What makes the perfect golf day?April 24, 2019 The Scoop
It's just you, three mates and your clubs. So what happens? Mark Townsend enjoys his day of days in his Notebook
You have a whole day to yourself; no work, no kids, no significant or insignificant others. You can get up when you want, eat what you want and play where you want. Your perfect golf day, it’s almost too good to be true…
Your perfect golf day: How many holes?
Needless to say you’d want 36 as 18 is never enough and 27 is just a bit weird however you try and dress it up. This is your day of days so make the most of it.
My body struggles a bit with this amount of golf these days – last year I was stranded in a bunker, unable to move like a harpooned whale, after my back gave way after a faulty recovery – but there are some outstanding painkillers out there on the market which will help you get over the line.
I did eventually get out of the hazard after being offered a club before being half winched to safety where I gingerly had to have a lie down.
Your perfect golf day: What format?
There would be no need for any scorecards as I’ve pencilled in some greensomes in the morning before a traditional fourball after lunch. All matchplay, no side games, no mythical Stablefords, all nice and straightforward.
My thinking is that the first session won’t take it out of us too much and we’ll all be desperate to come screaming out of the traps in the afternoon.
The likelihood is that you’ll be finished, mentally and physically six holes in of the fourball, but never mind.
Greensomes might be the most underused and underrated format in the game and, until you actually play it, you can kid yourself that one of you can give it a smash off the tee after the other has nudged one into play.
Again the likelihood is that Player 1 takes his role far too seriously and over-thinks things on every level which then means Player 2 is already playing the blame game before he’s even got the tee out of his pocket.
And from here things just descend into the usual foursomes routine of occasional ruthless efficiency or a horrible mess.
Then, with your own ball in your hand in the afternoon, open your shoulders and tear it up.
Your perfect golf day: What are the teams?
Just throw balls up. You’re not going to be able to pre-guess how four idiots are going to perform, particularly in some form of alternate-shot charade, so just let the balls decide. And then spend the rest of the day wondering how you and Dave might have got on.
Your perfect golf day: What start time?
I’m not sure I’ve ever played well after having breakfast at a golf club as there tends to be a view of the 1st tee which just feeds my anxiety and it just means I’m there too long before getting going.
Before I’ve the words “Full English, no beans” have left my mouth I’ll already have established who’s teeing off first or second in our greensomes and mentally playing out the need to steer/prod one left from whichever position I’m hitting off.
Ideally there wouldn’t be a breakfast as my ideal start is 7am but that leaves an awful lot of time to fill so let’s say breakfast at 8 for a 9.30 tee time. This leaves far too long to prepare/hit a collection of aimless putts/waft a 7-iron into a net/make a late bolt to trap two but we have to start at some point.
Your perfect golf day: What does lunch involve?
The chances are that you will still be fairly bloated by your inability to stop eating at breakfast but that won’t stop the wrong words coming out of your mouth as you order your lunch.
In your head soup and a sandwich will suffice but you’re at a golf club and surrounded by three men so you hear yourself say ‘club sandwich’, shortly followed by ‘chips’.
And although it’s going to lead to some form of nausea, irritability, lethargy, tiredness and quite possibly some form of chronic cramping you wash it all down with three pints of lager top, the final one technically termed a shandy.
Your perfect golf day: Who joins you?
The greatest imponderable given almost everyone I know who plays golf comes with a series of enormous flaws. The wish-list would be for steady rather than spectacular golf though with some defects that will surface in the afternoon round, a bit of chat and someone who knows some good exercises for the lower back or has the keys to the castle of some under-the-counter remedies.
Your perfect golf day: Where to play?
Two goes around the same course, however amazing it is, tends to lend itself to a bit of familiarity given you’ve played it two hours previously. We all like to be stimulated by new experiences so let’s say, ideally, somewhere with two courses though with both of a similar standard. Why would you want to spend half your day looking longingly at where you could be playing?
Similarly 54-hole resorts are maybe a bit too much to take in over just one day.
Answers on a postcard really. Sunningdale, Walton Heath (above), Blairgowrie and Saunton spring immediately to mind. I’ve not been to The Berkshire and Enville.
Your perfect golf day: What to do after golf?
Enough’s enough, move on to somewhere else. Staff want to go home and you’ll start to become over familiar with everyone and blot your copy book.
I’m not sure where you’d be up to food-wise, maybe have some bar snacks before letting yourself down, for one final time, with a curry.