A troubling phenomenon has been creeping into puregolf2010 of late ‚?? something that we‚??ve hardly encountered this year, thanks be to y‚??er man in the sky. ¬†I‚??m talking about waking up without a game of golf arranged. ¬†I remember it happening on our last day out on Long Island, the day we were flying via Iceland to Gatwick and on to Edinburgh. ¬†That was stressful with a capital S (Stressful). ¬†Now ‚?? as a result of having far too much fun in Ireland with those sociable Irish folk people ‚?? planning for the English leg isn‚??t as advanced as, well, it could be. ¬†Many games are organised, but not all of ‚??em. ¬†Today was one of those latter days, but thankfully a club came to the rescue in our time of need. ¬†Moseley GC in suburban Birmingham is thus our rather unexpected Fairy Godmother. ¬†May the sun always shine on its staff and members, and everyone‚??s putts drop for eternity.
It was something of a culture shock approaching Jim Murray‚??s apartment last evening, as we wound through the arteries flowing from the fragrant organ that is The Curry Mile. ¬†Not one fair skinned soul did we see in 10 minutes. ¬†I‚??d like to make clear that I have no problem whatsoever with this (hell, I‚??m an immigrant myself!), but only mention the fact as it took me so aback. ¬†I like the smell of curry too ‚?? it being a favourite belly filler, particularly in the winter time, with the hockey lads ‚?? so the experience was by no means an unpleasant one! ¬†In time we arrived at Jim‚??s place ‚?? Jim being a Consultant Haematologist at the University Hospital of Birmingham, who worked with my Uncle Nigel before Nigel took the plunge and emigrated (captaining the first Patton boatload) to sunny Nu Zillin. ¬†They‚??ve kept in touch and remain friends, despite the fact that Nigel‚??s been 16 years in the wilderness. ¬†At the eleventh hour I emailed my Uncle (who has helped out on several occasions this year, God Bless Him), explaining that we had nowhere to stay in Birmingham and enquiring whether he might know someone who could put us ruffians up for a night. ¬†Hence Jim, who was a gentleman.
Jim must‚??ve been somewhat bemused by the ruffled nature of our existence (and predicament, re golf). ¬†Nonetheless he was kind enough to take us out for a delightful (yes, you guessed it) curry and open a bottle of French white back at base camp, which we quaffed into the evening until we could quaff no more. ¬†I was quite taken with the volume and (apparent) quality of the literature lining his myriad bookshelves. ¬†A learned man, obviously. ¬†
After thanking Jim for his most kind hospitality we ventured a mile or so around the corner to Moseley GC, which is tucked away as if to prevent anyone from ever finding the place. ¬†I suspect it‚??s the members‚?? jealously guarded little slice of old world nirvana. ¬†And well it should be. ¬†For Moseley ‚?? we had no idea what to expect ‚?? is a delight; the sort of course you could happily play every Wednesday until you take in your final breath. ¬†(A couple of the members we met looked like their final breath may be coming soon, so my theory may indeed be accurate ‚?? they appeared entirely content with life). ¬†
‚??Twas just the trio of us (Bartos being the third, as will be the case from time to time from here on in). ¬†On the 1st you tee off from under an ancient oak (?) tree. ¬†A very nice tree it was too. ¬†The sort of tree that lingers in one‚??s memory, clearly. ¬†
A quite extraordinary thing happened on the 2nd. ¬†Bart after getting mixed up with foliage was about to play his 3rd from the rough, under trees, about 100 yards out. ¬†All of a sudden, a shifty looking chap meandered from the shadows and stood not 3 yards behind Bart‚??s ball, watching with interest as Bart tried to salvage what was left of the hole. ¬†Not a word; not so much as a moment‚??s eye contact. ¬†Just a perplexing display of curiosity. ¬†Of course, we got on the phone instantly to the course steward, and had the man shot. ¬†He won‚??t be troubling no one else no more.
On a more serious note, a rather plush cricket ground ‚?? white picket fence and all ‚?? lies just over the out of bounds on the third. ¬†It was the sort of oval you might find at a public school where the combined income of a J1 team‚??s fathers would trump most African nations‚?? GDP. ¬†We discovered later, when talking to some of the old guard outside on the patio, that the Golf Club actually owns the cricket ground. ¬†So there you go ‚?? another useless piece of information for you. ¬†Good for them.
Just as at Lytham the other day, the encroachment of the odd brick house into sight was no black mark. ¬†On the contrary, because it was just a glimpse here and there, I felt it added to the club‚??s Spot-of-Solitude-In-The-Suburbs character. ¬†The fourth hole was a fine example of this dynamic. ¬†A downhill par 3 playing 200 yards or so through a clearing in the deciduous skyline. ¬†Tranquil indeed.
Moseley had a little bit of Washington Golf & Country Club about it. ¬†The odd Donald Ross-like green complex; sharp changes in undulation, at times; and not a lot of space. ¬†I‚??d say it‚??s the sort of course good golfers feel they should beat, but get ankle tapped when they try too hard. ¬†A health warning for anyone visiting for the first time, unaccompanied: if you don‚??t know which way the dogleg goes, don‚??t guess! ¬†You might think that‚??s common sense. You‚??d probably be right. ¬†Us young bucks just love to hit driver though when a hole is sub-330. ¬†Putting for eagle brings a thrill other putts just don‚??t give you. ¬†Speaking of which, Bart rolled one in on 18 under the watchful eye of Dad‚??s Army. ¬†Never being shy to throw his arms up in celebration, Bart lit up Moseley for a short 5 seconds of excitement. ¬†A lovely moment.
Our plan was to zip away sharp-ish in order to beat the school run. ¬†It was 2.45 and we wanted to get to Bristol in less than 6 hours. ¬†However. ¬†Friends we‚??d come across out on course (we came off the 1st green as they were teeing off on 12) stopped us and demanded that we join them on the patio for a refreshment. ¬†Despite violent protestations we eventually acquiesced. ¬†At first I gave Earl Grey Tea as my order (after 27 days in Ireland spent drinking not much else other than the black stuff, save for milk on my cereal (most of the time)); but this very pucker Birminghamite (that‚??s the proper noun I‚??m going to use despite the fact that it‚??s almost certainly wrong) would not have a bit of it. ¬†When I said tea, all he heard was a pint of ale. ¬†Real ale. ¬†The best kind. ¬†Having worked for several years in a microbrewery in Christchurch set up by a couple of Anglo ex-pats I‚??ve developed an appreciation for a good drop of bitter, and this was a good drop indeed. ¬†Shame I can‚??t remember its name, but you‚??ll just have to take my word for it. ¬†
On this Thursday morning we‚??d awoken without a game of golf to play. ¬†By late afternoon we‚??d had the pleasure of visiting Moseley GC in Birmingham ‚?? a visit that proved to be a real treat, rewarding in every way. ¬†On this note we must repeat the debt of gratitude we owe to the good people at the club, for keeping puregolf2010 on track. ¬†Much obliged, my friends. ¬†Ditto to the old boys who were so kind in refreshing us for our journey down the M6. ¬†A short visit ‚?? Birmingham ‚?? but a great one.
JP ¬† ¬†
Posting comments has been disabled.