We were being asked to investigate how society operates, who the most important people are in society and what their jobs they held.

Pretty basic stuff for an adult but for a 10 year old it was really interesting. That lesson, or series of lessons, helped me understand 40 or so years ago who the real key workers were within our community. The teacher, Mrs Gibbons, I won’t go into too much detail about the song that used to accompany her (in hushed tones in the corridors) but if you remember the Goodies and the song ‘The Funky Gibbon’ you probably have a good idea.

She set the scene, that the world was going to end and that another planet had been found which could be inhabited by humans. The only problem was that there was only one spaceship with limited seats. We, as a class, had to work out and reason who should be on that ship so that the next planet and population could grow and operate efficiently.

I remember at the end of the class looking at doctors, farmers, nurses and scientists differently. Even having a healthy respect for the necessary organisers, call them politicians, leaders if you like. Nonetheless, definitely the word they could be called was essential workers.

The true definition of ‘essential’ being, ‘absolutely necessary or extremely important’.

Whenever I’m giving a lesson, to somebody new to the game, or to somebody who appears particularly nervous I will often use that lesson as a way of calming the player down. What I tend to say is that it’s only golf, it’s just a white ball trying to be controlled around a very pretty field. For some reason humans seem to think that it is a worthwhile and fun pursuit.

What I definitely say to them is that if the world was going to end, and that same spaceship scenario was about to occur, it would have to be an enormous spaceship for me to get a spot on, as a golf coach. In fact the only way I could see me getting a seat would be if there are already golf courses on said destination planet.

When last week’s mandate from government was publicised regarding only essential travel is possible, my mind must have subconsciously gone back to that classroom and automatically assumed that coaching the game under these parameters was not possible. Although I did have an amusing conversation with one of my coaching buddies, where we did try and justify that perhaps if one of our players had a particularly bad slice, the yips, or worst of all the shanks then perhaps an SOS golf lesson could be in order.

Realising at all times that our role in life as golf coaches is not that particularly important. If we were to give golf lessons we would actively be encouraging people travelling out of their home. Something which is frowned upon at this particular moment in time. So a definite no no.

What is interesting is that the majority of people who were already in my coaching diary, during this lockdown, have totally understood this position that we’ve taken. Not trying to find a grey area or wriggle room. Yet, disturbingly, there is that small minority who seemed to think that golf is absolutely essential and any interruption to their normal habits or behaviours is an affront on, or to, their personal liberties.

Having coached in the Algarve for approaching eight years now, where the majority of players who come for lessons tend to be frustrated with the game or even down right fed up, I would have thought that this short break would be a perfect opportunity to have some downtime and reflect on why they play the game and what they want out of it.

After all, as the age old saying goes, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ I am writing this on Tuesday 19th of January, it looks like things are going to be far stricter for the next couple of weeks at least. So please stay safe, stay healthy and I look forward to seeing you in the Academy with a fresh outlook on your game!