Sunday, 20 March 2016

Roll up, Roll up, The Year of the Fish (#YOTF) is throwing down his marker

Friday Roll-up

Well what a week of golf that was, it started last Friday in my clubs roll-up, 17 holes were open, which after all the rain we had endured midweek coupled with the work that had been undertaken on the course, getting 17 holes open  was an excellent achievement by our greens staff at Coventry Golf Club.

The balls went in the bag to create the 4-balls and order of play and then they went into the air to pair off for the matchplay teams, the losers of which pay for the others food & drink when we get back to the clubhouse.

As soon as I drove my first ball, which I was a little apprehensive and anxious about after struggling the week before, I knew as I watched it fire down the fairway with just a nice little bit of draw I was going to have a good round, oh how that first drive takes away the pressures immediately when you catch it right and have struggled previously.

It really is hard to understand what creeps into our rounds at times when only a few days before you've visited parts of the golf course never to be explored before by humans only then to drive your ball perfectly finding fairways for fun, anyway, a solid 8 pars and 1 birdie followed with a few unlucky bobbles and lip outs which could have made the round even more memorable but to finish on a very respectable 39 points from the 17 holes open was very pleasing and enough to take all the spoils.

Saturday Roll-up

Well when things are going well there's nothing better than jumping back on the horse as quick as possible, so it was straight back to play in my regular Saturday roll-up, once again we had 17 holes open and our 5 new greens were now in play also, and once again I drilled my first drive right down the left-hand side of the fairway, it really is key to me I think getting that first drive away cleanly, it really sets me up mentally as once again a solid 6 pars and 2 birdies followed for 38 points from 17 holes, so a degree of consistency is creeping into my last 2 rounds, but I must cut out the average 2 non-scoring holes per round I experience, they can be very destructive at times and without them my scores would be much much better.

Course management on those holes when I'm blocked out from seeing the green or a little further back than I'd like on a dogleg is the key I think, taking my medicine as they say and don't try anything daft which results in just getting into more trouble or not being in a position to make a score, easy words for all of us but at the time we convince ourselves we can make that shot, but how many times do we really pull it off?

Sunday Roll-up

So, with the blessing of my good lady wife I hit the club again for my third round on the bounce and entered the well attended Sunday morning roll-up, an excellent mix of low single handicap players up to the odd Cat4 where all in attendance.  There's quite a few members in this roll-up that I haven't met or played with in my 12 months at the club, so these roll-ups are an excellent way to meet new people, especially for me as being still a relatively new member.  The balls went into a hat and I was paired with Chris, a 6 handicapper that I'd spoken to before but not had the pleasure to play with or alongside, our opposition pairing was Simon another 6 handicapper whom I'd never seen before and Mark, who I had played with a couple of times and was off 10, so I was in good company and off we went to the 10th to tee off.

Our 10th off the yellows is a tough long par 4 hole, so starting with a par really got my juices going, especially after the 2 recent good rounds I'd just had, the banter started immediately as with a shot Chris and I went 1-up immediately coming out the traps all guns firing. Unfortunately we only had 6 holes open on the back 9 which I duly parred 5 of them and double bogied the other, so I turned on 17 points, 2 over gross and yet only 2-up on the match, Simon & Mark were really hanging on to our shirt tails needing birdies to half the holes I was parring, it was becoming a great battle!

Off to the 1st tee now to start the front 9, again another tough par 4 hole off the yellows and my double bogey on it brought me back to earth a little after finding a fairway bunker taking on too big a 2nd shot, a little word with myself whilst the banter was growing as Simon & Mark could sense a chink in my armour, but I reacted by parring 5 of the remaining 8 holes which was too much for them to contend with, so I totted up 22 points on the front to add to my 17 on the back for a 39 points total from only 15 holes, 8 over gross and 10 pars bagged & tagged, and when I think I missed 3 very good birdie opportunities from around 4ft, it could have been even better!

What a great day, I really didn't mind buying the bowls of chips out of my winnings and to be fair to everyone, they were all pleased for me as they know I'm working hard to get my handicap down this season.

2016 is really going to be the #YOTF and this handicap of 20 (19.9) is going to take a real bashing this season ;-)


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Fore Right....!

