My week in golf: Close, but no cigar...
It’s enough to wake me in a cold sweat – my recurring golfing nightmare.
Medal day dawns at the club and, for once, I can do no wrong.
Fairways and greens? I can’t miss. I’m rolling putt after putt into the hole. I’m not thinking about meeting my handicap, I’ve got my eye on breaking 80.
I sink a lovely 15-footer at the last and it’s there stencilled in pencil into the card – a 78 off the white tees.
That card is checked over and over. It’s all present and correct. Into the box it goes and I wait expectantly to pick up my prize.
But there’s nothing to collect. The results come through and I’ve finished 5th. All I’ve achieved is a chunky handicap cut.
I’m bolt upright in bed. Thank God, it’s only a dream.
Only it isn’t always.
I have a regular conversation with a guy who plays at my club, Sandburn Hall on the outskirts of York.
He’s becoming a heck of a player and his handicap has tumbled over the past few months. He’s hovering now around 7 and he’s nowhere near finished yet.
He loves to put in a supplementary card whenever there’s not a competition on and, last Saturday, a tidy 38 points dropped him another digit.
But to my shame, I tend to scoff at him when he reveals another fine round that will bring no other reward than an axe taken to his CDH number.
It’s not about the glory, he tells me. It’s about getting low and quickly.
Don’t get me wrong. Whenever I tee it up on the whites I want to achieve that magic ‘playing reduction’.
I also want to win stuff as well.
It seems fruitless to me to give away those precious points and have nothing else to show for my efforts.
A few quid in the pro shop, a trophy on the mantelpiece – it’s not too much to ask, is it?
Sunday saw our competition campaign reach a climax.
The leaves were falling off the trees, the ball wasn’t going very far but, continuing the lovely form I’ve managed to put together over the past month, I was enjoying another decent day.
Sure, there are mistakes. Double bogeys at 7, 9 and 15 are setbacks. But I’m hitting the ball nicely and I’m racking up pars.
I have 5 on the front nine and three in a row from 11 to 13. I even birdie 17 and though I finish with a 4 – our 18th is a par 3 – the hole was playing straight into the wind and I was simply happy to get the ball over the water.
All in all, a pretty good day’s work. A gross 82, a nett 71, and another cut to my ever-decreasing handicap.
I’m banking on an extra tenner in the golf shop pot as well. There’s a pair of winter gloves I’ve got my eye on and this will do nicely.
But I finish 5th. FIFTH. Arrgh.
We received a sombre email this morning.
“As of today the White Tees have been brought in so there will be no play from these tees over the Winter period.”
The season is over.
Sunday’s medal apart, I shouldn’t be too unhappy.
A campaign that was resembling a scene out of a disaster movie in mid-summer has finished with me winning a monthly medal and pushing my handicap down to the lowest it’s ever been.
The final medal might not have appealed to the bounty hunter in me but it did result in another .2 shaved off the total.
I’m now off 11 dead and will have all winter to steel myself to have a crack at what’s always been my main ambition – reaching single figures.
Now that’s a dream I’m more than happy to indulge.