Roy and I have just returned from the Wild Coast where we went for a three day golf festival called the Racing Masters. Things started off rather badly when my wife and daughter picked me up at the stables on Sunday morning. She had adjusted the drivers seat of the car, and when I tried to correct it going 60 kms an hour down Ramgoolam highway, the seat suddenly shot forward as I touched the brake forcing me onto the brake pedal with the force of an overweight hippopotamus & sending the vehicle into a totally unplanned full arrest in the middle of the freeway. I took my face off the windscreen and my boerie out of the ashtray as my wife and daughter, who were also cuddled up in the front by now, hurled various Gaelic profanities at me.
|Goofmans chariot outside the family home|
The drive down to the famous holiday resort is about an hour and three quarters. Staying within the allocated speed limit, we flew past Jimbo Goodman and Secretariat as they chugged down the slow lane in their late model Mercedes sports. I don't think he realized that he had lost his caravan going up the Twini hill. On the Sunday afternoon, many players try to get in a practice round before the opening cocktail party. I was teamed up with Dereck 'King' Martin, Gary Wilson and Billy Basson. When the notorious wind comes up it is extremely difficult to shoot a low score, and so proved the case as we hacked around the ravines and bushes with King sticking to his mantra that 'if you want to win, you have to follow the mower'. After a few beers and a good laugh, I handed over the folding stuff to King and made a mental note to let Mr Snyman get hold of his handicap.
|Shezi's cousin at the bar|
|Shezi's custom golf bag|
The cocktail party is always a wonderful get-together with racing friends from all around the country in attendance. Everyone's favourite bookmaker, Tubby Luckan, had a good idea of who to price up favourite for the most sought after prize, the drunkest player. Previous winners included Shezi and the Greek hang-glider, Luckless Howdoyoulikeme, and both had some stiff opposition from all of the Pakistani trainer 'Prince Hill', Ricky Sin, Larry Southwood, Pepperoni Petzer and up and coming possibilities, young Michael Shezi and the well educated, Aidan Glynn. Graeme Hawkins, who must be applauded for making this such a premium tournament, has again excelled as he and his team have things running like clockwork. Dave Lavarack walked in imitating an aging Al Capone with his customary small hat & looking more like Humpty Dumpty sporting a yarmulka. Mike Bass and his wife Carol are both playing this year and the lethargic left hander has a few scores to settle with the Durban pigeons. Having just won another Group 1 in the Gold Cup, Mike is looking forward to a relaxing finale to his annual KZN sojourn. The Humble Hero, Joe Soma, is talking to his erstwhile schoolmate, Ricky 'I'm not the Full Polony' Sin. I am told that Ricky Sin is the only Chinaman South Africa with no idea where China is. It is hard to believe that Sin, Soma, Georgiou and Azzie were all in the same class together, although it has to be said that they do look like they could come from the same genetic pool somewhere around the eastern Mediterranean. Twenty intakes at the Jockey academy could not have rivaled that racing passion, and our dear Mr Sin is the proverbial cuckoo who flew over the nest. If he is classified as sane, then I am a Skaap.
|Soma's class of '75|
When the food and speeches have come to an end, most troop up to the Casino to try and beat the tables. I notice Goofman at one of the machines and I remind him that he has given up playing. He assures me that he is only watching Secretariat play, and like his grandmother Zsa Zsa Gabor, a table player of note, soon starts raking in the coins. Mark Gullen is a very lucky gambler and soon he has also filled his boots as the Prince looks on with the envy of a southern Yemen Al-Qaida operative at a Vegas strip joint.
|Michael Shea having a bath|
The next morning the wind has died down when we receive our starting times and head off for an early beer. Mike de Kock and fellow players are working out the stakes and handicaps as Jimbo strides through with a clip board, fashionable arm warmers from a farmers market in Southern Lesotho & a Monte Christo hanging fom his lips, while he has a bet with all and sundry. Hibrie Roy Moodley has made the trip down with his wife, Mumsy, and tells me that he had three bets at the roulette table, all on the same number and all arriving in a row.....money to money. Shezi, who had to be wheelchaired to his room by his trusty wingman, Gary Harris, is looking rather spritely and winks conspiratorially at the young bar lady imitating an over-confident Bernie Ecclestone, similar facial trenches, I mean features, included. He has shortened in the betting with Tubby Luckan. His son, Michael, who is more of a clone than Dolly the Sheep, greets me with a traditional 'Inshallah' and slyly slips a six pack under his jacket.
|Luckless's caddie slumped at the tenth|
When the scores have come in after the first day, most have struggled.. The halfway leader, Shane Simmons, has shot a 41 to take a good lead off the chasing pack led by Williamson, Southwood, De Kock and a struggling Goofman whose myopic companion, the affable Secretariat, has clearly taken the stuffing out of him. The Humble Hero has set a bit of a record by knocking out his caddie, who was 'just' 150 meters away, with a wayward drive at the second. Luckless was trying to revive her & rummaged around her underwear to find out where the ball went as it was a new pro V. She was taken to a nearby clinic and had returned by the time we were on the back nine, albeit not remembering her name, ancestry or her sexual proclivities for that matter..
Supper that evening is a boisterous affair around the raised bar and sunken swimming pool, and Robert the Bruce, alter ego of the affable Brett Crawford, is starting to stake his claim for the doppers' prize. The final day is a perfect Natal winters' day and I have been drawn with Michael Shea, Dr Aidan Glynn and young Brad Van Der Scaler, who is one of the finer strikers of a golf ball that I have witnessed. We load our cart with a dozen Peroni and get down to the first box where we utilize the famous Australian beer bong to steady the nerves. We watch Hibrie Roy Moodley drive one down the middle. His swing resembles an Octopus with cerbral palsy falling out of a tree...
I have had a bet with Bongie Delpech and I have a two stroke lead over him as he drives past me. He seems to have lost the vision in his left eye as he tells me that a spider has bitten him, and not between holes, but on the eyelid. I fake my sincerity when I tell him that I hope it does not affect him. By the sixth tee we have run out of beer and our good friend Clive 'Youpoes' Napier delivers the two bottles of Semi-Norf and four liters of Kokorot Sop. Michael Shezi starts pouring some wonderful Kwamashu singles and approaching the last, Dr Aidan Glynn has gone from His Eminence the Vet to the Vietnam vet and is slurring in a dialect of medieval Vietcong. The famous 18th hole has a group of spectators drinking beer and the irrepresible Shezi is chirping away as usual. King comes through with another good score and once again fleeces me of what little is left in my wallet. Fish Sturgeon, whose riding style resembles someone washing sarongs on the banks of the Yangtse river, suffers the ignominy of four puts on the green to tremendous applause and a lot of ribbing from his fellow stunted pilots. With the final pairing advancing on the last hole, the word goes out that Larry Southwood has turned it around and, apart from rumoured to be now batting for the other side, has drawn clear with former leader, Shane Simmons, folding like a new deck chair.
everybody retires to the clubhouse where the bets are paid out and the once
confident Jimbo Goodman looks a shadow of his youthful self, a broken man
languishing in the mediocrity of his inconsistent swing. Ricky the Lunatic
gives the crowd his best impersonation of an autistic jockey as he animatedly
starts swinging his arms like a mongoose whose backside has just been caught in
a mouse trap.
|Goofman before Secretariat|
|Kevin Shea at the 18th|
It is a great end to the wonderful Champions season. Until next time.