Fergus Bisset: The sound of music

While watching a film classic Fergus’ mind wanders off in a very strange direction.

Last night while waiting up for some friends to arrive from the airport I found myself watching The Sound of Music on Sky Movies. I must admit I’ve a bit of a soft-spot for Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s classic describing pre and post Anschluss Austria through songs about wiener schnitzel and pretty flowers. You may scoff, but you can’t deny the film appeals to a broad audience: children, the GCSE level historian, the discontented nun, the schmaltzy musical lover, the fan of lederhosen… the list goes on.

Anyway, my mind started wandering dangerously and, having just returned from this week’s Alliance, I started to think it would be amusing if somebody (probably Andrew Lloyd Webber) wrote - "Alliance the Musical." I think it might go something like this:

Scene One: The central character arrives in the car park and begins unloading his kit. He talks confidently with his travelling companion who breaks into a little bit of: “He’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes.” As our man makes his way to the first tee, with a sort of Dick van Dyke cockney skip, most of the field lean out of the clubhouse windows to join in as the song builds to a crescendo. It finishes abruptly as our hero (let’s call him Colin) places his club behind the ball and readies himself to drive.

Scene Four: Colin holes a fantastic putt across the sixth green for his third birdie in a row. He throws his putter in the air in an over-exuberant Jack Nicklaus style celebration. When it comes down, he catches it and unleashes Queen’s: “Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time….” There’d be quite an impressive dance routine along with this number – lots of forward rolls and possibly some sort of human pyramid.

Scene Six: All of a sudden, on the 10th tee, the temperature drops as a chill, sleet filled, wind blows in from the north. Colin begins to question how sensible it is to be on the links and he contemplates heading back to the clubhouse. His playing partners remind him he’s on a good score and begin a rendition of Daniel Bedingfield’s, “We gotta get through this, we gotta get through this…” While singing they take out waterproofs and woolly hats and begin wrapping Colin up to brave the elements.

Scene Eight: A bit of light comic relief as the action shifts to a group of old boys at the back of the field who are having a difficult day on the links. They start talking about their ever-increasing handicaps before breaking into song: “I am 16, going on 17…”

Final scene: Breaking with convention, “Alliance the Musical” will not have a happy ending. Having completed his round in a good (but not great) score, Colin is clubhouse leader and he sits with a pint watching the other competitors finish. News filters in that his sworn Alliance enemy, let’s call him Nick, is on a decent number and needs a birdie up the 18th to better Colin’s total. The cast watch through the window with baited breath as the evil Nick lines up his birdie effort. As it drops Nick punches the air and lets out a maniacal laugh. Colin turns away from the window and begins a wistful version of, “The winner takes it all, the loser standing small…”

Right, enough of this nonsense, back to the Alliance proper. It was at Ballater yesterday – a course I like and know well. Unfortunately an early frost meant we were on 13 winter greens. It was disappointing but the weather was lovely, so it wasn’t all bad.

I played pretty reasonably and got round in 69. It should have been one better but I inexplicably missed a putt about the length of a Dorito on the 17th green. I’m not sure what happened but it must have come to rest in a hole as, when my putter made contact, the ball jumped into the air, flew straight to the left and hit the edge of the hole. It horseshoed out and left me bemused and shouting, “How did that happen?” I guess we’ll never know.

Unfortunately that piece of gratuitous bad luck was crucial as the winning score was 68 – three players (including Big Stu) finished on that total. Luckily Stewart has been giving me two shots recently as I’ve been playing so poorly so I picked up the fivers for the second week in a row.

We’re off to Edzell next week and, “I’ve got high hopes, I’ve got high hopes.”

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?