My week in golf: Anyone for skiing? (or how I gave away the January Stableford)
It snowed this week in York.
I’m pointing this out as, unless the north’s hit by the apocalypse, any news on inclement weather focuses on a light dusting somewhere around Bermondsey.
A few flakes make for a picturesque scene on any course and Sandburn Hall, dressed up like a ballroom-bound Fred Astaire, was no different.
While snow looks nice, it doesn’t always make for good golf.
For it can bring a dual terror for all club golfers – the ice ball and the horrors of the temporary green.
The first is bad enough.
You’ve carefully worked out all your yardages over the years and now you’re hitting a gap wedge 190 as it keeps bounding on and on like it’s just struck a road.
If you’re lucky enough to hit a fairway, you have to embark on a game that makes Where’s Wally look like a puzzle for newborns. White and white really don’t work together well.
But that’s nothing compared to the ‘temp’.
These vary wherever you go but, with the best of love to greenkeepers everywhere, they’re basically just a bit of fairway with a hole in it.
Add a couple of centimetres of snow into the mix and a week’s work on the living room carpet has all been for nought.
Even if you can get a ‘pure’ putt, your ball’s going to look like an acorn rolling down a hillside during an avalanche by the time it reaches the hole.
It’s certainly another use for the word wedge.
So it was with some surprise that I found myself at the turn with 21 points in the January Stableford, helped no end by a start that saw me one over gross after 6 holes.
I was driving the ball straight, the irons were going in a generally straight line. Most pleasing given the conditions, putts were dropping in when they had to.
Standing on the 16th tee, I’d amassed 34 points. There wasn’t the whizz bang of the opening nine but it was all steady enough. Three pars and I’d grab 40.
I’d get a prize. Hell, I might even win it.
There were so signs of what was to come as I powered a nice drive over the bunkers and to within around 85 yards of the hole.
That came when a utility wedge took a two-storey bounce and rocketed past the quickly put together putting surface.
I eventually got down for a 5 and 1 point. No panic. Two pars for 39. 17’s a short par 5, I might even get a birdie.
Until, of course, I took a 7. Hitting my second from under a tree hadn’t helped but the clincher was lobbing a wedge into some cabbage and failing to find the putting surface.
Even then, there wasn’t any real panic. 37 points wouldn’t win anything but it would be a tidy round and nothing to be ashamed about.
Our 18th is a par 3 over water with a big tree in the way. I didn’t actually hit a bad shot but mis-clubbed badly.
The ball flew through the air and disappeared only for us all to hear a long crack as it struck the ice.
Three holes, 1 point. 35 in total and 13th place.
I wonder if this is a wrinkle in my mind – that I’m sub-consciously struggling to finish off my rounds.
There’s no pressure in a January Stableford, of course, but is it a coincidence that, during a good day, I tend to finish off poorly?
Even when I did win a big tournament last season, I’d been lucky. A double bogey at the last should have sunk it.
So it’s a big dose of Bob Rotella for me over the next few days.
Perhaps I can learn to close a competition out before it bites me during one I really want to win.