"Golf is a Good Walk Spoiled" - Mark Twain
I am not a natural golfer. With a frame more suited to colliding with other people or projecting missiles at pace, I am an uncomfortable sight on the tee. There are tall golfers, Ernie Els known as ‘the big easy’, played with style and grace and of course, Tiger Woods is over six feet tall. Sadly though, I make my way around the course finding areas hitherto unexplored vacillating between the sublime and the ridiculous. But does it matter?
On Sunday, I played the first round of golf since back surgery in December 2018. The titanium stayed in place, and I was accompanied by a colleague and two Shrewsbury students. The journeys we took to and around Suwan Golf and Country Club were different, the outcome broadly the same. An experience that we all enjoyed and can reflect on with some pride. We were all playing in the Riverside Charity Golf day and by simply being there were contributing to the 70,000 Baht raised on the day.
Charity takes many forms. Financial donations matter and we were touched last week when a group of parents at the golf event came together and gave the school a further gift of 15,000 Baht, embodying all that is well at Shrewsbury - making a contribution to others who are less fortunate. This week in school we will provide gifts for charities across Bangkok and have purchased Christmas cards designed beautifully by our students.
However, we also know that perhaps the most valuable thing we can offer is time. This gift is why Habitat for Humanity, A4D and Operation Smile and other projects are coming to the fore at Shrewsbury. The opportunity to build a house for another, to educate a diabetic in healthy eating, and even the chance to learn how to support families with children born with cleft lips or palates.
The beauty of charity is also the beauty of sport. There is no right or wrong. Cash donation and putting from off the edge of the green, or time offered and hitting a four-iron off every tee. The point is that it doesn’t matter how you get there, it just matters that you do.
On Sunday, over 60 people gathered to give of themselves. Time and money were offered for those who need it, and into the bargain, we had great fun and proved to ourselves once again that we aren’t going to earn a living from golf and crucially that this does not matter!