Larry Canning
Larry Canning

I was recently driving a golf cart at break neck speed–which as you know could be upwards of 12 KPH–trying to stay in front of a storm that looked like it could take out Wollongong. When I found myself dangling two wheels over the edge of the water hazard on the 6th, I remembered just how bloody dangerous these little electric missiles can be.

Back when I started as the professional at Bowral Golf, I inherited four beaten-up old two-stroke golf carts. I named these bad boys A,B,C, and D. They used to be called 1,2,3,and 4 but I was looking for names that were far more creative. As the years went by, I came to see through the chipped paint, bent chassis and blood stains and became really attached to them. C was my favourite. It didn’t have a governor, which basically meant it could easily have taken me to pole position at Bathurst.

One miserable winter’s day, I was using Cart C to rush a surgeon back from the course so he could save some poor bloke in hospital. C was in full flight when the doctor pointed out that we were about to drive straight over the lip of the steepest trap on the course. This bunker was so deep, legend had it two unhappy members had actually committed suicide jumping off it. I went into a calm state of sheer panic and managed to lock up the brakes and put the cart into a 360. The Doc jumped out of the passenger’s seat and commando-rolled through the bunker like a 60-year-old Wesley Snipes, while I chose the more noble option of attempting to land the thing safely without injuring any civilians.

Cart C finished up perched on its side with me clinging onto the steering wheel with a rake dangerously close to performing a colonoscopy  on me. The last image I have of the Doc was him running into the distance looking over his shoulder.

Cart C was involved in another incident with a member at the club named Ray Mullett. Ray had built a small business empire and had retired with a few more dollars in the bank than most. Ray also had worse eyesight than Ray Charles. I once saw Ray standing next to his cart hollering to his playing partners, “So where’s this bloody temporary green the pro was telling us about.” Ray was actually parked on it. Cart C and Ray were a really bad combination so I avoided the two of them getting together as much as I could. One day there was nothing I could do, and I watched in horror as Ray and C took off down the first fairway in a blaze of two-stroke smoke, scattering golfers like tenpins.

It wasn’t C’s lucky week, as a few days before, a half-sozzled golfer had run into the Pro-Shop and bent the bumper bar (OK… it could have been me). So  I could barley look when Ray brought old C back and handed me the key. Though you could have knocked me over with a wood cover when I saw the bent bumper bar was now perfectly straight!

One day I wanted to spoil my little fleet with a nice, shiny detailing. I gave my beloveds a waxing, tyre blacking, polished the windscreens etc. What I might have overdone a little was the Amour-all on the seats. I realised this when I saw Old Judge Crossly try and take the rather acute bend around the hedge on the first tee only to slide straight off the seat into the camellia garden.

I don’t mind telling you, there was a tear or two shed when it finally came time to trade in the old codgers for a brand new fleet. Particularly when they told me how much they were giving me for the deal. I guess you just can’t put a price on love….

I still think of my wonderful relationship with Cart C and the special moments we shared. Particularly around Bathurst time.


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