In 1924, the American golf course architect Charles Blair Macdonald wrote: “The object of a bunker or trap is not only to punish a physical mistake, to punish a lack of control, but also to punish pride and egotism.”
When creating his succinct description of a deceptively difficult hazard, it’s unlikely Mr Macdonald believed the sand trap would also prove an ideal stopping point for a Model T Ford, still three years away from rolling off their Detroit production line for the final time.
Despite this oversight, it’s clear some folk believe the sand trap is a more effective method of bringing a vehicle to a halt than a red light.
Earlier this week, we read of golfers leaping for cover as a car (a Ford, as it transpired) crashed through a hedge and careered up the 18th fairway as the Bournemouth Open was in full swing. Only when the vandal driving the car brought it to a halt just as he was about to crash into a bunker was a club member able to switch the engine off and grab the car keys. Incredibly, the culprit was not charged with any crime.
‘Perhaps he thought it was a driving range,’ suggested one internet wit, although similarly well-used lines are as frequent as the propensity of some people – often drunk or on drugs, sometimes both – to forego the highway and head for the fairways instead.
In Northbridge, Massachusetts, last summer, a woman who had rowed with her boyfriend drank half a bottle of vodka, took to the wheel of her car and headed towards Whitinsville Golf Club. She would later blame her GPS for guiding her into one of the club’s bunkers at 45mph. As excuses go, it trumps blaming your seven iron or a sudden crosswind.
But why would an inebriated, fuming woman drive directly towards a golf club? Her motives certainly puzzled police officer Randy Lloyd who, in marvellously understated manner, said afterwards that “Ms Malone stated she did not even like golf.”
Another incident occurred a month later at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, New York, when another drunk drove his Ford Taurus into a bunker after hitting two golf carts on the course.
Law-abiding golfers, meanwhile, should beware of hitting the sand. As if there isn’t enough to contend with when so positioned without having some idiot in a car hurtling towards you as you endeavour to make your escape.
* Peter Sharkey is playing in the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, staged at Nailcote Hall between 6-9 August. We’ll be following his progress as he prepares for the event.
• Did you know the Birmingham Post has launched a daily tablet edition? Find out how to download it here: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business-daily/