Do you have any pre-round rituals?April 25, 2018 The Scoop
Hit a few balls on the range or force down a bacon roll and straight onto the tee? The Niggle team discuss how they prepare for a round of golf
James Savage: My preparation starts the night before. I like to make sure I’ve got the right socks.
Alex Perry: Everything I’m going to wear slung over the chair in the corner of my bedroom before I go to sleep.
James Savage: I like to get my clothes out the night before too. Maybe give my shoes a wipe. On the day, I’ll be running late. I’ll try and buy a bottle of water and a mid-round snack from the pro shop. If I have any time at all I will do some stretches. This might be done in trap two of the toilets as I find it a bit embarrassing to do in public.
Steve Carroll: Stretches?
James Savage: Yes Steve. It’s recommended for most sports.
Mark Townsend: I do my hamstrings which involves acting like I’m just about to be brought on by Terry Venables in 1987.
James Savage: I have very tight hamstrings but have been told that ‘the first part of the pain is the last part of the problem’ so try and focus on my quads and hips.
Steve Carroll: I try to be all organised. If it’s a board competition I’ll even clean my clubs.
Alex Perry: I like cleaning my clubs, I find it really therapeutic. Or if I’m short for time I chuck them in the bath with my daughter.
Steve Carroll: I’ll get there an hour before with the sworn intention of going through a rigorous warm-up and chipping regime before going through the bag. But I always end up demolishing a bacon sandwich and chatting until a couple of minutes before. A couple of putts and then I wonder why I top it off the 1st tee.
Mark Townsend: I arrive no earlier than 20 minutes before my tee time, try not to hit any chip shots, don’t practise short putts. I can’t stand waiting on the 1st tee so I’ll do anything possible to not be there. I’ve found that I play better when things are a bit of a shambles; dirty clubs, flustered arrival, wrong clothes and wrong size tees.
James Savage: I find the opposite is true. I remember playing a foursomes match where I still had my car keys in my hand when tasked with playing an approach to the 1st.
Alex Perry: Annoyingly this is also true for me. But I would much prefer to get to the club an hour before my tee time, get changed there, have a bacon roll, three putts of differing length then straight to the 1st tee. I’m not generally bothered about hitting any kind of other shots before I play.
James Savage: I’m not bothered about hitting balls or even having a putt. I’d like to spend every available second waking my hips up from the inevitable hour-plus drive I’ll have made to the course.
Alex Perry: Oh, and get my pockets sorted out.
Mark Townsend: Five long and two short tees, a 10p marker and a pitchmark repairer.
Alex Perry: The number of times I get to the 1st green and have to use a tee to mark my ball rather than my super cool Torquay United ball marker…
James Savage: Three tees, a ball marker, pitch mark repairer and a pencil. I’d like to think there would be some sort of left-right-back pocket order but they all start off in one and all spend time in the three mentioned pockets at some point during the round.
Alex Perry: Now I’m tied down to an exclusive trolley sponsorship my pencil and scorecard are on that, along with a bottle of water and one of those flapjacks that you can only buy in pro shops and nowhere else on the planet. So it’s just tees and ball marker for me.
Mark Townsend: Nothing in my left pocket in any walk of life. Why do you all go and eat at the club? If I eat at a golf club I spend all my time watching people hit bad shots and I get a bit jittery.
Alex Perry: Because paying £2 and having someone making a bacon sandwich for you is infinitely better than making it for yourself. The best bacon sandwich in golf, for your information, is at Birkdale.
Steve Carroll: A not-so humble brag.
Alex Perry:You’ve played there!
Mark Townsend: I understand a halfway hut butty, don’t get the bit before.
Alex Perry: Birkdale bacon roll 45 minutes before my tee time and a Sunningdale sausage sandwich at the halfway hut is my dream scenario.
James Savage: I had a really bad bacon sandwich at a very prestigious golf club. No butter on a slightly stale bread cake and undercooked bacon. It was shocking.
Alex Perry: Name and shame.
James Savage: I won’t. But seriously, how can you mess up a bacon sandwich?
Mark Townsend: I think it’s easier to judge a club by its sausages rather than its bacon. I have the two together.
Steve Carroll: That is the Mel and Kim of breakfasts.
Mark Townsend: When you go for your bacon sarnie down the club do you sit on your own or have you arranged something with your playing partners?
Alex Perry: Depends if they are there or not. Happy in either of those scenarios. Unless they try to share my sandwich – but why would they do that?
Steve Carroll: If I’m at a club I’ve not played before, I like to have a nosey round the clubhouse before my round. I can’t be the only one?
Alex Perry: You are not.
James Savage: I like to stay under the radar. (In trap two.)
Mark Townsend: I’ll be busy trying to convince the pro that I’m a nice person and that we could be mates.
Alex Perry: How’s that working out for you?
Mark Townsend: We still haven’t gone for that drink.
Alex Perry: I normally just ask him for the code to the locker room, which I’ll forget in the 15 seconds it takes to walk there.
James Savage: Is there anything more pointless than a gate code to get out of a golf club?
Alex Perry: What is your favourite tee time and why?
Mark Townsend: 7.20am or earlier if possible, any later and I’ve got too much time to do my own head in.
James Savage: 8am or 4pm in the middle of summer.
Alex Perry: Love a twilight round.
Steve Carroll: 9am. You’ve still got the afternoon to do other things and you’re not getting up at the crack of dawn.
Alex Perry: On a glorious day there’s no better feeling than being the first person on the tee that morning. Finish by 10, rest of the day to go bowling and whatever it is the kids are doing these days.