Usually, when a player has won a tournament, we’re given a complete rundown of what clubs they have in the bag – Callaway, Ping, Titleist, Taylormade, Yonex, Cleveland, Wilson, Cobra, Srixon, whatever.  Lie, loft, shaft, all that stuff.  As a serial non-winner, I’m not often asked what my weapons of choice are and it wouldn’t be my specialist subject on Mastermind.

However, sitting at the computer with the clubs safely tucked up in the locker a few miles away, I can exclusively reveal that my driver is a Taylormade several iterations old, 10.5 degrees of loft; two up-to-date Ping ‘woods’; four Ping irons (I’ve forgotten the number, 426?); a SeeMore putter, specially fitted to suit my singular stroke.  (In my defence, surely every golfer’s putting stroke is singular, unique to them?)

Playing in the frolics last Friday I noticed that my clubs were a little grubby and since I was playing away the next day, in a needle match against one of the nephews and his dad, I took them home to give them a good clean.  And then I had a lightbulb moment.

Assorted stuff from one of the pockets. The little black thing?  See below.

Ever since a wonderful game at Birkdale a few weeks ago, I’d been mourning the loss of one of my headcovers, a classy leather number from Walton Heath.  I presumed I’d dropped it on the golf course but nobody in the groups behind us had found it and sadly, no one ever handed it in.  Mulling it over, I thought that not just disappointing but a little odd – although a visitor could have put in their bag and forgotten all about it.  Ah well, one of life’s little mysteries.

Then it occurred to me that perhaps the headcover wasn’t lost at all, perhaps it had been with me all the time.  I emptied out all the pockets, ran the rule over my assortment of tees and markers and some rather grubby balls, found something mummified that turned out to be a very, very old banana skin, tipped the bag upside down and shook it very hard.

The missing headcover, de-creased – but not ironed!

And lo, out it fell, my long-lost cover, which had spent several weeks stuffed snugly at the bottom of the golf bag.  Eureka.

Walton Heath will be in the golfing news next week when it hosts the AIG Women’s Open and the players are in for a treat of a test.  Let’s hope they remember that heather always wins (don’t be greedy and think you can do anything but play safe) and let’s pray for some decent weather.  Next year the championship will be held at St Andrews (the Old Course), so it’s going from the sublime to the sublime.

A brilliant book.

As the regular reader knows, the Rules aren’t my strong point, so I had to seek clarification from an expert when a friend outlined the following scenario:  Playing the 5th at WHGC, with its elevated green, she couldn’t quite see where her ball had finished, so she gets up the hill, sees a ball, assumes it’s hers, plays it and then one of her playing partner says, “This is your ball, over here, on the green.”  Oops.

Turns out it was a random ball, from who knows where and didn’t belong to any of the threesome playing the hole.  How to proceed?  How many penalty shots?

Rule 6.3c is what you need.  Each player is responsible for identifying their own ball before playing a shot, so you ignore the shot with the wrong ball, play the correct ball and add a penalty of two shots.  Simple.  That the wrong ball was random and didn’t belong to any of the group is irrelevant. A red herring.

No doubt you’re wondering how the match with the nephew panned out.  I was playing with his father-in-law and we always struggle to keep our ultra-competitive opponents at bay despite being the better golfers…Nephew Robbie doesn’t play much, a few times a year but he hits the ball miles, quite often in the right direction and is capable of racking up more than his fair share of pars, with his dad chipping in now and again.

That makes the handicapping tricky but I solved that conundrum by appointing myself sole arbiter of strokes, deciding on Robbie’s allocation on the basis of where his drive ended up.  Admittedly, it meant that I was highly unlikely to be on the losing side and so it proved, though as usual it was a close contest, fiercely fought.  We shook hands on the 16th, honour intact…

An opponent with the look of a man who knows his cause is doomed…At least it didn’t rain.

This week, in between showers and downpours, I made a concerted effort to tackle my pots and loaded up numerous bags with soil and rubble for the journey to the tip.  Who needs weights or a gym?  I’ll soon be stronger than I’ve been for years, which should help my golf no end – once the aches and pains fade into nothingness.

Will the patio be cleared for use this summer season?  Or next?

Sue Spencer, of Whittington and Sally Sketcher, of Trentham, got a mention in dispatches last week for winning the Brenda King Foursomes at Royal St David’s but I didn’t have a photo to mark their triumph, so here they are with the spoils of victory.  It’s not a bad backdrop.

Sally (left) and Sue with Harlech Castle behind. [No idea who took the lovely pic]