After weeks of frustration waiting for a break in the monsoon, we received a day sent straight from heaven on Sunday — clear blue skies, a bright sun and a bloody good game of golf.
Compared with what thousands of people have had to contend with during the floods we golfers have a cheek complaining about our lot but we don’t have much else to do.
As it happens, I probably wouldn’t have played if it wasn’t for the floods.
I’m not playing in the post-Christmas session of our winter league but I am available as a sub if anyone is desperate. Two weeks ago, Peter Edmunds, also known as Porky, asked me to sub for his partner, Simeon, who is Welsh Guardsman and was on duty that weekend.
I duly turned up only to find that Simeon was there. They didn’t need him after all but his message hadn’t reached Porky. Simeon wanted me to play instead of him but I want to keep our servicemen fit so he went out to play and I had a sausage sandwich and read the paper.
Last Friday, I had another call from Porky saying that Simeon was on emergency sandbag duty by the Thames and I was definitely needed this time.
So I turned up on a beautiful morning and was welcomed with open arms by Porky who, as I have mentioned before, plays off five and is real pot-hunter. Porky is unashamed in his desire for prizes and I am not usually found in the company of such zealots.
But, for once, I was happy to be a pot-hunter’s assistant though a little fearful of the damage I could cause his ambitions.
Unfortunately, we have shot-gun start and we were off the tenth hole which is almost a mile uphill from the clubhouse. I hadn’t played for a month and we had to carry our bags so by the time we got there I was panting like an old goat.
I could hardly breathe and since I was driving the evens, I had to swing into action immediately. The tenth is a long par three and, to my surprise, I landed my tee-shot just short of the green. Porky chipped to within four or five feet, I holed the putt for a par and we were one up.
The good start didn’t last long. We were up against Graham and Dave who for high handicappers, 19 and 22, play very well. We halved the next and then I shanked my approach shot on the third hole and in no time we were three down without doing much wrong.
It was very enjoyable game and the scoring was quite tight. I had another nasty shank which lost us another hole but we managed to get back to all square and then went one up. Our combined handicap was 33 and their’s was 42 so we had to give them five shots which told in the end.
As pleasurable as the day and the game was, the muddy ground was very heavy on the legs and I was feeling it. We were one up at the last, which is a long, uphill par five and thanks to a bit of tree trouble we couldn’t hold on to the lead and, therefore, had to play an extra sudden hole which was halved.
The second extra hole was a long par five which we halved in par. By this time, I was truly creamed-crackered and didn’t hit a very good drive on the third extra hole. It left Porky with a nasty approach over the trees but I still had a seven feet putt to keep us in the game. I missed it and we lost.
I commiserated with Porky and said that if it wasn’t for those floods Simeon would have been playing and it could have all been different. He was kind enough to say I played OK and bought me a pint as did Dave and Graham so it was a good day all round — even if the stiffness in my legs still makes every step an effort.