As Christopher Lampbert said in the late 80s classic Highlander... 'There can be only one!'
Every member at every club has one guy they want to beat more than any other.
There’s always one name you scan the scoreboard for back in the bar, like the old guys in the care homes scan the obituary columns to tick off their old school chums and give their sense of immortality another shot of the defibrillator.
Your 24 points in perfect early summer conditions when there’s not a breath of breeze, and the greens are rolling faster and smoother than Snoop-Dogg in a velvet Ferrari, feels like lifting the Claret jug when you scroll down the list and find your mate Dave has hacked it round in 23, with a blob at the last.
Whether it’s a club medal on a 28 degree still summer’s day or a howling hoolie in mid-November there’s always a fire burning within that puts the pressure of a thousand imploding stars on every two foot gimme and makes your forearms feel as though your Odyssey two-ball is a pneumatic hammer.
For me the emotion and competition is multiplied infinitely as my archenemy is my older brother.
Our entire lives have been run in an endless series of World Cup finals with every squash game, tennis match, or frame of snooker played under tournament conditions.
What we never had was a tangible way to measure our rivalry, a yardstick against which we can gauge our form, skill, technique and ability.
Then my brother turned 40 a couple of years ago and, over a few beers, wines and whiskeys we agreed that golf handicaps would be the perfect solution.
We’d been hacking around a few local courses since we were kids but had always never had proper handicaps (other than my brother’s elastic shoulders).
First up was £20 on who could get allocated the lowest handicap with a bonus £20 on the first to 13.
Three handicap qualifiers played with more niggle than Tiger and Sergio fighting over the last plate of chicken and rice and handicaps are allocated 13 and 15, I’m already £40 to the good and then it’s lowest handicap by Christmas. Another £20 in the pot for me.
The thing is, my brother and Sergio are the perfect match, always in contention until they get to the homestretch. He’s choked more times than Gillian Taylforth, he’s thrown away more leads than Battersea Dog's home.
As we play most of our golf together the comps we play in a largely irrelevant in relation to the head-to-head death-golf match being played out between us, and this is the same for the majority of pairings out there.
Whilst on the outside it’s all ‘nice ball’, ‘great putt’, ‘unlucky mate, it bobbled off the face’, on the inside we’re all trying to find the inner Jedi to fade it into the greenside bunker or lip it out from 3 feet.
To misquote Ernie Banks, golf doesn’t give us character, it just reveals it.
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.