Monday, 21 July 2008

“The hotel will be serving a traditional Scottish breakfast. Two aspirin and an Irn Bru”.

Ah, bonny bonny Scotland. How I have missed you….. Well, except when it’s windy, then you can go and get stuffed….

A very belated tale of our annual Scottish golf trip it is then….

There were 20 intrepid explorers when our tale begins…. And at the end too as it happens, so it met the first criteria for a successful trip, nobody died….

Day 1, meet up at the fabulous Southerness Golf club. Meet the guys, share a joke, admire each others new drivers etc etc, then send one arcing down the fairway, or, in my case, into the heather…

Stunning course, fairly difficult, even though we played it in what were described as “the best bloody conditions for years and years”, 18 degrees and not a breath of wind. “It’s a wee bit different if she blows I tell ya”…..

As expected, I was awesome….

To the hotel! About which the less said the better, but then it was just somewhere to drink and sleep…..

Day two. Portpatrick golf club, and the windiest day I have ever played golf. “How windy was it Mark?”. “Bloody Windy!”

For instance, the 11th green, highest, most exposed point on the course. Not only were the balls moving on the green, so were we. Genuinely finding it difficult to stand up.

Then, to the 12th tee, a downwind, downhill drive to a square green, about 300 yards to the pin. Nick (plays off 12, spiky haired youngster from Leeds), takes a 5 Iron and pops it on the front of the green. 285 yards with a 5 iron!!!!!!!

Anyone who took a driver went right over the green needless to say, and in one case over the cliff.

The 15th, a 100 yard comedy par 3, but into the wind. Nick takes 7, I take 6, both come up short!!!!

However, the absolute high point of the round was Nick snap-hook on the 9th, off a piece of scaffolding on the building site to the left and straight into the half-built house to ricochet around for a second or two… We were pissing ourselves picturing some poor plasterer found dead with a strange head wound….

Once again, I’d had a couple of bowls of awesome for breakfast, and it showed.

Day three, and to Stranraer golf club. Stranraer? Stranraer? (Apologies to peter Kay).

Great course, again very windy. Most spectacular hole, a huge drive off a cliff to the fairway maybe 100 feet below, with the sea running all along the right side of the hole. I found the course really tough, but bad luck always makes my head drop and spirits sag….

Comedy moment. Steve Wharton, who is off around 14 or so, and a big hitter, says “Sod it, I’m cutting the corner, over the sea, over the gorse, the lot”. Proceeds to hit a massive drive doing just that. I step up, “same for me”, making a joke, everyone has a laugh knowing I wouldn’t dare. I wind up, backswing, huge thump, exactly the same shot, over everything, onto the fairway. By accident! I’d been aiming for the safe shot and have no idea how I sent it over that direction! I spent about 4 seconds with my heart in my mouth, and my ball in the sea! Stunned silence followed by a quiet “bandit”.

9.5 from the Russian judge for awesomeness.

Day four. Wigtownshire county golf club. Comedy moment? The owner, when asked for the postcode had supplied his home details, so half the crowd followed their sat-nav to his front drive. Christ knows what the neighbours thought.

Front 9, some of the worst golf of my life. True links, very exposed, right be the sea and the first 6 holes are into the wind. I swear there must be a dozen srixon soft feels on that sodding beach. Really very downhearted, finding the course far too difficult for me, running out of ability about half way down the fairway, if I got that far. Threatening to chuck the whole game, and then……

The sun came out, the back nine are all wind-assisted and I play some of the best golf of my life. 20 points on the back nine, which is very good for me. Net birdies galore, loving every minute, thinking about called the R & A “Hello, how do I turn pro?”. Best nine holes of the week.

Do you really think I need a comment about how awesome I was? No, didn’t think so.

Our fifth and final day! Newton Stewart golf club. Very interesting, lots of elevation change, lots of very high quality golf, none of it from me sadly. I was awful, truly awful. Suffice to say, the highlight of the round was on the 18th tee, elevated, into the wind. Steve hits a drive and it’s a massive slice. I step up, do the same. Steve steps up, does the same. I step up and do the same again. Someone else says “well it’s a good job school’s not in, because there’s the playing field over there”. “Our 4th guy says, naw, they all went into the skate park, you’ve probably killed four hoodies. We fell about pissing ourselves. How wrong is that?

