My aim is to provide information and comments about all aspects of golf, especially in Thailand, and indeed elsewhere, in a lighthearted and hopefully amusing style. The Thailand Golf Blog is meant to complement our ‘big sister’ blog, Thailandgolfzone.com. That blog offers golf course reviews, special Thailand golf playing tips and advice, and holiday and vacation planning, along with first hand expert knowledge. It perhaps has a more serious approach, whereas here you will find golf stories from Thailand and around the world, golf humour (or even humor) and golf trivia.
In particular, I hope that you might enjoy tales, mostly apocryphal, from my favourite Golf Society in Thailand, the Mainly Unquenchables Golf Society (the MUGS). I occasionally join its Wednesday afternoon outings when I am in Bangkok and time allows. The MUGS “clubhouse” is the Limping Cockroach Pub in the middle of one of Bangkok’s less salubrious soi’s, surrounded by go-go bars, massage parlours and dimly-lit bars. Yet, the interior of the pub is like the gentlemen’s bar in a long-established, superior golf club: with leather seats all around, and golfing prints and trophies and past champion boards on the walls. The female staff have nearly all been there for as long as I can remember, well over twenty years, and probably by the looks of it, much longer. A recent new-fangled innovation was the installation of a TV set, much to the disgust of many of the decrepit-looking clientele. The eclectic and occasionally eccentric MUGS members are mainly old Far Eastern hands, and include Vietnam War veterans, senior managers in large international enterprises, successful businessmen, retirees, and some slightly mysterious characters who nobody is quite sure what they are doing in Thailand. Most are members of Bangkok Golf Clubs but prefer to enter the MUGS Wednesday stableford tournament on whichever of Bangkok’s golf courses the group is still allowed to play on. Their handicaps range from plus 2 to 28, with every standard in between. The MUGS is run with an iron fist by Charlie, an uncompromising ex-services Scotsman, with a ram-rod straight back and a ginger toupee, also known as the ‘Ayatollah Hogmanay’. A couple of years back he was practicing playing his bagpipes in Lumpini Park and was arrested by the Tourist Police for carrying an offensive weapon! Charlie keeps meticulous records of all MUGS outings going back years. An occasional visiting guest was shocked last week when trying to claim a handicap of 18. He was told in no uncertain terms by Charlie that he would play off 14 since the last time he had played with the MUGS in July, 2002, he shot 86. Charlie also administers members’ handicaps (the MUGS is affiliated with the USGA) and adjudicates on rules disputes. Rarely is he wrong. Last October, Charlie had an unfortunate experience on the occasion of the MUGS visit to Alpine Sports Club. His four-ball – comprising Billy, a 26 handicapper whose flailing golf swing can only be compared to a manic food mixer, Roy, who suffers from probably the worst “yips” in the world yet is still a creditable 13 handicap, and Rob, an impossibly good-looking, 6 handicap, insurance loss adjustor by whom all of the lady caddies hope to be selected – were caught in a sharp downpour. Charlie’s caddie rushed to put up an umbrella to protect him but, in so doing, unfortunately caught on the tip of the umbrella spike not only Charlie’s golf cap, but also his toupee. Needless to say his playing partners were too polite to mention the incident – until, that is, he was standing over a four foot, borrowing clutch putt on the last hole, on which ‘the money’ was resting. “That’s what I call a hair-raising putt,” said Billy.
More tales from the MUGS in future postings. You are welcome to post and comment on this Thailand Golf Blog, preferably in the same jocular vein. And if any of you have an interesting or amusing story about golf in Thailand, or elsewhere, please email it to me. Play fast, swing slow!