It will do the game no harm at all to learn that I will be unable to cause any damage to golf courses for a few months as the result of an operation I am due to undergo this week. Thankfully, the rain relented long enough for me to make a competitive farewell in the Jubilee Cup at The Glamorganshire on Saturday.
Since the course had been a soggy mess and closed for most of the week, we didn’t think much of our chances of playing but it dried out enough to enable us play a truncated competition over 15 holes.
I was particularly pleased because I wanted to take into hospital a fresh memory of my latest form so I could dwell on a comprehensive reflection of my mistakes as I lay in bed — but I don’t think they’ll let me stay in that long.
As it happens, my play was an improvement on recent rounds so I have more bright than bitter memories to ponder. I also have a more important distraction. My son, James, joins the Daily Telegraph as golf correspondent this week and is even now in the US from where he will be sending daily reports of Tiger’s and Rory’s adventures at Quail Hollow this week and the following week at the TPC at Sawgrass.
Meanwhile, back to more mundane matters. Happy as my regular partners, Mike and Max, and I were when we arrived for our 9 am start we soon realised we hadn’t put enough clothes on. I had three layers, including a polo neck, but the rain had been replaced by an east wind that may have been dry but was fiercely cold. We don’t recall being more cold at any time during the winter.
The Jubilee Cup is an individual Stableford which gave me the chance of improving on my last Stableford score of 16 points which made me joint bottom in the last competition.
It didn’t look at first as if I’d even get that many last Saturday. I was determined to try to hit the ball straighter, which I did, but my swing was so deliberate the ball wasn’t going very far. What with the course being muddy and slow, I was taking an extra shot to get to the greens.
And the greens, not having been cut due to the weather, were so woolly and slow putting was a nightmare. So many putts were stopping way short of the hole. Of course, you then gave the putt a bit of extra beef and the ball went sailing past.
There was a happy medium to be found but I never discovered it. Although I was hitting the ball longer as the round wore on, I ruined my chances of a better score by at least three-putting every green.
After six holes, I’d amassed five points. I did better on the back nine and the boys said they hadn’t seen me hit the ball better for weeks. Nevertheless, I still managed a total of only 15 points. Max didn’t do much better with 16 and Mike got 20.
I took solace from the fact that 15 points from 15 holes was a distinct improvement on 16 from 18 holes. But there was better news to come. Instead of finishing joint last, I was one of a number on 15 and there were five players on lower scores than me. The lowest was 12 points and included in the bottom five was my financial advisor, the club president and Bob, my winter league partner.
It’s nothing to get excited about but at my low ebb a few bragging rights are very welcome. Certainly, I have enough to work on in my mind before I can tackle a full round again and I’m planning a big comeback.
In the meantime, I shall continue writing my weekly hacker column for this website and I’ll be keeping a beady eye on a few other hackers whose travails I can report on. I hope I can still rely on your company.