Meet Amy. Adorable, isn’t she?
But don’t be fooled. Behind the cute smile lies a destroyer of dreams.
August and September have always been my months.
It’s a time I’ve peaked, played my best golf, won competitions and seen my handicap plummet.
Not this year.
Yesterday was another fruitless monthly medal at Sandburn Hall, my club on the outskirts of York.
I like to tease myself that it might be different this time and, standing on the 10th, I was only nett one over.
But as the rain came down, and the grips got wet, my round was swept away in disappointment.
We won’t talk about the 10 on the 17th.
The only other thing I can say about my gross 95 (nett 82) is that at least I’m consistent. I’ve only broken 90 once in the last month.
So I’m now undertaking what the FA would call a ‘root and branch review’ of my game.
And I’ve stumbled across something that has grave consequences for my aim of one day hitting single figures.
My child is ruining my golf.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d do anything for her.
That is why I can no longer hit a green in regulation from 150 yards.
People did warn me.
Amy or approach shots?
When I told pals at my club I was to become a dad for the first time – at the grand old age of 38 – they all flashed knowing smiles and predicted my clubs would be on eBay within six months of her birth.
I’ve managed to avoid that calamity but what’s worse in golf than watching another 7-iron shank into the deep rough?
When you have a child, your priorities change. I acknowledged this before Amy was born but didn’t really realise what an impact she would have.
While I would once happily jump in the car and beat balls on the range, I’ve now got much more important things to do with my time.
If it’s an hour toiling on a putting green, or spending 60 minutes with Amy, the latter is winning every single time.
I just don’t have the inclination to put the practice time in like I once did, and I think that’s why my game has been suffering so much.
Maybe it’s time to reassess what I want to get out of golf. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with being a dad and a 13-handicapper…