It’s three months and counting since my last venture on to a golf course and, now, with a bit of luck and a fair wind I’ll get a few holes next week.  I’m really looking forward to it – the golf may or may not be up to much but the company will be good and the exercise of walking a few miles up hill and down dale, periodically swinging my arms like a dervish will, I’m sure, be very good for me.  And my attitude will be ideal for once.  It’ll be one of pure gratitude at being out in the wide fresh air and it’s unlikely any little niggles will upset any of us.  After all, it’s not difficult to see the bigger picture when you’ve lived through what we’ve all experienced this last year.

Lovely Delamere. Let’s keep it that way.

I wonder how long it’ll be, though, before, once again, we start feeling irritated by the minutiae of golf club life and the sometimes seemingly ridiculous behaviors imposed upon us by those who claim to be invested in “upholding the traditions of the club”.  For those of you who use social media, wouldn’t it be a good idea to expand the hashtag, #BeKind, to become your club motto?  And that’s not just being kind to each other and our visitors when we are allowed them but to the course as well.

Ian Poulter was having a rant the other day on twitter about the appalling lack of effort in repairing any pitchmarks on the beautiful Lake Nona greens.  I have seen similar at my own club at Delamere, along with a total disregard for smoothing out footprints in bunkers.  We are blessed with a first-class course maintenance staff, headed by Andy Ralphs, and it surely isn’t too much to ask that we respect their work and our fellow members by looking after the course as well as we can.  Those are the sort of “traditions” with which I wish to be associated.  Let’s try and leave folk feeling better than we found them.

With Ireland having failed to come up to the mark in the Six Nations rugby I’m currently scouring the results of our homegrown players with a view as to who may be the Emerald Isle’s next major winner.  After all, we haven’t won a major since 2019 so it’s high time we annexed another big title, isn’t it?!  I like the way Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire are both progressing and Olivia Mehaffey, sixth last week in a Symetra Tour event, will be joining the paid ranks sooner rather than later, as, in all likelihood, will Julie McCarthy.  There are other fine women players waiting in the wings and it’ll be a race between them all to see who will be the first Irish female to attain major success.  I couldn’t quite call it at the moment but I do believe we’ll be enjoying that particular party within the next three years.  Can’t wait.

Leona Maguire looking like she means business. Is she going to be Ireland’s first female major winner?

Rory is slipping a little under the radar at the moment, which will surely sting as he likes to be slap bang in the middle of any conversation about global golf.  I see he has added the redoubtable Pete Cowen to his performance team which should help settle his mind re things technical.  I still would love to see him consult Dave Alred, performance coach extraordinaire, as I feel that could be the key to ending this almost seven-year major drought.  Despite him falling to his lowest world ranking in three years (11th) I am still very confident that Rory has more majors to stack into his locker.

Shane Lowry has shown flickers of some decent form recently and could do with solid performances prior to Augusta if he’s to play well there.  He’s a player who can utterly transform with a bit of confidence flowing through him.  When that happens he’ll certainly be a major contender again and will hopefully join that multi-major Irish club currently only occupied by Harrington and McIlroy.  I suppose at the moment all the Irish top-notchers are slight “works in progress” but golf is nothing if not deliciously unpredictable.

Something else rather unexpected happened this week.  My good pal Sarah Bennett, set to become the captain of the PGA in March next year, ran a half-marathon for charity!

A style all her own but it got the job done!  First half-marathon completed. [Photo courtesy of Sarah Bennett.]

She was running to raise funds for ground-breaking research into thymic cancer, a disease her good friend and avid golf lover Wendy Lodder died from two and a half years ago.  This was not only a great effort but literally mind-blowing for friends like me who have known Sarah for thirty years and who have never seen her so much as run for a bus in the past!  Sarah and I have many reasons to have a special connection, none more binding than being stranded together in Pittsburgh during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but that is a story for another day.  I’m immensely proud of her for accomplishing this and hope you’ll indulge me in sharing her Just Giving details below.

I am now a bona fide signed-up member of the “Anything’s Possible” club!

Sarah and Wendy [pic courtesy of The PGA].

Go Sarah!