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Too much gin at the 19th hole; golf bag in the boot of the Jag; clubhouses where the women staff can get sacked for not wearing skirts; businessmen doing dodgy deals; mind-boggling finicketiness over what you wear on the course-English golf does not have a progressive image. The Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, the Conservative Association and the Golf Club-all are part of the suffocating web of Home Counties Tory life. Ever since I became politically aware I have regarded a good golf swing as ideologically unsound.

Until now. Three years ago I revisited the game I had only…

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