It has been a day of mourning in the Carroll household.

When the dreaded email came through, a solemn Last Post blasted out of my laptop speakers.

As the trumpet played a final YouTube note, I sighed and bowed my head for a moment of dutiful respect.

My 12 handicap is no more.

For a year I’ve scrapped, fought and hung on by my fingernails to that magic mark.

It had become a badge of honour.

There were times when I thought it would be swallowed up by my mediocrity, only for me to fly round the final four holes in level par gross to creep into the buffer zone.

Now it is gone. I am a teenager again, and I can’t say I care too much for it.

It was an awkward, depressing experience the first time round.

I’ve only got myself to blame.


My golf has been abysmal for much of the season. When the August Stableford began with a barrage of blobs, the writing was on the wall.

I can’t remember if I have ever stood on the 4th tee nursing only a solitary point before, but there it was – my scorecard said so.

My course, Sandburn Hall on the outskirts of York, isn’t the sort of place you can go chasing if you are only a moderate hitter.

If you don’t drive the ball well you must accept it may be a long morning and just enjoy the company.

I’m happy at least I toughed it out, and 17 points on the back 9 gives a hint that this calamity may only be temporary.

There are some advantages too to going up to a 13 handicap (or 12.5 if you are being pedantic).

For a start I get a shot on a tricky par 3 – our 6th, which demands an accurate shot over water to a small green.

With 36 holes at Ganton also looming later this week, any extra help is more than welcome.

But they say that 13 is ‘unlucky for some’. All I can hope is that I buck the trend. And soon.