So, 5 days of golf, great courses, awesomeish performances by me and no rain! But lots and lots of wind…..

Bring on next year, Galashiels.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

That's not golf.....

(from TV's 'Lost')

Kate: So you think you could do better?
Jack: Anyone can hit a ball. That's not golf.
Kate: And what's golf?
Jack: Golf is accuracy.

Two of my favourite things in the world, golf and 'Lost'.....
Plus, he's right, golf *is* accuracy....

Friday, 4 April 2008

And they're off!

Well, the season has 'formally' begun. Our annual Ryder Cup event took place at the Forest of Arden on March 30th and 31st, comprising of 2 teams of 16, battling it out over a sun-baked merciless hell-hole of a course in temperatures which sometimes reached the 60's.

Sunday at 10am, I picked up the demon boy Holland and we set off on the road. 2 hours and 1 burger king stop later, we arrived, about 2 hours early, but not as early as the guys who had set off at 8 :-)

Clothes changed into, beer drunk, putting practiced, teams organised, we moved to the first tee.

Highlight up to this point, Steve Wharton
"Bloody hell! I've lost a ball!"....
"Steve, we're on the practice putting green!"

Yes, the only man to lose a golf ball on the practice putting green.

I was paired with Ishmael and off we went, playing Pete and John. The course was in pretty good condition if you consider all the rain they'd had. Playing the Aylesford course on the Sunday, and we won 5 and 4. Every time Ishmael didn't perform, I did, and vice-versa, the perfect combo.
Of course, once the pressure was off, on the 16th tee, I decided to have a proper lash at a drive and hit a stunner. 250+ dead straight, position 'A'. I then proceeded to putt out for a 7. Good shot, bad shot....

Sunday night was a quiet night. Well, it was after my 7th pint anyway.

Monday morning, fortified by a breakfast of sausage and sausage, I strode manfully to the first tee of the famous Forest of Arden course, and for once, hit a decent drive...
One of the things I'd been thinking about was the fact that David Howells, former top 10 in the world, ranked the 9th hole as his least favourite in the world. Well, he was right to, what a shit-bag of a hole! Over water, so pressure, then a narrowish landing area, with hazards on both sides, then a climbing dog-leg to a green surrounded by bunkers. I won't say it's my least favourite in the world, but it's not in my top 10 either...

Anyway, I got beat, 4 & 2. But the team won, and I got a bottle of vodka, which was nice.

2 days golf in the midlands at the end of march and not a drop of rain! it's not often you get to say that either.

Next, Scotland!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

The season has begun!!1!

We had our annual "Ryder Cup" - style event this weekend at the Forest of Arden course, where I (as part of the much larger European team) was victorious! More news later!

Much as I hate to promote the Daily mail...

Check out the terrible legs, and the fugly wife....

I warned you. Still, Hero status immediately conferred...

More news at eleven!

Friday, 24 August 2007

31 Points!!

That's my best stableford score...ever!

I've just got back from our society's monthly roaming game, played at Standish Court near Wigan and I did very well, for me anyway.

It's a nice course, pretty forgiving (hence the score, probably) with lots of testing par 3's (2 of which I parred) and the back 9 especially is in a nice setting.

I'll be going back.

On Sunday my faithful Passepartou will be joining me at Oulton Hall near Leeds for 2 days of awesome golf, food and drink. Report later.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Form is temporary, class is permanent, I am rubbish.

Last week I was meant to be playing at Royal Lytham and St Annes, one of the most prestigious courses on this sceptred isle.

However, therein lies a tale.

Thursday evening I played a nice gentle 9 hole warm-up with two beginner friends of mine. I was awful. Truly, truly awful. I didn’t hit a single fairway, my irons were all over, wedges thinned time and time again. In fact, the only part of the game I was happy with was my putting.
I’m not sure why I was so bad, I’ve been playing OK recently. It might have been the 15 minute shower we had at the start of the round putting me off (I hate rain, you stop thinking about your shots and start thinking about keeping everything dry), or the softness of the course, or I don’t know. All I know is I was terrible.
So, I withdrew from playing at Lytham. My game was so poor I wouldn’t take it on the local pitch and putt, much less an Open Championship course.

However, I am playing a lot in the coming days. Friday I am playing in my work’s society at Standish Court. Sunday and Monday I am playing at Oulton Hall near Leeds with Andy. We will have to see how we go…….