Hello everybody and Happy New Year.  First things first, apologies for my dearth of Christmas cards; am starting early this year in the hope that I’ll be able to work my way through my list and let my friends (most of whom are not psychic) know that I’m thinking of them.  If I write a few every month between now and December, my main worry will surely be remembering where I’ve put them.

One of my friends told me to “keep writing the bollocks”, so here we are again.  I wasn’t sure Mo and I would start up again – she’s not feeling great and has had to suspend her golf club membership, not least because she can’t cope with being in the car long enough to get to the club and I’ve been spending more time going up and down to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (think I’ll go back to calling it White Hart Lane) than on the golf course.

The Spurs cockerel is 100 this year and the wee one on the left is filled with grass from the old White Hart Lane [you can guess from the quality of the pic who took it]

And much as I enjoy watching people playing golf in shirt sleeves with a sparkling sea in the background while I’m bundled up in multiple layers, I’m not that excited by a few multi-millionaires in a jostle towards billionairedom annoyed that they haven’t broken 60!  Fantastic players, some amazing shots but, frankly, at this time of year it’s the view that appeals to me.  And making full use of my season ticket.

My golf, such as it is, has been so sporadic recently and so rubbish that it’s as well that I now play for the company and the exercise – and the worse the golf the greater the exercise, so I suppose you could call that a bonus.   Then, last week, oh happy day, the new irons that I’d ordered in July arrived at WHGC.

The new weapons ready for action. The driver is the only club yet to be updated.

We’d played bridge in the morning – most of us still beginners but definitely getting better and now almost sedate enough to survive a hand or two at a proper bridge club should they (and we) be desperate enough.  Anyway, the course was closed for most of the day because of fog but lo and behold it cleared just as I was about to head for home after a leisurely lunch, the sun was out and I couldn’t resist the temptation to try out the long-awaited irons (living on your own without a dog your time’s your own).

I left the driver in the locker and played a loop of five holes.  Of course I hit the new clubs beautifully most of the time because there was no score to worry about, no pressure to do anything but test them out and do my best to judge the frozen bounce.  I’d forgotten how lovely it is to play a few holes on your own on a beautiful evening simply for the joy of it and I had a bit of a revelation.

I am still a golfer.

Blimey.  That came as a bit of a shock.

Not a person who can hit a golf ball well, not even remotely that sort of golfer these days; after all a friend who was a proper golfer couldn’t believe that my new irons consisted solely of a 7, a 9, a wedge of some sort (think it’s got a U on it) and a sand iron.  No sign of proper irons like a 4 or a 3, let alone a 2.  She used to love her 2-iron, hitting it miles, especially when the fairways were dry, fast and hard-running.  Dead as the dodo now thanks to hybrids and different lofts and lies and myriad modern tweaks.

No, I’m not a golfer who can hit the ball properly, I’m just a golfer who has discovered, rather to her surprise, that she still loves golf, that the game itself is the main thing.  Weird.

Our AGM’s today (Friday) and there’s been a lot going on, what with big changes to the constitution, the move to the new clubhouse, COVID 19, loads of trees being cut down as we prepare the ground for a return to proper heathland and the monstrous HS2.  Any number of people have put in hours upon hours of time and effort to keep us going throughout the disruptions and I’m full of admiration and gratitude for their dedication and diligence – and their ability to cope with the gripes and snipes, the moans and groans of the rest of us.

We women, greatly outnumbered, still have to fight our corner as part of the whole, as all minorities do (albeit in this case a pretty privileged one) but hey ho, we relish the challenge and send our representatives in to the fray armed with a smile, a packet of paracetamol and membership of The Wine Society.

Judith, left, the incoming ladies’ captain (or whatever the official title is in these changing times) presented Susan, her indefatigable, long-suffering (the pandemic kept prolonging her term) predecessor with an apron that’s destined to remain pristine…she and her husband are heading for the sun with their golf clubs.

Over in Australia, where even the male chauvinists are forced to be creative (isolation, small market, small fields, economic forces, that sort of thing), they’re getting quite good at accepting that it makes sense for the women and men professional golfers to run their events concurrently.  The other week the Australian PGA Championship and Australian WPGA Championship, both sponsored by Fortinet (a cyber security firm as far as I can gather) took place at Royal Queensland, separate tournaments played together on a proper golf course.  Hallelujah.

Jed Morgan (keep an eye out for him further afield) ran away with the men’s event, smashing all sorts of records on his way to lifting the Joe Kirkwood Cup and Su Oh won the women’s championship to take home the inaugural Karrie Webb Cup.  Stoked to give her name to the trophy, Karrie apparently insisted that it be big enough to hold a bottle of wine! Slainte.

If you can’t play golf, there’s always frisbee, though not as most of us know it….