The blog is starting from the bottom up this week, mainly so that I can show off my swanky new Duca Del Cosma shoes, bought with my winnings from the captains’ drive-in.  Now, every time I go out and they catch my eye – they are rather bright and striking – I’ll think fondly of the captains, three of whom missed the fairway, thus ruling out the guesses of the optimists, the majority, who put the aggregate yardage up in the three and four hundreds and even beyond.  I went down because that’s where the spaces were and I reckoned, fair enough, not everyone would hit the fairway.

And so it proved.  After a long run of dry days, the course was fast and hard-running and staying on the fairway with its awkward camber was beyond all but seniors’ captain Phil, whose canny effort matched my guess exactly!  Thank you Phil.

The captains before the off, with Ben, who kept them in order. My man Phil is on the right [pic by Jayne Fletcher, who was second in the sweep, two yards out]

The unexpected windfall deserved a better fate than going on loo rolls or tea bags or even new bridge score pads.  I’d long lusted after a pair of Duca Del Cosma shoes, Italian, distinctive, classy (even the gaudy ones) – ever since circling their stand at the Women’s British Open at Lytham and failing to persuade them that they really should be offering us punters a show discount.  Just by chance, the other week I’d sent them an email asking about their women’s sizes (those of us with big feet still tend to be hard done by when it comes to interesting, stylish shoes) and their reply came in a couple of days after my win.  Is that serendipity?  Whatever, it was very good timing.

Suppose it’s a bit unrealistic to expect my shoes to enhance my performance all on their own….probably needs a bit more input from me.

The shoes had their first outing on Monday morning early, a gentle ten holes and passed with flying colours.  They also coped admirably with 18 holes the next day, rather better than their wearer, who found her first medal round for months a bit of a shock to the system.  And talking of systems, don’t ask me about the new handicapping set-up, it’s way beyond me.  My index, which I believe is crucial, seems to have shot up from 10 point something to 11.7 in very short order but at least it’s trending in the right direction, towards something more in keeping with what is loosely called my skill level.

My main focus at the moment is on my eclectic score and I’m a long way from having pars on every hole, let alone birdies.  On Tuesday I managed to replace bogeys at the 8th and 9th with pars but that was it.  I think the eclectic runs until the end of May, so there’s still hope of substantial improvement but if it ends today…..

Obsession is an interesting thing and I trace mine with the eclectic back to missing out on winning the last one by 0.5 of a stroke.  And, in my defence, it keeps the interest alive when a round is crumbling all around you.  It’s also a source of extreme frustration when, time and time and time again, one particular hole eludes all your efforts to play it well.

In my case it’s what used to be the 3rd hole but is currently the 4th thanks to HS2 re-routing.  It is a par 4 measuring 348 yards and has bunkers in just the right (or wrong) places for me but even if I avoid the bunkers, even if I reach the green in two, which is a rarity, the best I walk off with is a 5.  On Tuesday it was a 6.  A double bogey.

What made it particularly hard to take was that it came after a reasonable chip to four feet max, probably nearer three.  A par 4 loomed.  The putt was a testing downhiller, so I decided to hit it firmly into the hole – not my usual modus operandi in such situations.  The ball missed the hole comfortably and the next effort, up the hill, was just as wide.  Admittedly, I’d lost a bit of interest after making a hash of my tilt at glory but even so….

It must be psychological.  That hole has got into my head.

There’s only one thing for it, I’ve got to work on my thinking.  It’s more realistic than changing the habits of a lifetime and setting up camp on the practice ground – or even finding out where the practice ground is.  Admittedly, the odd lessons I have with Mo are very enjoyable and I always think “I should do this more often”.  Then the days and weeks and months fly by and my good intentions have flown with them.

Thinking of taking the plunge? Another Mary McKenna special and it’s no accident. She worked at her golf and now works at her photography.

Perhaps it’s not too late to turn over a new leaf and make more of an effort.  Don’t the sports psychologists suggest drilling down and being quite specific about your ambitions, not just announcing some vague desire “to play better golf”?  Is it too specific to say that your sole desire is to par the 3rd/4th?  Is that what’s known as an obsession?

So many questions.  Time to find some answers!  Postcards accepted.


Pia and Lynn are good at pointing people in the right direction.