In Blogs 9+10 I explored “why you play golf”. After a very enjoyable round at Burley Golf Club yesterday, I’d like to revisit this fundamental topic.
I enjoy the fresh air, exercise, scenery, competing with others and with the course designer. The most enjoyable golf for me is when everyone plays well.
Yesterday was a perfect storm; there was a window of blissful early Autumn weather, sandwiched between two rainy days. The course despite the previous downpours was in good shape. The 4-ball was convivial. Friends had travelled from Marlborough and beyond to be there. As we sat outside on the terrace, masks set aside, there was air of expectation as we haggled over playing partners, formats and handicaps.
A small herd of cows wondered by – then straight over the putting green – a familiar site at Burley apparently! As I returned to my car to make ready for the round, a very large pig appeared! (We are now in Pannage Pig season – Commoners can let their pigs loose for two months to gorge on acorns which are poisonous to horses but of no harm to pigs).
We opted for greensomes (all 4 players tee off, choose the best drive per team then play that ball alternately (foursomes) until the hole is completed. There was the added caveat of 8 drives per player adding a strategy layer (Whatever you don’t arrive on the 18th tee relying on one drive only. I once saw someone so stressed that they had an air-shot in this situation).
Greensomes is a great format. Everyone gets to drive and tee off at the par 3’s but it’s a quick game and ideal for chilly afternoons with fading light.
The match ebbed and flowed with my team off to a very solid start parring the first 5 holes and sinking a couple of 6-8 footers between us too!
Two up at the turn but reined in with some skilfully negotiated (and played) shots.
A Philosophical Interlude
My partner Trevor was very steady off the tee and off the fairway – far more so than I‘d witnessed before. I asked him about his new found form and his reply was a revelation.
“I used to get really down on myself if I hit a bad shot” he said. “One day I decided that I wasn’t going to play in any club competitions anymore, just play friendly games with mates. Also, that I’d accept that I wasn’t a scratch player so shouldn’t expect to hit shots like one and therefore not beat myself up if I failed to perform to that level”.
As a result, Trevor’s handicap fell of its own volition (to 18), he’s more relaxed, fewer expletives and overall much more fun to be with!
Back to The game
All 4 players executed some outstanding shots (long putts were holed – one was quiet audacious (Paul). Solid shots were hit over gorse bushes to greens below (Trevor), some even bounced off banks into the middle of the green (Nigel). This standard of play encouraged a higher level of banter too which made the game even more fun.
There were brief interruptions while we cleared New Forest Ponies from our path (Arguably some may have been safer straight in front of us but we did the right thing just in case).
The match was all square playing the tough 18th. Our team just pipped it but the result was secondary to a splendid afternoon – good golf amongst friends on a lovely golf course, in fine autumn weather and played in a good spirit too.
Never forget why you play golf and be true to your values – golf will be more enjoyable and there’s a good chance you may even play better!
If you’d like to discuss any of the concepts above, feel free to contact me.
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I’ll share some more from “Be a Golfer” in my next blog….