50 years! Shut the front nine! Thanks, golf, it’s been a blast...

Richard Russell: My 50 Years Of Golf

Richard Russell is the author of a successful golf book, and his own golfing misfortune. He plays off 6 and is the worst good golfer you will ever meet.

We spoke to him about his golfing memories, his favourite jokes, bad habits and a host of other brilliantly weird and wonderful topics.

Best shot…

The next one. Always the next one.

Worst shot…

The practice swing for a greenside chip that clipped the edge of the ball and sent it further away from the green, to the ice-cold bemusement of my foursomes partner.

Best worst shot…

The horrible, thinned, finger-tingling, pitching wedge tee shot that went in for my only hole-in-one!

Stupidest shot…

The second shot I never hit on the first hole of Sunningdale’s Old Course, because I’d walked in, in a huff, after my drive went out-of-bounds. Prat.

Most useless par…

The par five I scored on the hole where my three playing partners went birdie; eagle; albatross.

Greatest pressure shot…

I once fixed up a game with the assistant pro at Fancourt GC, in South Africa. He was amused and amazed that I carried a one-iron and on the tenth hole (which skirted the clubhouse), he insisted I play it off the tee as he had told his golfing friends about my one-iron and they all wanted to see me hit it. I looked up the fairway and, sure enough, there was a bunch of guys halfway up, looking right at us. Good grief. I uttered a silent prayer…and nailed it down the middle.

Favourite club 1…

My Ping Eye 2 One-iron. Rest well, old friend.

Favourite club 2…

My 1960s Arnold Palmer Pro Shot game. A full-size club where you pull a loop on the grip, which makes a tiny Arnold Palmer at the bottom swing a tiny interchangeable club and hit a tiny little ball. It is a truly joyous thing.

Related: 10 Of The Best Arnold Palmer Quotes

Favourite set of clubs…

Dunlop No Problem! I’ve never played them, but I love the name. And the exclamation mark.

Clubs that should also exist…

Mizuno Eazy Peazy! Calloway Idiot Proof! Ping Piece Of P*ss!

Favourite golfer of all time…

Lee Trevino.

Greatest golfer of all time…

Moe Norman.

Chubbiest face on slimmest golfer…

Justin Thomas.

Favourite Practice Drill…

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Favourite Peter Alliss commentary…

After Ken Brown had mentioned that a player’s scorecard was so full of high numbers that Carol Vorderman might be needed to add it up, Alliss went to work, ‘Carol Vorderman…I like her. I was watching her the other day and I got aroused.’ (Pause) ‘Seven letters…not bad for someone who left school when they were fifteen.’ R.I.Peter.

Related: 14 Great Peter Alliss Quotes

Favourite competition format…

One Club Challenge: a 5-iron and a putter. Hardcore version: only a 5-iron. Super-hardcore version: only a putter.

Most amazing hole of golf ever witnessed…

The birdie three scored by my friend Mark Courage on the eighteenth hole on Sunningdale’s Old Course with only a putter. Shut the free drop! I kid you not. Putter off the tee; putter into the greenside bunker; putter through the sand and into the hole. Thank you and good night.

Only golf joke I ever thought funny…

When your irons and your drives are going well, your putting goes off. When your putting and your irons are going well, your driving goes off. And when your putting and your driving and your irons are going well…the alarm goes off.

Greatest view in golf 1…

The elevated tenth tee on Sunningdale’s Old course, with the halfway hut winking at you in the distance. Even better: your drive on the fairway and your opponent’s in the bunker.

Favourite snack at the halfway hut…

A sausage sandwich. (Obviously.) One sausage; on buttered brown bread; a bit too much ketchup; a bit too much mustard. I also get a sausage for my dog. (I don’t have a dog.)

Most memorable sausage sandwich at the halfway hut…

The one when I was 5-up after 10 holes against the club’s assistant pro, following a front nine of 33. Shut the flop shot!

Biggest fault as a golfer…

Misplaced overconfidence, leading to no practice.

Biggest fault as a golf writer…

Thinking anyone is remotely interested in that outward 33, or any other rare moment when I happened to play some good golf. (And that includes the one-iron story, you little swanker.)

Greatest View in Golf 2…

The hole, after a long, snaky, outrageous putt has just dropped in and disappeared from sight. It’s like you’ve given the capricious golfing gods a sharp jab in the kidneys.

Favourite golf ball (that looks most like a sweet)…

The ones that used to be wrapped in red cellophane and sold individually. Not only was it the perfect thing to play for, but unwrapping one was like unwrapping the strawberry choccy in a box of Quality Street. THERE IS NO EARTHLY REASON WHY GOLF BALLS COULDN’T STILL BE SOLD THIS WAY. TITLEIST, SORT IT.

Worst golfing habit…

Occasionally licking my golf ball on the course. It’s not just me, is it? (Perhaps I still think it’s a Quality Street?)

Dream Fourball…

Peter Alliss; Lee Trevino; Moe Norman and Donald Trump. Which makes a fiveball. The plan would be to get everyone together on the first tee and then tell Donald Trump to **** off.