Sunday, December 1, 2013

Memory Of A Golfing Elephant

No, not a blog about elephants that have taken to the fairways - this is about a friend of mine.

I'm sure Ronan won't appreciate me calling him an elephant, but his memory demands no other comparison.

People have expressed surprise at how well I can remember all the golf courses and holes that I played in those heady camper van days of 2007 and 2008... but Ronan makes such memories look like amateur-hour.

The 13th tee shot at Druid's Glen
We were playing Druid's Glen in 2007, in an O2 pairs tournament (something they have long since terminated), and we were standing on the 13th fairway. The hole is one of the best and toughest in the country and I had hit the perfect tee shot down into the valley between rock and rhododendrons. I was looking in my bag.

"What are you thinking?" Ronan asked.

It was 190 yards to the green, according to the sprinkler head a few feet away. "Probably a three or four iron," I replied, touching the head of each iron in the odd way that golfers do.

"You played a three iron last time, from just over there." He pointed towards the river that curves across the fairway. "You hit it on the green."

The green over the pond on 13.
To some that might not seem unusual. If you play the same course with the same guys, weekend after weekend, chances are you might remember the details... but the last time I'd played at Druid's Glen with Ronan had been three years before.

Now maybe it was the fact that we had been playing Ireland's most dynamic parkland... maybe it was the quality and difficulty of the hole... or maybe it was the exceptional shot that I played, but three years of holding on to that sliver of information freaked me out just a little.

"How do you remember that?"

He looked at me as if I was stupid. "I remember all the shots of the people I play with."

"But that was three years ago. How do you you do that?"

He shrugged. "Pretty useless skill, isn't it?" And then he talked me through more of the shots from that old round to prove his elephantine memory. He has no idea why or how he remembers them - but he does.

People just have certain abilities. I guess Ronan's is other people's golf shots.

Anyone else out there with such skills? Can you pick up a golf ball with your eyes closed and tell whether it's a Titleist ProV1 or a Titleist ProV1x? Can you hold a Pitching Wedge and predict how many times it's been hit? Can you tap a Driver head without looking and know the make and model?

Let's make you famous.

And if you want to see Ronan hitting a 300 yard drive on the same hole - click here.

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