Once upon a time, I was a young nipper. These days, I’m probably a middle-aged nipper. Still, it beats elderly curmudgeon by a country mile. I wonder at what precise age one moves from nipping things to curmudgeoning them? How does one curmudge, anyway?
Anyhow, I was a young nipper. Other people have the photographs to prove it. And every other weekend, I’d spend time with my father and step-mother on a property about 20km outside of Armidale. They didn’t run the property — they just rented a house that happened to be on the property, perfect as it was for the raising of many, many cats, and a couple of mildly dysfunctional dogs.
As a nipper with two siblings (hello siblings! I’m sure one of you will be along to correct my dates, or faulty memory, before long… and, indeed, he was…), we had to more or less make our own entertainment. And one day, noticing the preponderance of cow dung around the property, and having access to golf clubs — through, it should be noted, our grandparents rather than our father — we hit upon perhaps the worst sport ever devised: Cow Pat Golf.
The rules were simple. There really weren’t any. You simply approached a pat, took a swing (it’s here that it occurs to me that we probably weren’t being allowed to borrow clubs of any quality at all) and observed the results, in accordance with all that stuff that Newton had worked out a couple of centuries earlier. History suggests that apples, rather than cow dung, were the source of his inspiration.
We worked out fairly quickly that dry, aged matter was better than freshly delivered targets; it flew further and disintegrated into little clouds quite far away from us, as distinct from a squelch, a splatter and a scream as we realised that we (and everyone around us) was now dripping in fresh, wet… well, you get the mental picture…
Anyway, all of this came flooding back to me today. Because instead of finding free cow pats, and playing golf with them, I was buying them to put on the garden, in nicely sorted bags. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll be taking the one golf club I have right now (a loaner of no particular quality) and introducing the fine sport to a new generation of Kidmans, however. Perhaps that’s for the best.
Sidenote: Curiosity got the better of me, and I just did a Google search for “Cow Turd Golf”. And in a move that should perhaps shock nobody, there’s a YouTube video of the sport in action. I’d like to claim the copyright, however — we were doing it a quarter of a century ago. Beat that for prior art!