. And a
kagoul for the rain.
simply - it's dog eat dog. Be prepared for people cutting in ahead of you,
picking up your ball, flicking roaches on the green as you're putting or
sniggering loudly as you reach the top of your backswing - and that's just
the on-course security guard. Show no weakness. If some shaven-headed
brute places his ball on your tee after you've waited 25 minutes to tee
off, sternly tell him "You can fuck right off bollocks".
Otherwise, you'll still be there until close of play (i.e. 1 hour after
darkness). Other points of note: it is acceptable to tee off when the
previous four ball have reached their nearest ball, it is unacceptable to
spend more than 5 seconds lining up a putt, anything within 12 foot of the
hole is a "gimme", it is acceptable to move your ball to a
better lie or out of the rough (with no penalty) if it was a good
drive/long iron that just had a "bad kick" or something, it is
unacceptable to look for a lost ball if you have hit a decent, perfectly
playable "provisional" - in fact as a general rule it is
advisable to not look for a lost ball at any time as that's blatant
"look at this twat" provocation to some people.
reason why Swine has a special section on the first tee is that this is
without doubt the hardest shot in Muny golf. The casual visitor should
expect some, or all, of the following: at least a one hour wait to tee
off, at least 30 mean-looking delinquents in close proximity to the tee,
your address to the ball being punctuated with the sound of cans being
opened, joints being lit and assorted cackling, the sound of muffled
laughter after a poor drive, the sound of groans and contemptuous remarks
after a slice, the sound of threats to your person if your "second
off the tee" goes the same way as the first, and total blank
indifference if you cream one 250 yards down the fairway. Also be prepared
to for weird loners to attempt to geg-in on your fourball. These must be
avoided at all costs as they are usually mental patients on day release
and are well known to course regulars - particularly "Mick The Manc"
with his gammy leg and full sleeve of "Tommy Doc's Red Army"
not bunkers, creeks, heavy rough or out of bounds. Amongst the more common
hazards encountered on the Merseyside Munys are: hard dogs being walked
down the fairway by ASBO youth, giant slag heaps (Bootle), motorcross
riders (Bowring Park), "donuts" tyre marks
scorched on the green (ditto), low flying RC aircraft (Kirkby),
gangsters living out their Capone Mob fantasies (the only time Big Al was
shot was while out on the links, a gun went off in his bag by accident
fact fans), juvenile ball pilferers, fly tippers, golf balls landing near
you from other fairways or the tee you just came from, shards of glass in
bunkers, bricks being thrown at you if you
spend too long over a putt, plague rats
(Sherdley), Bhopal-style chemical poisoning (St Micks,
common feature of the Muny is the prevalence of local gangs of urchins
selling assorted golf wares on course. It is advised that you buy a
fistfull of balls off them (usually 5 for a pound) and that way you can
get them off your case quickly and painlessly. Under no circumstances
should you abuse them or threaten to report them. At the very least they
will hassle you for the rest of your round, and every time you address the
ball they will be round your bag like dippers on a Yank. The worst case
scenario would be for them to shoot your elbows off and steal all your
gear to resell to the fourball behind. Be warned, don't fuck with these
dining facilities are quite specialised and as a result most locals will
arrive at the tee with a goody bag full of bananas (for that "slow
release of energy"), Mars Bars ("helps you work, rest and
play") and 8 cans of Stella ("That's my ball, knobhead").
If you haven't brought any scoff of your own, you will almost certainly
have to visit the course Burger Van. Well either that or starve cos you're
looking at a 5 hour-plus round on the average Muny. The Burger Van usually
stocks all the essentials - beef burgers, chicken burgers, turkey burgers,
hotdogs, onions, brown and red sauce. And crisps. As with most outdoor
Burger vendors, it's not worth geting wound up about hygiene issues such
as "where does he piss", "what's that under his
nails", "are burgers supposed to be pink" etc. And even if
you decide that you'll pass on the grub, after waiting for 45 minutes to
tee off on the Par 3 you'll end up succumbing to the noxious smell of
fried dog meat in the end. It's all part of the great game that is Golf.
final word about scoring. On a standard par 72 Muny, anyone who gets a
score in the 70s has no place on the course as they are far too good.
Anything in the 80s will be subject to a stewards enquiry and all
invocations of the "lads rules" during the round will be brought
up in an attempt to push the score into the 90s, e.g. "4 on the 18th?
Piss off, you took 5 off the tee for starters" etc etc. Anything in
the 90s or above will pass without comment and can be considered a
that's it. Merseyside is the
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