After 14 months of waiting, my moment in the spotlight came – the honour of hitting the first shot of the new season at Sandburn Hall.
Time for your new captain to shine. Send a message to the membership that this is going to be a year of golfing excellence.
You know what’s coming.
I completely muffed it. More Captain’s Hook-it than Drive-in.
The date wasn’t merely incidental. I was always likely to be the club’s April fool.
Honestly, I was somewhat surprised at everyone’s (misguided) faith in me. We run a ‘guess the drive competition’ each year.
Pay a pound, pick a number. The digits between 100 and 200 this time were strangely blank.
Anyone who’d watched me closely, though, could have got the skinny on exactly what I would do.
I’ve had this ugly snap hook off the tee for about two months.
It’s always sitting beneath the waterline waiting to strike and, metaphorically, take my golfing arm off at any moment.
It’s a shot that makes you wince to watch: a low, scudding, horror that barely gets three feet off the ground and doesn’t travel much further.
And I’d been repeating it time after time.
So add in a first tee full of people, and a ton of expectation, and it’s probably not a surprise that this is exactly what I produced.
Remember the list started at 100 yards?
I managed 97.
You can watch the shot for yourself but, I can assure you, I won’t be seeing it again.
I’m trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter – that I raised £116 from the day for my year’s charity, Bloodwise, and that’s the only thing that counts.
But there’s a voice, deep in the back of my mind but which makes itself heard in quiet moments, telling me I’ve let people down.
The applause, after the strike barely found its way into the rough, was unexpected.
All I deserved was a slow hand-clap followed by someone hooking me off the stage.
We were playing a four-ball betterball straight afterwards in a shotgun start.
I crashed one off the 10th tee then but there were no cameras to be seen.
I worried about a lot of things in those first few holes.
What would people think of me?
Was it an omen for the rest of the season? Would I be a bad captain?
Then I parred five of the last six holes, our team finished runners-up in the Vice-Captain’s Day competition and the world suddenly started to look a bit brighter.
I wish that shot had sailed high and long down the middle of the fairway. I wish that Eddie Thomas, who’d put down 338 yards, had collected his £30 (he never had a chance).
But if you are going to be remembered for anything, it might as well be for making people laugh.
In that, I did a first rate job.