Christmas golf

As a golfing Christmas, it couldn’t have been worse. Perhaps, one shouldn’t complain because most golfers couldn’t even get on their waterlogged courses over the festive period. My problem was that I did.
Not that I’m ungrateful for the opportunity — it’s just that conditions and my frailties got the better of me.
I don’t think we would have played at The Glamorganshire had it been a normal competition. The course was saturated and it was still raining. But the Boxing Day cross-country is far from normal.
As the name suggests, the nine holes traverse the course — first to the fourth, thirteenth to the seventeenth… and so on.
Instead of playing up and down our tree-lined fairways we blast our way across them. With some of holes measuring up to 900 or 1,000 yards, this requires a massive amount of big, high hits.
Unfortunately, my partner Mike Hennessey and I are not numbered among the big hitters. We have both won this event before but on each occasion we were playing with big hitters. The format is greensome foursomes so we were able to take their drives most of the time but we did play valuable parts in our victories.
This time, the course was so muddy the accent was even more on long drives and we did not match up. Indeed, our failure to clear the lines of trees meant that we spent most of the morning pinging the ball from trunk to trunk.
It didn’t help that buggies and trolleys were banned so we had to carry, which doesn’t help ancient warriors over such boggy terrain
Thankfully, our playing partners did not let our antics put them off. Jordan, who is 22 years old and plays of plus 2, was playing with his brother James who is 13 and plays off 10, and they played very well, producing great shots when they were needed..
Their combined handicap was 8 and since the allowance was a quarter of the combined they received two shots. Our combined was 50 and we received 13 shots which I don’t think was very fair at all, particularly as we did all 13 on one hole.
The most humiliating was the second tee to the third where, in endeavouring to put in a massive drive, I missed the ball completely. My reformed swing, which has been mildly successful in recent months, was replaced by the old uncontrolled lunge.
That’s what bad weather does to a swing, bringing in desperate urges to swipe at the ball. We trudged back in, absolutely knackered. It was hard work ploughing through her mud and we were not the only ones who found it exhausting. I half expected the Duke of Edinburgh to be waiting at the clubhouse to present his award.
Our score was a disgraceful nett 68, eight shots worse than the next lowest score. On a brighter note Jordan and James finished third with 44. Their father, Martin, did even better. He and partner Brian Rigby won the event with 41 and a half.
The following day I was due to play at Royal Porthcawl with James, who was up from Exmoor for Christmas and was desperate for a game. We fixed a three-ball with his brother-in-law, Chris, who plays at Blackwood, but early on Thursday morning the prospects were not good with sheeting rain and a howling gale.
Nevertheless, we made out way there and found another group waiting for the weather to improve. The rain eventually stopped but the wind didn’t and a south westerly was hurling down the first when we started.
You can always rely on Porthcawl to shrug off the severest rain but recent months have produced deep standing water no-one can remember ever seeing before.
The sun came out but the cruelty didn’t leave the wind. However, it wasn’t a bad game, We were playing 4-2-0 and Chris, who plays off nine, gave us a shot a hole. I managed to keep my end up but James, a far more suspect 28 handicapper than me, was mounting a challenge to Chris on most holes.
There’s nothing worse than a nasty wind to make a mess of a new swing I was soon struggling. But my legs were the main problem. They were stiff enough after the previous day’s exertions but they were beginning to protest after every step.
I managed to register a couple of points on the 13th but they were both too far ahead for me to catch so I decided to leave them to it and head back to the club-house. It is not something I like doing but they are both more than 20 years younger than me so I felt entitled to head for an early bath and a defrosting.
In the event, they halved the match and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although neither said it, I am sure that getting rid of me was a bonus.

3 thoughts on “Disastrous
Christmas golf

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