After all these years of my weekly ramblings, I'm sure you know by now I am a keen golfer.
I developed a fondness for the pursuit of the little white ball many moons ago when my body decided my footballing days should end before I did some permanent damage to those bits of it that were still functioning without anti-inflammatory medication and the like.
I have to say I've never regretted the decision.
Golf is one of those sports where you can lose yourself mentally for the duration of the contest.
All you have to think about is how to hit the sweet spot on that little white sphere to make it fly. Nothing else matters.
The big plus for me is that the game can be four hours long, which naturally means your mind is away from the troubles of the day for that length of time.
In contrast a game of football, certainly the way I was coached to play it, was 80 minutes of bashing seven bells out of each other with another 60 minutes beforehand of psyching yourself up for the war ahead.
Then later you might have to keep a wary eye out in the clubrooms after for that big brute from up country. You know the one I mean. The guy with one tooth in his head, one brain cell and one sister. The sister you just might have labelled "ugly" in the heat of battle.
Golf etiquette simply doesn't allow that sort of nonsense.
Occasionally, the sedate and sensible world of your average Sunday golfer (that is, me) can be ripped to shreds by a newbie who doesn't give a flying toss who he offends.
Take my last game for example.
There I am in the midst of what I would politely call a dismal round and I am trying to do something, anything, right.
I've been hitting the ball sideways. Slicing it, hooking it. I've put several balls in a creek and one in the tree, I've spent so much time in the sand of the bunkers on this particular course I'm starting to feel like I'm on a summer holiday, minus the temperature and sun of course.
As I'm standing over my ball, running my next shot through my mind in an attempt to stop the rot, my concentration is completely broken by music coming from the bag of a player on the next fairway over.
Loud music too.
Now, if you've ever played golf you will know etiquette and politeness dictates you don't move or speak when a player is about to take his shot so they are not distracted. You certainly don't pump up the volume on the speaker attached to your golf kart and which you shouldn't have on the golf course in the first place.
Needless to say, the shot I had played in my mind – the one that travels 300m through the air dead straight before dropping and stopping an inch from the hole – did not occur. In fact, it went sideways, hit a pine cone under a tree, flew off in the opposite direction and then over a bank into the creek.
It would be fair to say I was not impressed and decided to go have a word.
Now here things get a bit tricky.
It would have been unfair and unkind of me to take my misfortune out on them and rip into the perpetrators. It may have been an innocent mistake by two newcomers and the last thing I wanted to do was make them feel unwelcome.
So, I casually walked over, introduced myself and asked, very politely I should add, if they would mind turning the music off, particularly when we were playing our shots.
I won't tell you their exact words, this is after all a family newspaper, but let's just say they, er, declined and suggested I hurry along.
Experience has taught me you are never going to get anywhere with people who think that sort of outburst is appropriate so I left it at that and rejoined my playing mates, all of whom were equally disappointed.
A few holes further along, with the music still blaring on the fairway behind us, we came across another of our golfing buddies. We'll call him Big Fella because, well, he is a very, very big fellow, and I relayed the details of the incident.
He listened intently and stared off in the direction of the noisy twosome who, by this stage, were maybe a hundred metres or so away.
Now, it has to be said, Big Fella is the sort of guy you would want in your corner should there be any chance of physical shenanigans breaking out. Having said that, appearances can be deceiving as I'll explain.
Our mate is actually a very skilled counsellor/mediator-type person. Universally liked, he has that in-built ability to solve problems and connect with just about anyone he comes across.
So, it was little surprise to us when he rose to his full, imposing height before marching off to "discuss" the issue. I couldn't help but wonder what they must have thought when this giant called out to them and starting heading their way.
Not long after he was back with good news.
The music would be turned off and they were sorry to have upset anyone. They just really didn't understand the rules. So, he'd explained things to them.
Later, in the bar, we were explaining the incident to some others of our group when Big Fella came in and said it had been easy to smooth things over because he actually knew one of the two involved.
The name revealed, it turns out one of the guys sitting at our table knew him too.
He used to play rugby with him years ago.
Apparently, he had a rather unattractive sister.