Last week’s few days in Scotland meeting up with our South African friends was a great success on many levels, none the least because the BIG MATCH was played for the first time since the pandemic.  The BM is a hotly-contested game of golf between my husband and his long-term mate Rick.

The two men have spent almost forty years trying to beat each other’s brains out on a golf course, dating back to a time when my better half was also living and working in SA.  They are a competitive couple of souls and although my hubby has probably only played a dozen times in the the last twenty years he announced a few days before the off that he was going to the range to practise and would I accompany him?  I was a little nervous about this as he tends to overthink everything and I was worried he would be wanting some technical info from me which I knew from experience would send him off down a rabbit hole from which he may never emerge.  It took a while to find his clubs as, true to form, they hadn’t had an airing for quite a while but eventually off we went.

Not bad at all for an opening salvo! He thought I wasn’t watching – but….I was – from a distance!

His instruction for the day was simple.  Think in big pictures, no detail whatsoever, and just swing away with his only thought being to try and middle the golf ball.  Direction didn’t matter – just swing in a comfortable way for his body, feel balanced, and time it.  Then just observe what was happening to the ball and how his body felt.  There was to be no attempt at “fixing” anything or forcing the ball to go somewhere.

I then purposely left him to it.

Thankfully it was one of those really roasting days so he wasn’t tempted to have more than a bucket of fifty balls.  I had noticed that towards the end of his session he had started aiming at different targets with catastrophic consequences.  He had started to try and “make” the ball go to the target instead of just attending to his rhythm and timing and then looking to see what the result was.  It was as if I wasn’t looking at the same player.

Before we’d left the car park he had announced his intention of a second and final session the following day.  This was to be his total prep for the BM.

Day 2 and pretty decent shot dispersion for someone who doesn’t really play.

More big picture thinking was the recipe for day 2 with a gradual introduction of different targets.  His quality of shots was perfectly acceptable when he was just hitting down the range but tended to slip when he was aiming at a specific target.  The minute that happened we just returned to hitting straight out of the bay, paying attention to how his body felt during and after the shots he liked.  Brian’s task then was to take aim at his target and when set up, forget all about the target and reproduce the movement and feeling of the shots he liked.  A bucket of fifty balls was enough, followed by a few putts to get the rust off the stroke; he was ready for Scotland.

The BM this year turned out to be a nine-hole affair over Muthill golf course a few miles from Crieff and as is often the way with these sorts of matches (you know, Ryder Cups, Solheims et al) came down to the last putt on the last green.  The two days of practice paid off as hubby rolled in the winning 8-footer to retain the much-coveted trophy of the famed, framed fiver.

No need for Rick to find space in his luggage for the fiver to return to SA.

There was one serious casualty of the day, however – the footwear didn’t quite match the quality of the golf!  And with every retelling of the match the handicap of the flapping shoe grows greater and the last I heard the final putt was up to being a curly 25-footer!

What did you say your handicap was?

While this epic struggle was taking place I was spending a fascinating and informative time with Rick’s wife Natasha who this year has become the first person from SA to become an internationally qualified bee sommelier.  Who knew such a thing existed?

Tash is a beekeeper extraordinaire (see pic at top of blog)) producing the most divine Lyon Raw Artisan honey.  Her honey is never heated above hive temperature and never processed, filtered nor pasteurized.

Lyon Raw Artisan Honey

You can see from the picture above how the colour varies.  Every harvest is unique and an expression of the available nectar, weather and soil conditions, captured at a moment in time.

Spending time with friends is a joy.  Spending time with friends with a passion is infectious.  Tash’s inner fire is lit by bee education and I felt this past week that my own bee education got off the ground – and about time too.

What a wonderful few days.  Bees and golf – an unbeatable combination.