Sand tricks Andy
out of his fiver

Modesty forbids me claiming a world record but I bet it’s a Welsh record — an improvement of 31 shots in medal rounds just a week apart.

Mind you, not many golfers return a medal card showing that 142 strokes have been made over a round of 18 holes. It should be a criminal offence.

But, at least, I finished the round on what was a difficult day for scoring. Only three broke 80 and there were over 40 Nrs — golfers who didn’t complete their cards for one reason or another.

One of them was Andy Ferrier who had had a fiver bet with me. Since he didn‘t complete his card even my 142 was the winner.

Naturally, he wanted a chance to win his fiver back and, as luck would have it, there was another medal the following Saturday which was last weekend.

The difference was that whereas we played in different three-balls on the previous Saturday we would be in the same group this time– and would be sharing a buggy. We weren’t likely to fall out despite the tension.

In fact, it was polite a sporting encounter as you would expect between lifelong hackers. The third member of our group was Phil Mardon who plays off 15 and was unaware of our revenge battle.

He was also unaware that we were both 28 handicappers but it was too late for him to back out.

Although my start was an improvement on the previous week, my six on the par four first was topped by Andy’s 5. He then parred the second while I produced another six via a bunker.

The par-five third turned out to be troublesome for Phil who slightly tugged his tee shot and we assumed it took a dive into the woods because we couldn’t find it. I offered to give him a lift back to play three off the tee but he said he wouldn’t bother.

Later he admitted that he was struggling with his back and when we reached the half-way house asked us if we minded him calling it a day.

So were left to battle on alone. Andy, in fairness, was much the steadier. He hits the ball further than me, though not always in the right direction, and he has a more consistent short game.

After nine holes I had taken 60 shots (15 better than the previous week) while he had a 58.

And he continued to keep his nose in from and on the 15th, a long uphill par four, he was four shots ahead and my prospects didn’t look too good.

Then, his third shot went into the greenside bunker. His first attempt looked good but just caught the top lip and bounced back into the sand. His next attempt did the same, and the next. I shouted at him to stand back and take a moment but he pressed on and the ball wouldn’t budge until his eighth attempt.

He had to settle for a 15 and his morale in free-fall. He battled on bravely but the gap was too big to pull back.

That’s the trouble with us hackers. We can proceed in a fairly decent way and there’s always one hole that kicks you in the stomach.

When I stood on the par three 18th tee I needed a four to break 110 and my tee shot finished only ten yards short of the front of the green. Foolishly, I decided to use my putter and take a whack at it. The flag was well to the back but my ball sent like a rocket and finished off the green about 10 yards beyond the pin.

There was a sizeable crowd of members who had finished their rounds and were enjoying a beer. Knowing about our bet, they were also quite explicit in their mockery at my efforts particularly when I knocked the return eight feet past.

I finished with a six and a total of 111, a Nelson they call it in cricket, while Andrew had a 117.

There’s another medal this weekend but Andy can’t play so there’s no money to be earned but whenever we play in future we’ll have a fiver on it because we think it will spur us towards breaking the 100 barrier . God knows we’ve tried everything else.

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