In Summary
  • Next time you are playing a provisional ball, be sure to call it out before hitting it on the teeing ground, or dropping it anywhere else on the course.
  • ‘Mpira wa muda’ is my best attempt at translating ‘provisional ball’ to Kiswahili.
  • I would love to hear from a Swahili aficionado if this is correct.
  • What would the word be in your mother tongue?

Over a century ago (in dog years), I attended a nursery school that was run by an affable lady of Indian origin. The name of the nursery school was Park View Day Nursery.

This was also the place where I was acquainted to my first name, Vincent and the English language.

Due to the influence of her origin, our good teacher used to refer to me as Wincent Vagombe.

At the time, I believed that when speaking English, I had to pronounce my name the same way.

One time my Father’s friend called on us and he struck a conversation with me. I still remember him asking “What is your name?” and I promptly responded Wincent Vagombe. When he referred to me as “Vincent”, I corrected him “No! Wi… Wi… Wincent”.

I outgrew my pseudo-Indian accent when I joined primary school. I was, however, tickled pink by the influence of a professional golfer’s accent on a new golfer recently.

The new golfer had hit his original ball into a bush where it was likely to get lost. He quickly declared that he was going to play a ‘professional ball’.

I chuckled thinking that it was joke.

“You mean ‘provisional ball’,” I tried to clarify so as not to fall afoul of the Rules. The player looked at me a bit puzzled. Then it seemed to dawn on him and he said “Aha… so that is what he meant to say!...”

He was learning golf from someone whose accent had a lot of mother tongue influence.

The Rules of Golf allow golfers to play a provisional ball if there is a possibility that the ball may be lost.

They must do so before they go forward to search for the original ball. They must also announce that they are playing a provisional ball. If they don’t, then the ball is no longer a provisional ball but the ball in play.

The problem comes when some players decide to use Kiswahili or their mother tongue.

I have heard people using words like “ingine” and “tena”.

These to me are not acceptable since their translations don’t mean provisional.

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