In 1974, when I was about 14, Peter Whelan who lived on Dell Drive just around the corner from where I lived, gave me a No.3 wood, a golf club which I was later to underestimate the power of. In fact Monk’s even had coconut golf mats which members used for practicing their golf drives. Of course when I acquired my new sporting accessory I was keen to have a go. Word soon got round that Gazza had a new golf club and several of my friends all wanted to have a go too. I was very keen to try it out so I acquired a few golf balls and went onto Monk’s field with my friends.
For some unknown reason I teed the ball up and aimed it at the bungalows on Winfrith Road (don’t ask), I then took a huge swipe at the ball, connecting perfectly, launching the ball over the bungalows and watched it disappear out of sight. Several moments later a rather irate man appeared from behind the fence that separated the bungalows from the field. He was waving his arms and shouting just like the purple farmer in the countryside adverts of the time. It was Ernie, the man who worked at the brewery and he lived on the opposite side of the Winfrith Road. My ball cleared the bungalows closest to me and must have gone straight through Ernie’s front window. The first instinct was to run as fast as we could. We ran and we ran and we didn’t stop running until we reached Mr. Holbrook’s shop which was on the corner of Fearnhead Lane and Cinnamon Lane. We stopped here to get our breath puffing and panting and bending over for breath as we did so. I think that we must have run that mile in under 3 minutes. Then Colin Jenkins said look Gaz, and pointed into the shop window. There was a huge poster in the window which read, ERNIE IS AFTER YOU in big bold letters. How could this be?? How could Ernie have put that poster in the window? I thought, anyway it turned out to be an advert for Premium Bonds but it didn’t half give me a turn.
I didn’t tell my parents about this incident and as the days and weeks passed by I began to think I was in the clear until one day there was a knock at the door, I opened it and there was Ernie with steam coming out of his ears and nostrils. I nearly died on the spot from shock, “is you mum and dad in“, Ernie enquired, so I went to fetch them of course my mum and dad knew nothing of my misdemeanor, and as Ernie explained my dad said is this true Gary?, I had no option but to admit it was. I think Ernie had been to the pub because he smelt strongly of beer then a lot of shouting followed between Ernie and my mum. After several moments things calmed down and it transpired that my Tee shot had in fact cleared the first set of bungalows, bounced in the middle of the road and hit Ernie’s window but fortunately had caused no damage. At the end Ernie turned to me and said, “Anyway here’s your golf ball back”, I thanked him and that was that.
Many years later I would come across Ernie in the pub and we would laugh about the whole incident which looking back now was funny.