I played golf today.
A good walk spoiled
Now I realise that if you have been foolish enough to be my ‘friend’ on Facebook, or to follow my fun-packed life on twitter, this is not exactly a startling revelation.
Golf is what I do these days for pleasure and exercise.
I am not one who can enjoy pointless exercise like going to a gym and jogging on a moving pavement or poncing about on the cross-dresser (I think that’s what it’s called). I can see that many, though not all, gym members are probably in better shape than I am but my god they look miserable. Caked in sweat, bright red and looking thoroughly pissed off. And they pay for the privilege.
And runners/joggers: what’s that all about? Yes, yes, I know all this running can make you really fit and really thin and you might live a little longer but have you ever seen a happy jogger?
Wheezing along the road, with flailing arms and wearing outfits that make them look more than slightly ridiculous. Some of them look thin to the point of being gaunt and ill-looking. It can’t be good for you, can it, all this exercise?
You could probably say, with some justification, that my golfing exploits represent a lot of good walks spoiled and I’d probably agree with you.
I have played literally hundreds of rounds now, the vast majority on a smashing Par 3 course of around 2500 yards, and I have long since hit the wall.
I still make the same bloody awful mistakes as I did when I first started playing the game two years ago and I still don’t really know what’s going to happen when I hit the ball or where the ball is going to go.
Sometimes, I will approach the ball and I just know it’s going to be a good shot and others I will know it won’t be. And there are times when I look like I have never picked up a club. There were some instances like that today.
But it’s exercise and lots of it.
My Par 3 gets me walking between three and four miles and the bigger courses double that.
I play mainly on my own but sometimes with friends. When I am alone, I walk like the clappers between holes and shots and I feel like it’s doing me good.
I find it cathartic too on the mental side. If I am playing well – and that is a very big ‘if’ – then I feel in a better place. If I am playing badly, provided my mental state is all right, I try to play better.
And I play a lot, maybe five times a week, sometimes more than that.
I have a coach called Sam Hughes who is based at Saltford Golf Club. He has taken me from an incompetent novice to someone who can, occasionally, hit the ball in the right direction.
There was so much to learn like the grip, the stance, the positioning of the ball – oh Christ there was so much and then there was the small matter of putting it all together at the same time. And when I do, it’s a great feeling. When I don’t, which is most of the time (you should have seen it tonight when I was playing five from the tee having shanked my first two balls into the trees), it’s a potential club wrecker.
But I am going to stick with it.
I shot a 93 last week on the Woodlands Signature course, losing something like six balls in the process, so there is room for improvement. But 23 over par is a minor victory for me.
I think the Open Championship is a way off for me but I don’t think it’s quite as boring as the gym or the road, at least not just yet.