Golfing genes mix-up - namesake nabbed the lot

Unless your last name is O'Smith or MacSporran, there's a good chance that somewhere you have an inconvenient namesake.

Mine is another golfing Lapsley - Jim, the Otago professional whose talent has taken him round the world. Genetically, Jim looks like a Lapsley ought, but when we get to golf, any similarities end. He got the golf genes. I did not. Obviously there's been a mix-up, and sometimes while en route to a triple bogey, I ponder how this occurred.

After all, whenever God sets about creating Browns or Lapsleys, he presumably follows a set procedure. One of the two hundred million sperm in the cheering hoard rushing towards the egg, gets tapped on the shoulder and told

''Go to the front, your time has come. You're 'it' - you're a Lapsley.''

''A Lapsley?'' the sperm may ask.

''But I thought I was the Prince of Wales.''

''Afraid not. Now be a good sperm, and stop by the Quartermaster for a Lapsley kit. And hurry, or you'll miss the boat.''

In the rush and confusion, mine grabbed the Lapsley uniform and instruction manual in its tiny hand, and sped off without loading up the Lapsley golf genes, thus leaving a double share for Jim.

''Hey, it's not all bad, this says I'm going to New Zealand,'' mine told his mates. His brow furrowed as he read the brief more closely.

''Jeez, you wouldn't believe what he's got here in the fine print.''

Whatever, Jim Lapsley got the golf gene and the trophies, while I play on, knowing that whenever I step up to the tee with some new partner, the first question will be: ''So who are you? Jim's brother, or his cousin?'' It's irritating, but there are compensations.

When my namesake reads the local sports results, he has to grind his teeth and stomach the news that J. Lapsley came third in the Arrowtown C grade, with 90 off the stick.

Jim's charming wife Noelene caddies, and while she has seen some of the world's finest golf clubs, I'm not sure she ever bothered joining one. This may not be a bad thing. Golf clubs and their rules inflame that part of the female mind which requires good order and tidiness.

So, as women golfers cheerfully admit, the ladies' committee always interprets golf's rules more literally. I was a member of a club on Sydney's North Shore where a new ladies' champ was about to be crowned. With the ceremony due to commence, she was asked to kneel.

''Why, how nice,'' she remarked thinking she was to be bestowed some extra honour.

''Actually we want to check the length of your skirt,'' said the Ladies' President, producing her tape measure. ''It looks shorter than our rule book allows.''

The ladies' champ was 64.

Ladies' committees play an important role and its time one with proper dress sense took control at Sir Michael Hill's golf course. Matters here have got out of hand.

Earlier this month I played at The Hills in an interclub competition where our team, serenely dressed in ming blue, allowed young Flahive our mascot to attempt a speech - and then found itself confronted not by a haka, but a Hills team clad entirely in a brand of trousers called ''Loudmouths.''

Let me tell you about Loudmouths. These are trousers in the sense that each has two legs, a zipper, and, a space where the golfer may stow his Titleists. But the trouser concept ends here. It seems that somewhere between the factory and the pro shop, The Hills' trousers were involved in a collision with a pizza van delivering two gross of Hawaiians. The colour consequences are gruesome.

Over the years Sir Michael has had the odd bit of bother with unusual people objecting to the sculptures that adorn his golf course. I salute them (the sculptures), but enough is enough. The view from my deck looks across his golf course, his members, and their trousers - and there is only so much a ratepayer should be asked to endure.

The Hills members presumably believe their Loudmouths are wearable art which adds to the course's sculptural theme. But they are compromising our landscape. It's time the council did its job and placed an inspector on Sir Michael's first tee.

As each Loudmouth golfer steps forward, he should be checked to ensure his trousers have received Resource Consent. Jim Lapsley, who I last saw at The Hills wearing a pair of cherry reds, may disagree.

John Lapsley is an Arrowtown writer.

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