Well after returning from a cold and wet south coast not a lot had gone on other than struggling with a bad dose of Man Flu all last week that meant I had to pull out of a competition run by Tee Tours at Little Aston Golf Club on Wednesday, which in the end was abandoned after around 10 holes due to severe weather conditions!

So, next up at my club was the Captain's Challenge, a fully cooked breakfast followed by a pairs betterball (BB) competition in aid of the captains charity (Myton Hospice) with the Captain and Vice Captain playing together on this occasion, as such I had asked the captains usual playing partner the week before and whom I'd played with many times in the roll-ups if he'd like to partner me, which he duly accepted.

Saturday dawned and it had snowed quite heavily in the night, so at 07.45 I telephoned the course information line and I wasn't surprised to hear that the course was closed, this was followed up with a Twitter message from the assistant Pro of the day, as such the wife then attempted to get me to go shopping with her, but I was having none of that!

But then 15 minutes later I picked up another Tweet, the course was staying closed but the comp was still going ahead at the arranged 12.30 shotgun start, the course information line message was changed, but how many would have heard the first message?

So, off I trudged for my cooked breakfast at 10.30 followed up with some chipping on the practice area and a few balls in the nets and all seemed good.

20 minutes before the shotgun start, which for me was on the 1st tee as I was in the Captains and VC's group, my partner still hadn't been seen, a quick phone call revealed he had listened to the course information line before it had been changed and then made other arrangements and was no longer available!  A quick scout around the club and 1 of the juniors had arrived to practice and he was happy to stand in at short notice and partner me.  A quick introduction on the 1st tee uncovered he was only 14 years old, represented the club at County level and played off 5, rumblings of my potential banditry and his natural ability soon had a few look upon us as favorites!

Well everyone boomed their drives down the fairway but I decided to slice mine right over towards the 7th tee and pond, luckily getting a bounce back out with a solid knock off a tree but still only a low 5 iron punch shot out under the branches over to the left side of the fairway was available to me, which I duly sliced again with my 3rd shot and my trusty 4w a couple of hundred yards down the right side again! A decent chip onto the front of the green and my putt just missed and ran past a couple of feet and with no shots for my young Cat 1 partner, we started our round with a solitary 1 point.

Well I'm not going to give you all a blow by blow encounter because it would be too painful, but I will say I've never shouted Fore Right so many times and I've never been to so many areas of the righthand side of the course before since joining over a year ago, I don't know what has happened or what has changed or crept in, but I'd have paid money to see me duck hook a tee shot, the first fairway I found was the 9th with my mini-driver, and that was only on by a whisker, and I think that was the only fairway I found all day, which when you look at my current stats being 62% fairways found, you just can't get your head around it, but by god did I scramble well when needed, so much so I was on the card 6 times on the front 9 for us to turn 4 under with 22 points!

The back 9 started and carried on much the same as I found myself on various fairways, but not the ones I was supposed to be on!  It wasn't all bad though, I hit a few good straight-ish drives which were unlucky to be slightly blocked out on some of our left to right dogleg holes but I was still far too cosy to the right hand side of the first cut and semi rough.  I only came in on 1 hole on the back 6 holes we had open which was another scrambled par on our par 3 15th hole, I thought I'd struck what was now my untrusty 4w quite well down the long 194 yard par 3 only to see it land on the high bank immediately after the greenside bunker on the right, a nice chip and single putt for par ensued, there wasn't much for me to get excited about so I treated myself  to a slightly restrained fist pump ;-)

Anyway, we finished 4 under with 34 points, I felt exhausted and thoroughly beaten up, it was a pleasure to play alongside such a young talented natural player who weighed next to nothing and yet drove the ball a country mile, I'm not sure what he'd say about me as we didn't get the opportunity to walk together very much :-(

Our 34 points in the conditions presented to us I thought was pretty decent, until the announcements started with "in 3rd place and on countback with 37 points!", I don't think we even made the top 10, and they have the audacity to call me a bandit ;-)

I think a lesson and some range practice is called for, that was incredibly wild for me off the tee, only some decent chips kept me in it and sane, and after watching some of my wild high slices you can give me a duck hook anyday of the week ;-)  How on earth can you win the 3-Club Challenge 2 weeks prior with 3 under and then play like that?

Oh, and how I got around with the same ball with what I put it through begs belief, I think I'll retire it, it had an even tougher day than me ;-)