Well, oh happy day, I woke up early yesterday morning, excited, nervous, full of anticipation for a special day that was a year in the making – it had been postponed for 12 months because of the pandemic – and it was here at last.  A bit grey and cloudy to begin with – the day not me, though that’s a fair description of my usual morning state; not at all like a former flatmate who used to wake up cheerful and chirpy, smiling and singing (in tune no less) and drove the rest of us, all waking grumps, to growls, then howls of fury.

But I digress, as usual.  The Romans liked long, straight roads but I prefer byways to highways and adore twists and turns, nooks and crannies….No wonder I never get anywhere on time nor anything finished….I just stop.  Sometimes even in the right place.

The right place this time was Edgbaston GC, that wonderful green oasis (is that tautology?) in the middle of Birmingham and I arrived in plenty of time, without diversion or deviation, to take my place in the Ladies Am Am as Team McFarland’s MGP  – aka Mystery Guest Pruscilla.  The eccentric spelling, which has irritated the spell check no end, was courtesy of Pat, our hostess with the mostest, who got everything else right.

Pat, nee McFarland, now Hales, is one of numerous cousins from that clan/tribe/nation state, many of them excellent golfers and she had roped in two of the Irish branch, who’d known Maureen and me from our junior golf days, hence my invitation.  (For the long-suffering loyal blog readers who are not golfers, Mo is a professional, so is ineligible for amateur events like, well, am ams.)

Nearly every one’s a cousin:  from left to right, Pat, Pruscilla, Heather and Marilyn.  The dress code stressed pink, white and black [Pic by Yusuf, the starter and husband of the ladies’ captain, many thanks]

Heather, nee McFarland, now Kitson and a member of Cranleigh in Surrey after a life well-travelled (Dubai, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Bermuda – I think, my head was spinning like a globe trying to keep track) reckoned that we hadn’t seen each other for 50 years.  Her sister Marilyn, a Henderson since marrying Gordon in 1976 (I even unearthed some snaps of the wedding) had been marginally more accessible.  Now a member at Craigavad, more formally Royal Belfast, she is also captain of Ireland’s senior women – hard to come up with a designation that doesn’t sound vaguely ageist but she’ll be in charge (?!!; have you met the Irish seniors?) for the home internationals at Woodhall Spa at the beginning of August (4th-6th).

That should be some jamboree because the senior men will be there too – and the girls and the boys and the women.  Let’s hope they allow spectators because it’ll be a feast of golf.  And if my research is correct, Marilyn’s mob, who are the European champions, will be chasing their fourth title in a row.

Cap’n Marilyn in action, watched by sister Heather and cousin Pat.

The crack was good at Edgbaston, the golf less so.  We had one birdie between us (thank you Pat), not too many pars and realised, shamefacedly, that we hadn’t been on the green at any of the four par 3s.  No 2s for us, then, though when we got in, we were told there’d been lots of birdies at the short holes.  Baffling!  Congrats and kudos to Judith Waterhouse, fellow member of WHGC and beginners bridger, for being on the winning team with 83 points.  We didn’t even win anything in the raffle.

Whatever, it really couldn’t have been a better day – there were even hugs.  Thanks team.

Meanwhile, at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, the US Women’s Open is under way and Mel Reid, one of the blog’s favourites (we have a few), had a 67, four under par, to set the standard.  She had a bit of a course/major strategy session with Brooks Koepka prior to the championship and is trying to channel her inner Brooks (he’s won four major titles so far, including two US Opens).  She’s also making a statement, as is her wont, with her headgear.

Mel Reid in action at Olympic [Darren Carroll/USGA]

In the past, she’s gone logo free, to highlight the lack of support for women from sponsors but now she has the backing of PEGA and they’ve gone a step further by giving their logo a rainbow makeover (just about visible in the pic above), in support of Pride Month.  Mel, who is gay and a great advocate of inclusivity and diversity, is proud of the fact that this is a first for golf, notoriously mealy-mouthed when it comes to such matters.  She’s determined to do her bit “to try and change the world and make it a bit of a better place”.

Go Mel and go PEGA.  I’d never heard of them until a few days ago when I got press releases from the European Tour and the PGA of America telling me that Pegasystems Inc, “the software company that crushes business complexity” had become “a worldwide supplier of the 43rd and 44th Ryder Cup”.  That’s this one, at Whistling Straits later this year, all being well and the next one, in Rome, in 2023.

Frankly, the press release was too complex for me but the company will apparently help its clients “stay streamlined, agile and ready for what’s next”.  Interestingly, it also said, “Ryder Cup spectators, golfers and event staff have likely already used Pega in their daily lives, including when they travel, use a credit card, call a company for service or perform other everyday tasks…”  There you go.  Time for me to stop and prepare for whatever’s next.

Delighted to see, though, that Portmarnock GC, that erstwhile male bastion, has voted to become gender neutral.  Don’t quite know how that’ll work in practice but it sounds like a belated move into the 21st century.

Not a random pic but a reminder that not everyone got the message that the tees at WHGC were to be gender neutral. The fight goes on….

Finally and because I’ve had such a good day, here are some wise words from a wee book that always cheers me up and revives my optimism.  It’s by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D and is the antithesis of a happy-clappy, trite-tripe self-help book.

He reminds us that, “A happy – or happier – life is rarely shaped by some extraordinary life-changing event; rather, it is shaped incrementally, experience by experience, moment by moment…..

“…..we must first accept that ‘this is it’ – that all there is to life is the day-to-day, the ordinary, the details of the mosaic.  We are living a happy life when we derive pleasure and meaning while spending time with our loved ones, or learning something new, or engaging in a project at work.  The more our days are filled with these experiences, the happier we become.

This is all there is to it.”

Not entirely sure he’s ever played golf but have a good day everybody, let’s do our best to enjoy every moment.