Two More Poems about Carswell from Mark The Muse


If you could hit straight drives when those about you

Are hooking left or slicing to the right;

If you could mark their line though both men doubt you,

So find their balls – then hit yours out of sight;

If you could wait while fours in front are crawling,

And still stay calm and hit right through your stroke;

If you could stand aloof from all name-calling,

And calm your partner’s rages with a joke.


If you could meet with bunkers and with water,

And treat those two dread hazards with a grin;

If you could putt in just the way you ought to,

And chip – and always chip straight to the pin;

If you could bear to see the green you’ve driven

Pocked like a teen-aged anorak with spots,

And bend to mend the pitchmarks – may they be forgiven –

Left there by all the other thoughtless clots.


If you could watch the shot you thought a cracker

Blown by the wind a finger-breadth off course –

And find you’d shared the fate of every hacker,

But never find the ball – it’s in the gorse;

If you could stay unfazed by this disaster,

And hit your new ball slap up to the flag –

Then sink the putt to show the course who’s master,

And stay blob-free with two points in the bag.


If you’d got forty points down on your score card

And put it in quite sure that you had won –

And then found out some undeserving bastard

Had handed in a card with forty-one;

If you could sit and smile to see him win it,

And clap as if you’re really having fun,

You’d win the Cup of Life with champagne in it,

And – which is more – you’d be a Saint, my son!

MAWB November 2005


 (an elegy for the Kermit bunkers on the fourth hole at Carswell)

I must down to the sand again, behind the bunker’s wall,

And all I ask is a clean shot an inch behind the ball.

And all I ask is a view of the green as I settle to the task,

And shuffle my feet and waggle my club – is that too much to ask?


I must play out of the sand again, for the first was a miserable mess;

I’ve scuffed it up behind the wall and now I can see even less.

So all I can do is play out to the left and hope to avoid the rough;

Then hit over the pond and stay in bounds? Even Tiger would find that tough.


I’ve got it out of the sand at last – a horrible hoick with my wedge.

It shot past the lads teeing off on the fifth and nearly knee-capped Reg.

I’m four shots adrift and the other chap is on the green in three:

It’s not a question of mastering golf – those bunkers have mastered me.

(with acknowledgement to John Masefield)

MAWB April 2007

The Death of Carswell Golf Club (after Heraclitus)

They told me, Carswell Golf Club, they told me you’d gone bust –

My twenty five years membership’s been blown away like dust.

I grieve as I remember how twice a week or more

I played with high ambition – but an even higher score.

I’m having nightmares nightly about rewilding the course – 

I see badgers chipping hedgehogs to greens submerged in gorse –

But long may Carswell Seniors, the Castaways, convene

For golf, and at the nineteenth hole, for toasts to what has been.

Mark Baker (with apologies to Callimachus and William Johnson Cory)

Don’t Drink and Ride

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK – I went to Sainsburys on Friday afternoon on my bicycle, bought a bottle of Scotch and put it in the bicycle basket. As I was about to leave, I thought to myself that if I fell off the bicycle, the bottle would break.  So I drank all the Scotch before I cycled home.  It turned out to be a very good decision, because I fell off my bicycle seven times on the way home.  – Salutary tale from our Education Correspondent Prof Bill Baker.


In stroke play, a competitor waiting to play to the putting green dropped a ball on the fairway and struck it twice with his putter. What is the ruling?

A- The competitor incurs a penalty of two strokes.

B – The competitor incurs a penalty of four strokes.

C – There is no penalty.

Correct Answer A.

Explanation: A Player must not make a practice stroke during the play of a hole (Rule 7-2)

Occasional Quiz – November

In stroke play, a player obtained a ruling from a member of the Committee and

proceeded to play on the basis of that ruling, which involved dropping the ball at

and playing from a wrong place, albeit only one foot away from where the player

should have played from. The Committee member then learns that he made an

incorrect ruling. What is the ruling?

A- The player should play a second ball under Rule 3-3.

B – The player must disregard the stroke or strokes played subsequent to the

incorrect ruling and proceed correctly.

C – The strokes played subsequent to the incorrect ruling must stand. The player

incurs no penalty for having played from a wrong place.

Correct answer: C

Explanation: As there is no serious breach involved and the player has not been

seriously disadvantaged due to playing from a wrong place, the strokes made

after the incorrect ruling must stand with no penalty. See Decision 34-3/3.3.