Is having your name immortalised at the club still the lure it once was? Steve Carroll is no longer so sure it's for him

A mate once told me that whatever happened in the rest of his golfing life, he’d achieved the holy trinity. He shot a sub-70 round, won a monthly medal, and earned a spot on the golf club honours board. None of that could ever be taken away.

The latter saw his digits etched into the list of names forever associated with success for as long as that club lives.

I’ve recently joined a new place and I’ve found myself scanning those boards, remembering people I once knew, while wondering about other days of glory achieved so long ago.

But I’m not sure I’m that bothered about joining them this time. This is quite a departure for me. I’m told – usually by my wife in a despairing tone of voice – that I am far too competitive.

I like to succeed, and I like to win. While I’ve never really got close to breaking 70, I have won a monthly medal and my name is on the honour’s board at two of my previous clubs.

Neither of which I’m still a member at.

If getting my name onto a block of wood was such an enormous achievement, wouldn’t I still be at the club? Wouldn’t it have been a wrench to leave? (It was, actually, but not for those reasons.)

I’m not sure the introduction of the World Handicap System has helped. I’ve said this many times – I know a lot of you disagree – but I like the principle of handicap shots moving from course to course.

That said, my index is at 7.6 and off that mark there is little chance of me claiming a big competition. The reality now is I’d need to shoot my lowest ever round (it’s currently 76) and then cross my fingers it would be enough.

I feel WHS favours those who can play a bit and have the scope to improve if they have a good day. That’s not a complaint, by the way. People are entitled to play well. I merely think the new ways may have given them a little more of a leg up.

Hovering around net par just isn’t going to cut it.

And so perhaps my priorities have shifted. My battle is no longer with the rest of the field – and trying to win – as it is against myself and the desire to lower my handicap further.

It’s that which keeps me paying entry fees, even though I could just stick to general play scores, and it’s that which keeps me trundling off to the driving range and the practice area.

The fire that used to burn with the desire to get on the board is all but out. Perhaps that will change. Perhaps I’m just becoming a grumpy old man. You decide.

Are you still motivated about getting your name up in the club’s lights, or has it never been a motivating factor? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

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