When it comes to golf, I can bore for England. I know to many golf is a good walk spoiled, but to me it is as near to an obsession as it is possible to get.
I have now been playing the game for almost three years. I took it up far too late to become any good and I still make errors that a complete novice would make, but I keep coming back. My main golf is spent on the Par 3 course at Thornbury Golf Club for which I pay an annual wedge for membership, meaning I can play as often as I like. I cannot afford membership of the big course so I make do with course where the longest hole is some 220 yards and the shortest around 90. The beauty of this little baby is that it is maintained to the same standards as the main course.
I have just returned from a typically erratic round today in typical English spring weather. It was cold when I started, my round was punctuated by a hailstorm halfway round and by the end the course was bathed in warm sunshine. Only in England! And my golf matched the conditions. I was misfiring to start with, shooting a miserable front nine of 37, but then, for no obvious reason, I found the kind of form I dream about, starting the back nine with a birdie two, then carding seven successive pars and then, rather typically a double bogey five on the 18th! But to complete the back nine with 28 – I don’t think I have done that very often because more often than not my game falls apart after halfway!
My birdie was a joy to behold. Four senior golfers were in front of me and asked if I wanted to play through. I said I did and they stood on each side of the fairway as I struck a seven iron to the 144 yards to the hole. Happily, my shot went to around 10 feet and I then made them think I must have been quite good by holing the putt. I did not mention my six earlier in the round, or the five on one hole which involved four putts from inside 25 feet. Grrrr!
I think what drives me onwards is the belief, based on no evidence whatsoever, that I will suddenly and magically morph into a good player, or at least become a better one. After three years, this has not happened yet and there are few signs it’s going to.
But when it sort of clicks, as it did today for eight successful holes, you just can’t beat the feeling. There are some holes where you just know you will strike the ball to within a few feet. For a while, I forget the shanks and hooks and dismal putts that happened earlier and I have finally cracked it! This is very dangerous for the golfer who never cracks it. There is always a card-wrecker later in the round that undoes the good bits but the hope is that for once it won’t happen.