The Butler

My father-in-law passed away on this day last year. Alf Sturnieks was a golfers golfer. He was gifted at all sports and despite a swing like Jim Furyk’s he also mastered golf. He was the first person to look for your ball, the first to congratulate you on a great shot and the first to tell you you’d just played a bad shot.

Known as The Butler, Alf’s wit was sharper than a Stanley knife and he had an uncanny ability to make jokes and comments that gave you the impression he had missed the last five minutes. The best example of this was a story recounted to me by The Dish after Alf’s funeral. It still rates with one of the best comments I’ve heard on the golf course.

A golfer, let’s call him Phil, had joined Alf’s group for the day. He had talked up his game before the 1st tee and looked a million dollars. He may well have been a great golfer but on this day he was looking like a bad one. He was one of those golfers you feel uncomfortable to be around when things go bad. Swearing and club throwing soon crept in.

Heading up the 14th, our friend squirted a shot out of the left rough across the fairway and deep into the right rough. The offending club was promptly dispatched into the trees 20 metres ahead. Alf watched closely but was giving the impression he hadn’t seen the angry throw.

Phil went looking for his club.
“Hey Phil,” Alf says, “what are you doing over there? Your ball’s over on the right.”
Phil grumbles and mumbles, “I’ve lost my club”.
As Alf begins to walk up the fairway he responds, “Maybe you’d better go back and throw a provisional.”

One thought on “The Butler

  • May 21, 2009 at 04:33
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    Classic! I’m very sorry for you and your wife’s loss…However I can see you have very fond memories of your father-in-law, and why wouldn’t you…a golfer, and one with a great sense of humor…if only all in-laws were that cool!
    I think I might use that line next time I get paired with Joe Bringmedown…It seems The Butler really had mastered golf- he seemed to have the perfect attitude. May he R.I.P

    Reply

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