The Major and Lasers

Royal St. Luke’s Golf Club (est. 1603)

pulsa inveni repulsa


The Secretary
Royal St Luke’s Clubhouse
Carrington Magna
Suffolk SU3 1GC

Bombarded daily by members on issues ranging from Rules and etiquette to theoretical astrophysics, it was perhaps not surprising that the publication of my correspondence in these columns should add an extra – and indeed international – dimension to such queries. I seem to be becoming an amalgam of the Oracle of Delphi and Madame Strogoff, that palmist who does the pros before the Open. However, a long military and civilian life has given one a certain experience which may be of value to one’s fellow creatures as we struggle to make sense of the madness around us.


Major ;

I have finally accepted that the Universe originated in a Big Bang. Now, is it continuing to expand or does it contain sufficient mass that its gravity will eventually halt the expansion and then reverse it, leading to a Big Crunch. If so, when is this likely to happen ?

R.T. Gravell , Truro

Mr Gravell;

The Universe is almost certainly behaving as it should. Whether it ends in eerie cold void, expanding endlessly as the stars finally flicker out, or in a great crunch, this is unlikely to happen, I understand, for some 13.5 billion years. Perhaps a more immediate issue for your concern is the endless expansion of golf courses to accommodate the ridiculous increase in driving length. Now this really should lead to a seriously Big Crunch – preferably later this year. In fact, if the R&A won’t introduce the re-dimpled ( 275 yd. maximum) golf ball for the Open qualifying then I will – and you’ll hear the fallout in Truro. By the way, I think you’ll find it was a Big Bang that started the business.


Major ;

Is it possible to grow Clematis (Clematis Carcasana ) on a basically sandy soil with dung-based compost against a North-East facing wall in Suffolk ?

H. Farrer, Lowestoft.

Mr. Farrer ;




I understand that Royal St Luke’s has opened an extension to its Dormy House for the treatment of what, for want of a scientific term, may be called golf addiction. It is rumoured here in London that Dr. Karl-Heinz Kneipenhocke of Vienna is in charge and that treatment involves aversion therapy and electro-convulsive shocking. I would like to admit my husband to this facility. He has confessed his addiction and has made a Statement.

Frances C. Barrington (Mrs.)

Mrs Barrington;

We do indeed operate a rehab unit here but it is presently full and there is a 16-month waiting list. Dr Kneipenhocke will however see your husband for an initial assessment to determine if aversion therapy is required or whether he can be managed with substitution treatment. The latter involves the patient being gradually weaned off golf and onto crown-green bowling, accompanied by two burly male nurses. The process is backed up by drug therapy with Linkase, a drug which triggers palmar urticaria should a patient escape and grab hold of a golf club grip. This treatment is not available on the NHS which, I understand, only deals with darts and snooker addiction. You may be interested to know that over 90% of patients pass the Cambridge test after treatment in the Unit. This test involves their walking out past the St Luke’s clubhouse, going through the gates to the main road and standing for 30 minutes, in full view of the course, waiting for a Cambridge bus. If they can achieve this without breaking down or hurling themselves at the wrought iron railings which surround us, it’s a cure.


Dear Major ;

I understand that the PGA, astonishingly, have sanctioned the use of powerful laser rangefinders in professional tournaments under their control. I am no physicist, but the word in the clubhouse is that these contraptions are based on the death-ray now used by the military to fry enemy installations at great distances. I can remember when we simply looked at the distance to the green, gauged the windspeed and played. Then it was coloured sticks, yardages on sprinkler heads, booklets showing the distances to and from hazards – and now it’s this. Where will it all end ?

You know what happened here last year when we had that trial of lasers during three monthly medals. There was flashing all over the course, play slowed up damnably and there was that fight on the 14th green when RJ Pickett thrashed Lord Venner’s caddy for shining the red laser-spot on the ball as he addressed a putt. Such is the power of the laser gun that all sorts of chicanery are possible. Some joker managed to set fire to the backside of Henry Summers’s plus–fours last week, probably the same chap who scared the Captain witless by igniting his cigar from half a mile away.

You must have seen “Robocop” recently, Nigel Franklin’s caddy in his leathers and motorcycle helmet with tinted visor. He actually looks more and more like a mobile weatherstation. He has a helmet-mounted laser for the distances, while the revolving anemometer and weathervane on top of his head feed in the windspeed and direction. Rumour has it that his helmet visor has an ultraviolet capability allowing him, even in deep rough, to “see” his ball to which he is directed by a GPS system linked to 14 orbiting satellites, while the Stock Exchange prices endlessly roll across his head-up display. Major, please, don’t you think that it’s time that we went back to golf ?

T.R. Boyd


Dear Mr. Boyd;



RJM Warren-Dawlish