We’re in a permanent state of high excitement at Whittington Heath GC these days, what with state of the art netting and diggers everywhere. I was going to say that the full-size Tonka toys on show were giving boys big and small conniptions but then I checked the dictionary and found that the proper meaning of conniption was “fit of rage or hysteria” or even a tantrum. Hysteria might work, I thought, then I double-checked that and, well, I won’t even go there. Suffice to say that a lot of the boys are in seventh heaven.
Mo is trying to ban pictures of “boring” diggers from the blog, claiming that they all look the same but I fear that’s my photos not doing the diggers justice. Once you get close to them you can see that they’re individuals, with different jobs to do, just like people….
Anyway, this weekend the excitement is of the big-hitting variety because we’re hosting a round of the European Long Drive Games, mainly because Jordan Brooks, one of our pros, is right up there with Europe’s best. He’s been proving himself capable of holding his own with some of the biggest bombers around and thanks to his exploits, I’ve started taking an interest in a form of the game I’d previously treated with disdain. Though, on reflection, it was probably just jealousy. No one’s going to tremble when they see my swing speed stats and no golf manufacturer is going to be interested in me using their latest driver. In fact, they might be persuaded to pay me not to use it.
No one quite knows what to expect on Saturday but that just adds to the drama. There’ll be a grandstand set up in the car park and the contestants will be launching their boomers down the 1st, which, I suspect, has never seen anything quite like it in the club’s long (founded 1886) history. The weather forecast is good, so it should be fun for everyone. These guys don’t just drive for show, they drive for dough too.
Jordan and Martin are big men but I’d like to see Dustin Johnson, or, even better, wee Rory (who’s no titch but is far from being a giant) take them on at their own game. The Ulsterman is one of the longest, straightest drivers on tour and doesn’t rely on his size for his power because he can’t. He’s spent a lot of time in the gym over the last few years but it’s strength combined with flexibility, speed and timing that gives him his length (I think; Mo and her fellow pros will correct me if I’m wrong). That’s still one of the great things about golf – different shapes and sizes can play the game well and compete against each other. Admittedly, it looks as though bigger is better when it comes to bombing it. See below.
On Tuesday, in our Stableford comp (non-qualifying), I played our back nine for the first time in ages and it really was a magical mystery tour, as most of the course is at the moment, with so much work going on. Where to drop, how far back to go, how far to the side, nearest point of relief, dropping zone? What with the new rules and all, we need a whole team of refs to keep us right. By the way, has anyone else found that dropping from knee height means having to hop out of the way of the ball as it hops unerringly towards your foot? Or is it just me? What’s the correct technique? Is there an R&A video? They like a bit of media, so there probably is. Must check it out.
The 13th, our shortest hole at an official 124 yards from the red tees, has always been my least favourite hole. It’s surrounded by bunkers and I don’t have a club for it, so have to do a lot of finagling and hoping for the best. Well, now that it’s surrounded by netting and dropping zones, I seem to have found the secret, having played it twice and finished within 15 feet of the pin both times. It won’t last of course but I’m writing to the committee to plead for the netting to remain in place indefinitely. What club did I hit? Well, I wasn’t going to confess but then I thought, sod it, you’re a creaking, ageing bod with a non-event of a backswing, so who do you think you’re kidding? I hit my 5-wood (well, an old one of Dai’s, so it might be nearly as decrepit as I am) both days. There, I’ve admitted it officially: my long driving days are over.