From the clubhouse: I'm going to be captain. Help!
I AM having this recurring nightmare and suspect I’ll one day bawl it all out to a therapist.
It’s April and I am standing on the first tee at my club, Sandburn Hall in York.
I am aware of a rumbling around me. There’s a crowd of people watching. I can barely grip the club as I start the swing.
Everything is shaking. It’s fast, awkward and makes contact with the ground way before the ball.
That little white object is supposed to fly straight and true but, instead, it goes about 20 yards. Looking round, everyone is in fits. I wake up screaming and in a cold sweat.
I could tell myself this is only a dream but, in just three months, it could become a horrible reality. It has snuck up quickly. What was once only a nagging beat in the back of my mind now has its own rhythm section.
The Captain’s Drive-In is one of the time-honoured traditions of club golf – a way of ringing in the new season.
This time, it’ll be me hitting the first shot. There’s no getting out of it now. My name’s already been stencilled up on the club honour’s board. Help.
When our current incumbent flighted a lovely drive right down the centre last year, a former captain gave me a nod and wink and said ‘no-one’s hit a bad one for years now, Steve. Good luck’. Cheers Colin.
I’ve read that club skippers were originally chosen through competition. The last ones standing, they were invariably the champion golfer.
In this story, the drive-in is now a competition in itself. The chosen one tees it up, hits one away and, if there is no challenger, he is declared the victor and assumes office.
There’s a small part of me that’s hoping it could all still turn into a free-for-all.
It could be worse, of course. The captain of the R&A has to compete with a cannon when they hit their first shot. I’ll only hear the cat-calls of gentle mocking, should it all go awry.
But for any members thinking of entering the charity guess the distance sweep, my advice would be to go low. You may end up pleasantly surprised.