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Michael O'Doherty: Give brawling golfers the ultimate punishment - just lock them up in their own golf club

It may, at first, seem like an implausible scenario. Two middle-aged men in a Dublin suburban golf club, going at each other in the clubhouse with such gusto that the bathroom resembled 'a scene from The Sopranos'.

It's been the talk of Lucan Golf Club since March 2003 when the fight took place between Martin Curtis and Alan Holmes, currently going through the courts.

But there are many reasons why we shouldn't be shocked at all. Because far from being the genteel repose of respectable pillars of society, golf clubs are really one of the last great bastions of sexist, neanderthal maledom.


Where to begin with the list of things to loathe about golf clubs? OK, aside from the fact that one Dublin club -- Portmarnock -- continues to ban women from being members, how about the fact that many clubs don't allow you wear jeans, or insist on a jacket in the members' bar?

The reason being that they equate neat dress with good behaviour. But Tiger Woods put this idea to shame when it was revealed that, behind his carefully cultivated image, he was just a horny little devil who took it out of his pants with the same regularity as he took his putter out of his bag.

Golf clubs still cling to this archaic notion, however. They believe that immaculate shrubbery, beautifully manicured greens and fairways mean that their members are equally trim and proper. When in reality your average club is awash with children who just never grew up.

I can just picture the scene in the clubhouse of Lucan golf course that fateful night.

The collection of portly, middle-aged men in chinos, blazers and loud aftershave, getting their pints in at the bar, sharing platitudes as they wait for their basket of chicken and chips to arrive before they park themselves in front of a giant screen to watch the match....

The sheer life-sapping, soulless mediocrity of the whole thing, as men exchanged expletive-ridden 'banter' which was ok because, in the words of one member, "there were no ladies there, it's a man's night".

Nobody emerges with dignity from this; not the two individuals concerned, and not the club itself. One member got a three- month ban from the club, while the other got a three-year ban.

A far better verdict would have been not to ban either from the club, but do the opposite -- refuse to let them and their fellow members leave it at all. That way, the rest of us wouldn't ever have to deal with so many twats.

Not sorry you were booted off the new Apprentice show, Jordan. Now go have some fun like a normal child

REMEMBER James Harries, the bow tie-wearing 12-year-old Welsh upstart who gained TV notoriety in the late 80s for being an expert on antiques and savvy businessman way beyond his years?

Publicity mad and utterly insufferable, like most child prodigies it was all going to go horribly wrong for him. Which it did, when after a sex-change and a succession of crap reality TV shows, she was banned from the UK's biggest daytime show after behaving 'erratically' as a guest in late 2009.


There's nothing wrong with transgenders, people who wear bow ties, or antique experts, but there is a lot wrong with growing up too quickly. Nature has a certain order -- children play, teenagers annoy everyone, and adults work. Which is why I despair about the BBC's new show, The Junior Apprentice, and worry about the youngsters on it like Irish finalist, 16-year-old Wicklow lad Jordan De Courcy, who was booted out last night.

The problem with picking 16-year-old entrepreneurs is that they all tend to be of a type -- single-minded, joyless, jumped-up little brats with pasty faces from having spent too long in front of a computer, dreaming up money-making schemes.


For every Bill Cullen, who started working young because he had to, there are a hundred jumped-up teenagers with delusions of being the next Donald Trump, who'd be far better off taking the pocket money their parents give them, and acting their age. The freedom of youth is short enough -- don't encourage teenagers to piss it away on work.

Jordan De Courcy probably got the luckiest break of his life when he was sent packing. Now someone tell him to go out and have some fun for heaven's sake, while he still can.


THE annual deer cull in Phoenix Park has provoked the usual misty-eyed bleating from people, sad to see such a cute animal cut down. But what is it about our attachment to this particular animal, that every time someone suggests either injuring, killing or eating one, everyone coos that "no, you can't hurt Bambi"?

Why has this one fictional character conditioned our entire attitude towards a breed of animal? Does anyone look at a rasher and think, "Nah, I can't bring myself to shoving Babe into a breakfast roll"?

Does anyone recoil from chowing down on a thick steak when they recall Norman, the calf adopted by Billy Crystal in City Slickers? Or think wistfully of Wallace and Gromit's sidekick Shaun the Sheep when savouring a juicy lamb cutlet?

But suggest for a second that a spot of venison for dinner might do the trick, and the cries of "don't eat Bambi" fill the air. Sure, deers are pretty animals, but they're more than that. They're gorgeous with red cabbage and a nice pinot noir.