Friday, January 16, 2009

How uptight can you be: Why I refuse to join UGC

Deo Akope wins the prize for Uganda's most uptight golfer!

We thought we would start the new year off right with a round in Kampala. We underestimated the stupidity of the rules that may or may not be enforced at the Golf Club in Kampala.

Four of us showed up for a 9:30 round, but were met by a randomly enforced "dress code". So poor Steve, who is used to playing in jeans and a t-shirt in Fort Portal had to buy a shirt from the pro shop AND borrow a pair of 3/4 length trousers from the locker room attendant. "Appropriately attired" (or so we thought, we teed off and played 3 holes before we were confronted by the Assistant Teaching Pro who had watched us come down #3 from the driving range.

I imagine we insulted his notion of the "etiquette of golf", as we play what we call "Fort Portal Rules", a more relaxed version the R&As rulebook. What we do is play "ready golf", where you can hit when you are ready, as long as another player isn't about to hit. This speeds up the game tremendously, something that is desperately needed at UGC.

His ultimate complaint was that Steve, whose borrowed pants had an elastic waistband had no fly on his trousers, and thus had to be "discontinued"!! Andy walked off the course in sympathy, while Micki and I carried on for another few holes until it was clear that our disgust at this episode had ruined our round.

This has to be the most randomly enforced, arbitrary rule in the history of golf. The notion of what is "proper" is so deeply ingrained at the UGC, that they seemingly would rather focus on what one wears on the course instead of the condition of the golf course itself (shite) or good corporate governance (large sums of money regularly go missing from the clubs coffers).

Indeed, the notice boards at this course are filled with minutiae regarding what one can and can't do at this club. However, there is no dress code posted as there is supposed to be on the boards.

Amongst other stupid rules found in the "Uganda Golf Club Rules and Regulations" are:

"It is an offense to induce any member of staff to leave the services of the Club"

"Members, or guests are not allowed to sit in the Captains Chair or ring the Captains bell"

The strangest rule is that you "must have a bona fide handicap" in order to play, yet is seemingly impossible to get a "bona fide handicap", since the handicapper is rarely around, and when he does give a handicap, he seems to pick a number at random.

I've been playing there as a guest for 4 years, played in Club Nites (and even won some prizes) yet have been unable to get a "bona fide handicap". Several members I have spoken to have also been unable to get one of these elusive identifiers.

From my discussion with lapsed and prospective members, it seems to me that more folks would join the club and play more often if the club had reasonable and imartially enforced rules.

1 comment:

Carsozy said...

feel your frustaration even though golf is as alien to me as any martian you ever met.