From family dotted around Southern England who have never ventured north of the Watford Gap, to living in no man’s land of the West Midlands for a year, I have had my fair share of golfing exploits past Junction 26.
At Uni the North South divide is a big deal, so using some of that territorial fuel and some un-biased (I promise) experiences of golf all over England, I’m going to try and pick a winner...
Weather - South
This is a no brainer really. Anyone unlucky to be from Bolton or similarly Lancastrian will testify it hasn’t stopped raining there since 1992. I once hit a drive at Whitby Golf Club on the blustery east coast of England that boomeranged back into the North Sea.
Not to mention the attire usually compromises of 6 layers of knitwear stretching to the point where you can barely swing, even though there’s that 60 year old at every club who insists on chino shorts and pulled up white socks the whole year round. Madness.
It might not be the Costa Del Sol but I’d take Brighton over Bradford any day.
Courses - Even
Ignore all the in depth over analysis that certain course experts do... 'The ninth is a tricky dogleg where you can go short or try and go over the trees,' I’ll be in the tree’s whatever.
The point being is that some courses you come off and it might be for the landscape, how well you’ve played, or its difficulty, and you think I loved playing here.
I’ve played some fantastic courses in both the North and South; the links golf course of Lydd in Kent and Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire spring to mind.
It is a testament to how many outstanding golf courses we have up and down the UK that I just can’t pick a winner in this case, although it definitely wasn’t my 114 at St Ives GC.
Post-round shenanigans - North
Of course one of the key factors luring us into an 18 holes is the thought of a few cold refreshing pints at the end.
As I trudge off the 18th green totting up some horrifically big numbers on the scorecard, another thought is in the back of my mind - pub or clubhouse.
In the North there seems to be a pub in easy walking distance or a short drive away. As a principled student, I have a choice about where to spend my coppers, and although I often feel obliged and courteous to sink a couple in the clubhouse, my wallet often leads me to the pub down the road.
In the South it seems these local pubs are few and far between and the golf clubs don’t half know it. They should be wearing black and white uniforms charging £4.30 for a pint of Coors!
I know there are exceptions in the North and South but if you can get two pints for the price of one… well money talks.
Golfers - Even
As a grounded lower middle class student, I have a particular distaste for those toffs at every club.
Henry, the investment banker from Harrogate, who wears white pants, with a pink sweater tied around his shoulders, turns up in his Land Rover and kicks off at anyone whose trolley is within 10 metres of the green.
These aristocrats are usually Vice Captain due to some weird and slightly corrupt family allegiance; everyone knows the type and detests these prehistoric clowns.
The problem is they’re everywhere and no matter how golf changes they’ll still be this pompous gentry who still try to drag golf back into the dark ages. Probably more likely in Oxford than Oldham though to be fair...
Outcome - South
By a fraction the South edges it for me. Although the South have the cheek to charge some ridiculous prices and often look down on their northern rough and ready counterparts, the weather and courses in the tropical chunk of England can’t be faulted.
Forgive me for not wanting to tee off not being able to feel my hands and wanting to wear shorts other than that one mini heat wave in the first week of July; by ‘eck it’s grim up North.
Northerner and painfully poor student residing over the border. Sacrificing meals for the love of golf.