I do tend to use the same ball marker – while it works. There’s no glove because one time I played well gloveless and realised that had to be the secret to good golf. For a year or so I didn’t use a tee for iron shots because – well, I can’t remember now, but it was probably the same reason for ditching the glove.

God help new golf shoes if they don’t perform straight out of the box, put it that way.

But properly superstitious? No chance. It’s not as if I’m like Raffa, lining up my drink bottles and having a set routine of twitchiness.

There might be something in it, though. Don’t the great teachers talk about the importance of pre-shot routines? And why limit the routine to the immediate moments before the shot? Why not have them carry over to cover the morning of the shot?

What about the night before?

This hadn’t entered my thinking until the other night when my son and his cousin bounced their way down the hall at 3am after a Friday night on the turps. Once settled, they turned the kitchen inside out making kebabs.

I blame them for the horror that unfolded from the first to the fourteenth. But could the need for proper rest before the medal round be counted as a superstition? To be fair to the boys, I rarely sleep well before golf. I get too excited imagining the shots I’ll hit. It’s kind of fun in those quiet, pre-dawn moments to consider which club might work where.

It’s one thing to acknowledge and deal with your own mental issues, it’s entirely another to have someone else’s forced upon you. Especially on the tee of the monthly medal. And credit where it’s due. Stephen Twigg. Twiggy. Good bloke. Club legend and President and he always gets a spot in the carpark.

He said, let’s throw the balls up to see who’s playing with who. I tossed my ball to him and watched as he pursed his lips before ruefully smiling. “What?” I said.


“Three what?”

He puckered up, again. “It’s a three. A number three. Why would you do that, who uses a three?”

But properly superstitious? No chance. It’s not as if I’m like Raffa, lining up my drink bottles and having a set routine of twitchiness.

For the record, Twiggy’s officially smarter than me, and he’s got a very capable mental game to go with his physical golf. It was obviously game on before the balls had been tossed.

“You can’t play with a three because every time you putt, you’ll look down, see the number three and subconsciously you’ll be thinking about a three putt. Dir! Everyone knows that!”

“Is that a superstition?’ I said. “Or do you believe that?” Bloody hell. It was a brand new ball. A Chrome Soft X! If this was a thing, it was terrible! That box of new balls in the boot could all be 3s. I’d look like an idiot asking Danny in the pro shop to change them for a box of ones and twos!

Twiggy shook his head. “It’s not a superstition of mine, because they’re just stupid and a sign of someone looking for excuses. Do I wear the same hat because all five of my holes in one have happened with this on my head, no. But they have.”

He pulled a large coin from his pocket and flipped it. “Do I carry this coin of the 10 commandments because I fear that God will burden me with bogies if I don’t? No, but it was given to me by a bearded man wearing a Jesus sandwich board and not much else at the driving range.”

“Do I keep this moustache because my wife thinks it makes me look like Tom Selleck in his Magnum PI days? Quite possibly. But I’m not superstitious. Not really. Anyway, good luck with that three ball.”

He then tossed the balls in the air and positively guffawed at the fact we weren’t playing as a team.

On the 1st hole, from twenty feet, there were two strong thoughts running through my head. The first – do not three putt. The green was slower than the practice green. Putt one was short. Putt two? Perfect for length. Putt three? The ball disappeared into the hole like it was going home. It then went back in the bag and is restricted to chipping practice.

Superstitious? Bah ha ha!

The other thought was that Twiggy looks exactly nothing like Tom Selleck in Magnum PI.