Anchored Putting in Old Scotland

Tired of listening to today’s debate about anchoring, I had Sherman set the wayback machine to the mid 1400’s, just before James II banned “golfe.” If anyone could shed light on the true spirit of the game and the anchored putting issue, I hoped that person might be found in the gorse and heather of old Scotland. Soon a figure came out of the fog, and I ran to meet him. (In the interest of decency and comprehension, I’m editing his comments to modern English. Insert your profanities of choice at the “***”.)
“Sir! A moment of your time, please?”
“Eh, laddie? I’m late to my match, but if you’ll walk *** fast and talk *** faster, maybe.”
“Many thanks, Mr.?” I paused and looked quizzically at him.
“Seamus is the name. You’re wasting daylight.”
“We’ve been having this argument about anchored putting, and…”
“Anchored? How can you hit the *** ball if you’re club is nailed to the ground?!”
“Anchored to you, not the ground, sir.”
“You mean I’d tie the *** club to my *** hand? What the *** for?”
“No. You brace it on your stomach or chest. So you don’t twitch as much.”
“Oh, like old Shaughnessey, you mean. We let him lean against *** sheep if he’s feeling a bit woozy. Still twitches like a (totally unprintable), though.”
“OK. And you think that’s consistent with the spirit of the game?”
“You mean scotch? Scotch is the *** spirit of my *** game, and I can’t see what leaning on sheep has to do with it.”
About this time I heard a faint chorus of Loch Lomond and Seamus pulled a smartphone out of his bag. “Speak of the *** devil,” he muttered as he looked at the screen. “Aye, Shaughnessey? The sheep are on 3, you say? Why, you *** hunk of ***! We mowed 3 last week! Get those *** sheep over to 6, where they belong! They’ll *** be there when we play through, you know!” He put the phone away and shook his head. “Just can’t get good *** help these days.”
“You have a smartphone?”
“If you’re here in 1449 wearing those *** saddle shoes, I can have one of these. Say, do you happen to have one of those *** hotshot balls you guys go on and on about? I could use one of them.”
“I’ll give you one if you’ll just answer me this one question. Do you think it’s OK to brace a putter against your body? Is it a golf stroke if you hold it that way?”
“Does it help?”
“Some folks say it helps them. There’s no evidence it’s better overall, though.”
“So why do it?”
“It’s been going on for quite a long time now. Some people like to do it that way, and some people can putt that way when they can’t putt any other way.”
“Like Shaughnessey’s *** sheep.”
“I guess.”
“Shaughnessey couldn’t play without his *** sheep, and we kinda like to play with him. We get to take his *** money.”
“So you think it’s OK?”
“I told you we let him use the sheep.”
“I mean anchoring.”
“You say I get the *** ball if I answer? Now there’s something that makes the game easier. You ever try to hit one of these *** wooden things?”
He gave me a battered boxwood sphere that looked it had toured the links more than a few times. “You can have the ball if you’ll answer my question,” I assured him.
“Why do you guys have to *** argue about *** everything? Must be a *** pile of money involved? And *** barristers, I bet.”
“Could be.”
“It’s a *** game. Let ‘em play. And I’m *** late.”
Seamus stuck out his hand and waited as I dropped a new ball into his eager palm. He gave me an exaggerated wink. “Now we’ll see who buys the *** spirit of the game at the end of our match, won’t we?” As he wandered off into the gathering fog, I could swear I heard him mutter, “That *** square *** grooves guy a few years ago gave me two *** balls, you know.”

(Apologies and many thanks to Jay Ward Productions and The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show for hours of entertainment and for Mr. Peabody, Sherman, and the wayback machine.)

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One Response to Anchored Putting in Old Scotland

  1. oneunder says:

    ***** love the post !

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