Easy does it

Golfers’ propensity for alcohol — and their talent for golf — surprises no one.

For better or for worse, booze and golf are said to go hand in hand, with dozens of professional golfers falling prey to alcoholism.

It’s even classic joke material: “A recent study found that the average golfer walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found that golfers drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. This means that, on average, golfers get about 41 miles to the gallon!”

Golfers’ propensity for alcohol — and their talent for golf — surprises no one. After all, according to folklore, golf evolved as an 18-hole game because a bottle of Scotch contained 18 shots. When the bottle was drunk, the game was over. But whisky is not de rigueur. The Scots also have the Birdie, a blend of gin and St Germain.

At the West Seattle Golf course, where I was once a guest, I had the doctored-up Arnold Palmer, a variation on the virgin ice tea and lemonade concoction made famous by the late, great golfer that includes bourbon. There’s also the Azalea, a cocktail salute to the Masters in Augusta, hallowed ground for every golfer. The sweet drink is a combination of one part each lime juice and pineapple juice and three parts gin, with enough grenadine added to turn your drink bright pink.

Golf Digest recently conducted an informal study of the effects drinking has on a golf game. Their conclusion: A few beers can serve as “swing oil”, but too many and the senses are dulled, which affects coordination. PGA champion John Daly has recounted how many times he suffered from the after-effects of over-drinking on the course in his epic ESPN 30 for 30 episode, titled ‘Hit It Hard’.

If you are thinking that I’m into golf myself, you’ve got it wrong, though I do not mind watching the game on TV. On a few occasions I have been on the Marsa course with a friend of mine, not playing, mind you. I write about it today simply because I was struck by a report in the news that Cloe May Frankish, the 25-year-old English professional UK golfer, together with her male companion, caused an hour’s delay to their flight and pandemonium at Malta International Airport after they were denied boarding for being drunk and disorderly.

Cloe Frankish. Photo: ladieseuropeantour.com

Frankish has been charged in court with violently resisting arrest, disobeying legitimate police orders, breaching the peace, being drunk and disorderly on a passenger aircraft, and disobeying orders to disembark. She was further charged with causing €436 worth of damage to the desk at the airport police station and with slightly injuring a police officer. Chloe’s companion was similarly disorderly, having to be tasered multiple times.

I don’t know whether Frankish was practising her golf in Malta. She seems in great need to do so. At the moment, she’s ranked 1094 in the world, down from her previous best rank at 414. She has never won a tournament in the 82 she has played since becoming a professional seven years ago, and her career money is a paltry $124,445.

It seems that Chloe’s career is rather in crisis at the moment. Perhaps she’s lost her way somewhat. It might explain why, while under arrest, she also claimed to be pregnant. The claim was subsequently found to be untrue after a medical examination was carried out.

Though Frankish and her companion initially appeared intent on pleading guilty, the eventual fines and damages were going to exceed the combined daily withdrawal limits of all six of the credit cards they had on them, as well as the three working days minimum required for inter-bank transfers to go through. They then changed their plea to not guilty, so both of them were remanded in custody. Frankish has since been fined €4,000 and her friend €6,000, apart from bring ordered to pay for the damage at the police station.

It would be interesting to learn whether eventually they will fly again on easyjet, having assured the airline that they are entirely Par for the flight and won’t Chip anything.

Main photo: Golf Digest

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