Very occasionally I will arrive on the 1st tee with nothing up my sleeve to complain about. I will have slept the right amount, eaten at least an hour before teeing off, hit a few balls and some putts, my playing partners will be chatty and charming, and my bag is packed with just the right amount of balls, snacks and drinks.
My right pocket will be half full of three long and three short tees, a single 10 pence piece, a slimline pitchmark repairer and my other pockets will be free of the usual detritus.
I have dressed correctly, I am neither hot nor cold and there is nobody ahead or behind us.
With all the stars aligned I will then play terribly. What I want more than anything is to be able to point the finger away from myself, which is why I love winter golf so much.
It is the gift that keeps on giving in terms of ready-made excuses for why you can’t rattle up 26 points…
1. ‘I’m just working on my exit path’
This gets trotted out every year around this time. NOW is the time to start working on NEXT year. Go book some lessons with your local PGA pro and iron out those deep-seated flaws that have been in the system for the past two decades.
Hence why you are now stood in front of Brian, Dave and Steve on a Sunday morning rehearsing your now Alex Noren-like downswing and exit strategy and why you then struggle to break the 20-point barrier.
“Coach says my new moves will have bedded in by April.”
2. ‘Has anyone got a small tee?’
Mats, the bane of every club golfer. These days there has been a marked improvement but you can easily stumble across a tee area where it is either impossible to a) force any tee in; b) force a tee in anything like straight; c) find a stance which doesn’t have the ball a foot above your feet; d) have a mat that points in the vague direction of the fairway; or e) not slip at every point throughout the swing.
3. ‘We’re on mats… until April’
Much like the artificial teeing ground the portable artificial turf is your go-to excuse for a poor day.
Be sure to huff and puff every single time you throw it down, tut loudly as you continuously fat one after the other approaches and then flip it on is head when you hit a succession of soft-landing chip shots that haven’t been in your arsenal since 1988. Get ahead of yourself and have a little boast that you think you’ve finally found something around the greens.
You know you can just agree to chuck a ball down in the rough. The world’s not going to end.