By Larry Canning
I WANT to get this out in the open in the hope I can help someone else suffering the same condition. Put simply, I cannot cope with losing my golf ball! You see, that part of my brain, that was created for the sole purpose of dealing with a lost golf ball, (Its actual medical name is “The Findmyballum”), was damaged as a kid, leaving me incapable of handling it. It doesn’t matter how old it is how bad a shot it was that led to the situation, I simply can’t bear losing my nut.
I’ll never forget the day I suffered the injury, way back when I was an 11 year-old playing at Gosford Golf Club. A couple of months earlier, I was given my first brand new golf ball for my birthday. It was magnificent looking sphere wrapped in bright red cellophane, with a sticker on the front saying “Penfold Ace”. For weeks, I would run home from school grab my Ace, kiss it and hold it above my head pretending to gesture to the millions of golf fans after winning my first major. I had obviously overlooked the fact that I had theoretically just played 72 holes with a ball still in its wrapping.
I finally decided to unsheathe my pride and joy on the first tee in my maiden monthly medal. I teed it up carefully with “Ace” pointing straight down the fairway then proceeded to snap hook it over the fence and out of bounds. Despite calling two groups through, while I frantically rummaged around in the Pine Forest, l never saw that ball again.
The impact of my loss was so catastrophic and after many sleepless nights and nightmares where I would wake up and scream “I Love you Penfold!” my Dad took me to see a doctor. The doctor told me to try and remember the good times I had with Ace and maybe go back to cricket just for a season to clear my thoughts.
It seemed to be working until one day, Garry Spence hit me for 6 over mid-wicket into someone’s back yard and I took off after the ball to try and find it.
I’ve been coping pretty well lately due to being given balls for nothing by my sponsor, but my disorder flared up recently when I was having a holiday with my wife Sandra in Port Douglas.
Something came over Sandra one day and she decided she‘d drive the cart while I played nine holes at the beautiful The Mirage Port Douglas Golf Course. With no gear, I had to hire some clubs, which wasn’t a problem, but it was when I had to purchase 4 brand new Wilson Duo Soft golf balls, I started to feel a little light headed.
I poked and steered my way around the first few holes with a mixture of hybrids and 3 woods, managing to stay away from the evil jungle until I reached a long par five and decided to “man up”. Sure enough… snap hook straight into the mangroves.
As I removed my second brand new Wilson from the box, Sandra had hidden the driver and placed a 3 wood into my now shaky hand. My chauffer and caddy, fully aware of my disorder, approached the Everglades in the hope of a miraculous bounce…. “There it is!” she yelled. It was low tide and the ball was perched up on the sand about 15 metres into the swamp. Now if you’re familiar with Port Douglas, this isn’t just ordinary marshland. It’s the home of a whole bunch of animals that can kill you in a second. Box Jelly Fish, poisonous snakes, Crocodiles and, rumour has it, some breed of Piranhas Christopher Skase introduced to keep his creditors away.
Before I had a chance to discuss it with Sandra, she was wading out to my ball seemingly oblivious of the danger. And the sign saying “Warning- Crocodiles”. You know what I did, readers… I’m ashamed to say, absolutely nothing. I was torn between losing my beautiful wife and mother of my three sons… and the impending loss of my near new Wilson Duo Soft.
Sandra made it back OK and suggested the next time I miss a fairway, she would keep driving and hand me $4.50. I smiled and pretended to agree but I didn’t touch the driver for the rest of the round. I’m now back home and talking to my therapist who is quite happy with my progress. He reckons Ill soon be able to switch to slightly more expensive second hand balls.
If you’ve been through something similar and would like someone to talk to, please contact me on my new website: