Phew, well, where to start? That’s always the problem I suppose, especially when there’s no obvious beginning. Unusually, I feel almost overgolfed this week, having played two days in a row, followed by a wine tasting (lady captain’s orders), so perhaps it’s hardly surprising that I’m feeling a little weary – all that fresh air and exercise…
Nerves are also exhausting even at my lowly level, more so maybe because I’m not quite sure where our new practice ground is, so every shot is a mystery – though I did take to the practice putting green for a short, desperate session after the winter foursomes trouncing. And Mo will be giving details of my lesson with her. The most difficult part of that, for me, was trying to remember what the ball actually did – I’m not the most forensic when it comes to my own game. Like Peppermint Patty (above), one of Charles M Schulz’s marvellous characters in Peanuts, who is more often away with the fairies than paying attention on the fairways.
You’ll note that Patty is carrying her clubs and we at WHGC have been encouraged to carry during the winter months but honestly, it’s a lost cause, isn’t it? I carry when I can but I only have eight clubs and a wee-ish bag and usually foist any extra gear on my long-suffering, trolley-manoeuvring playing partners. If you’re getting on a bit (and who isn’t), you need a lot of gear, waterproofs, gloves, hand warmers, bananas, cake, flask of coffee, extra fleece in case it goes even colder, umbrella – who, bar a professional caddy, can carry that?
I used my trolley on Monday – no partner just an opponent, a very pleasant, hockey-playing person, the visiting team’s captain, who was playing her first 18 holes since November and was quite surprised to be competing in March, a muddy, claggy month at her home course. At Whittington, by contrast, we didn’t have to go anywhere near the shoe-cleaning machine after the match.
We had a ding-dong battle, which I won, by an outwardly comfortable scoreline but it could quite easily have gone the other way and even before the match I’d decided that my competitive days were over. Too much responsibility, a flaky putting stroke (fixable but never likely to be reliable, destined to be streaky at best, depressingly dodgy at worst) and a growing dislike of competition – except when it’s friendly…
Time to leave all that to others.
Rest assured, I’m not giving up golf, just golf where I have to think, make a real effort, worry about the result. If I become more Zen, or rediscover The Lost Art of Putting (great book by Gary Nicol and Karl Morris, which I should re-read closely) or develop an urge to find the practice ground, I’ll be a great partner in friendlies! Although not everybody will be able to cope with my new, ready-for-summer hat.
Talking of Zen, meditation, that sort of thing, what’s Rory thinking about these days? From what I saw of Bay Hill he seemed at times to be channelling his inner Tyrrell – the mangling of at least one errant wedge made it big on social media. Except that Tyrrell kept his game and his infamous temper together in fiendishly tricky conditions and finished with a 69, in a tie for second, just one shot behind Scottie Scheffler, winner of the Arnie red cardi.
Rory slipped to a share of 13th with two rounds of 76 to finish, a bit of a reverse from his first round of 65. “I feel punch drunk,” he said. “The weekend, it’s like crazy golf.”
It was close to mayhem on the last day, with all sorts of weird and not-so-wonderful shots on view as whipping winds and glassy greens caused havoc but I hope Rory reads the rest of what he said and has a bit of a think about it: “Sort of the way conditions are, it makes you feel as if you’re not playing as good as you are. Like, I’m playing good. I’m hitting good shots. I’m swinging the club well. I’m chipping well. I’m putting well. But it can knock your confidence whenever the conditions are like this. I’m certainly playing better than shooting eight over over the weekend.”
That’s golf Rory. Look at the figures, they don’t lie. And if you can’t get your head round it, you haven’t a hope of ever winning the Masters, where keeping your cool and grind, grind, grinding away is paramount. The phrase “flat track bully” keeps coming to mind…
Perhaps a few chats with Tiger, the ultimate grinder, wouldn’t go amiss. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday evening, introduced by his daughter Sam, an ultra poised 14-year old.In honour of Crufts, which is on in Birmingham this week, I’ll leave the last word to Snoopy, whose enthusiasm for golf usually far exceeded his skill but, like all of his us, he had his moments.