The wealth of Nations’ was lost in just one short putt !

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JJ BARRIE: One of my friends who joined in the four ball match.

IN truth, it was a pathetic scream. I still hear it each time I drive by Cortijo Grande’s 18th, just outside the old club house. My heart quivers a little – then I smirk!
Four friends golfed each Saturday night. No one else was allowed in. They laughed, played and became unbearable to anyone else on the golf course. Then we rushed to the clubhouse to eat a magic salad prepared by Bambi, tuck into a proper steak, all while imbibing enough wine to float any decent armada.
Later Martin would offer up a bottle of good brandy if we promised to pay our bills. Then the game started. You were allowed two clubs and consisted of chipping the ball to the green below from the stone pavement terrace above. Then, finish by putting the ball in. Lowest score takes all. A 5,000 peseta note was required for entry.
One tie, all tie AND one of the players could up the bet by adding to the pot which meant you either coughed up or dropped out. It was a game of honour and dignity amongst friends; the best four ball I had ever played in. Martin De Bruin, owner of the clubhouse, JJ Barrie, a Canadian singer from England, Ron Squires who putted with just hand and me who took the conquistador route getting to any and every hole.
The night was young, about 3.00am and the hole surrounded by all the cars with their headlights glowing, but on we went with the game. We all started again and again and made new bets.
Then it happened. You give enough monkeys keyboards and one of them is gonna write Shakespeare. The singer lad bladed a wedge that might have landed up in Carboneras had it not got caught up in the flag below and dropped within a pencil’s length from the hole. On the line was more money and IOUs than the American treasury owed. The winner could easily afford to phone a helicopter service and fly him home to bed that night.
The extremely quiet one Ron raised the bet by 10,000 pesetas. Martin quickly doubled and now JJ was looking at a putt of six inches to six miles. Well, he lined that putt up for about half an hour, dropping to his knees, crawling around, checking for sudden breaks, stood, reluctantly pulled the club head back and touched the ball, which moved about three inches. A lag putt at 4.00am and then his frightening scream! Old JJ had bottled out.
We all bought him more drink, but nothing  could console him. He knew he was a marked man for a life of shame and derision – forever!
PS. The IOUs you might have won were never allowed to be cashed but only given as Birthday and Christmas gifts. It was a good four ball amongst good friends.

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