One golfing friend of mine travels the world in search of the perfect crème brûlée. A second wonders if he will ever rid himself of a slice. A third would give quite a lot of money not to have the yips on the green. And a fourth collects golf clubs as a child might collect shells on the seashore.
For my part, I live in hope that I might own a locker at a golf club. I long to be able to park my car, amble into the locker room and go and stand in front of a wooden box that bears my name. If it is written on cream cardboard positioned in a brass frame, as happens at some clubs, then so much the better.
Southwest of London, the New Zealand Golf Club has a wonderful practice of keeping members’ names on their lockers, merely putting a line through that of a deceased member. Thus it is possible to see the locker once owned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I wonder who the lucky member is who can store his paraphernalia in the locker used by the author who created Sherlock Holmes in the late 19th century.
I am not seeking something above my station. A locker is a humble enough piece of kit – a 3-foot-wide and 5-foot-high receptacle with a lock and big enough to place golf clubs inside so I am spared the chore of carting them from my house to the course and back to my house. The size is important. One club installed new lockers only to find they weren’t large enough to accommodate golf bags.
I would prefer a locker made of wood – as they are at my club, Royal Porthcawl, west of Cardiff in south Wales – though the steel lockers at Essex County Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, are handsome enough. I would like it to have a rail inside on which I could hang my shirts, a shelf on which to put my belongings, my car keys, my watch, my wallet and space at the bottom for several pairs of shoes.
Not much to ask, is it? But because most golf clubs have fewer lockers than members, lockers are allocated on seniority and I have not yet reached that glorified status at any club of which I have been or remain a member.
I live in hope.