I think I’ve mentioned before that, rather to my surprise, I’ve become a bit of a fan of an early tee time, regularly playing with a friend at 0730 or thereabouts.  Only nine holes but it’s been a delight, an easy way to get a bit of exercise in and feel faintly virtuous for the rest of the day.  Changed times from when I was younger, a real grouch in the mornings, not to be touched with a barge pole for fear of having it snapped in half and your head bitten off.

This morning’s nine will be an attempt to recover from a rather gruesome showing at Wrexham yesterday when I failed to pull my weight and contributed a miserly tally of points to the team total.  My driving was mostly passable but everything else was ugly – until a glimmer of acceptable golf emerged over the last few holes.  Too late, too late, as a Scottish friend used to cry on such occasions – in his broadest possible accent.

The team included Janet Davies, nee Melville, a former British champion and winner of numerous titles at every level, now playing out of Royal Birkdale but even she couldn’t drag us out of the mire.  On a more upbeat note, she’s led the resurrection of the Brenda King Foursomes (ditched by England Golf), at Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire at the beginning of October, a competition well worth supporting.  There’s still room for a few more entries, so you seniors out there, have a look at your diaries.


Janet was captain when these exuberant England juniors won the home internationals at Little Aston.

For once I didn’t force my partners to pose for the camera and possible inclusion in the blog, so apologies for the lack of up-to-date pics.  Now, here’s another one, of the rest of the team (sans moi).

Pam (right), team captain yesterday and Lesley in the days when you could high five – not that we holed many putts worthy of such celebrations…

The demise of my golf game – or at least the sudden slump after a period of half-decent performances – can probably be traced to this Tuesday just past and the introduction of the dreaded card and pencil in the Hamer Cup, not just a medal but an honours-board comp no less.  Pars were conspicuous by their absence and one of the two (yes, I confess it) that I did have came at the 18th where I wasn’t quite sure that the ball wasn’t moving when I hit it – in a bit of a panic because I thought the ball was starting to move.  I lipped out for a birdie 4 and after some discussions – and a lot of trouble with my phone not liking the internet connection and me not being able to see very well because of screen glare – I returned my score, whatever it was.  When the computer adds everything up and you know it’s lots, why bother being precise?

A little later, after a coffee in the clubhouse – first one for months, seeing other people in person instead of on Zoom or not at all, so exciting – and more discussions, I decided to disqualify myself.  However, when the results came out, I was a bit peeved to see that I appeared as an NR (no return), which is not the same thing at all.  Whatever, many congrats to Jill Harris, who won with a 69 nett (off 20) and is in dire danger of becoming nearly as good a golfer as she was a table tennis player.  That’s probably a wee bit of an exaggeration because she represented England at the Commonwealth Games and I think she won a medal (it’s a bit late at night to ask her and my Googling or whatever proved woefully inadequate; am I the only person in the world who can never find the answer she wants from this apparently wonderful, well-nigh infallible resource?!!).  Competitive isn’t the word, though.


Suzanne in action in front of the new clubhouse. We’re meant to be moving in in late September.

My partner Suzanne, last year’s ladies’ captain (how good was that timing?) and I were first out at 0830 (bit late for me these days but our first competition time) and that meant there was room in front of us, occupied by men.  There were fourballs out at 0810 and 0820 and there was a lot of chuntering (polite, restrained description) on our WhatsApp group.  The week before the women who were first out had been waiting from the 6th, fizzing, with never an offer of being called through.  Out a bit later this week, they decided to stock up with Pimms and chill.

Go with the flow, I thought; see how things pan out; relax; don’t seek confrontation; avoid ructions if at all possible.  Get to bed early; sleep well; get up in plenty of time; breathe; have breakfast (prepared the night before); do a bit of tai chi; stretch; breathe.

In the end, I didn’t need this book on the course but Jean, displaying exceptional patience, with me and scoring via the phone app, must have read it…

I had a slow, gentle start to the day, listening to Radio 3 and Mozart’s clarinet concerto in A; put out a couple of books to put in my golf bag, just in case we had to wait a lot but then decided against War And Peace because it was a bit bulky – in fact I heard something on the radio the other day that suggested Tolstoy thought it was far too long and pretentious but I may have misheard…

A lot of clubs are still divided into men and women and never the twain shall meet, each group regarding the other as an alien species.  Not so long ago one of our older men, not one of the world’s great golfers, told one of our older women, also not one one of the world’s great golfers, that she shouldn’t be on the golf course.  That still makes my blood boil.  If ever there was a breach of whatever etiquette is supposed to be, that was it.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to read my book – my partner and I, being reasonable, patient, non-confrontational people (mostly), paced ourselves so that we weren’t waiting on every shot (we were helped by a time immediately behind us that wasn’t filled).  And Hallelujah, after representations and reminders of past practices and bye-laws,  next Tuesday will be different:  no fourballs out ahead of us women (unless we’re playing in fours)…

This photo is from 1967, taken in Mumps, in Oldham.  Boys not looking too happy…nothing new there.  Or perhaps they’re just impressed? [Thanks to Chris White for snapping this pic of the original photo.]