Was it Atlas who was condemned to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders?
Now you may think citing Greek mythology is an odd way to start a golf column. But bear with me, there is a point – albeit a fairy loose one – I’m trying to make.
We were nine holes in to the latest winter fourball – Sandburn Hall‘s way of trying to relieve the boredom that exists in the phoney war between seasons – and I’d just chunked a chip about three yards. In my defence, it was a very soft and difficult lie, but it now meant I needed my partner, Pete, to rescue both me and our outward score.
This had been a recurring theme throughout the opening loop. I’d enjoyed the odd moment – a lovely little run up on the second to save par and a towering hybrid on the par-3 sixth.
But these were few and far between. I was playing terribly – and everyone knew it.
We’d somehow soldiered round in 20 points and it wasn’t because my name was appearing on the scorecard.
“Don’t worry,” I offered meekly. “I’m always better on the back nine.”
This wasn’t just a hopeful statement, by the way. I actually do much prefer the inward holes at our York track. They just suit my eye.
Perhaps, though, this wasn’t the time to proffer it. “Good,” Pete said. “Because I’m carrying you at the minute.”
I didn’t know whether he was trying to gee me up or give me a verbal slap round the chops. To be honest, I probably deserved both.
Now any golf coach worth his salt will tell you the 10th tee is not the time to try and cure a big technical problem. They’ll argue you’ve just got to get on with it, work through it and try to grind out a score.
Sod that. If I’m not hitting the ball in a perfectly straight arc – and fat and left is not my definition of straight – I’m going to tinker until it’s fixed.
I tried shortening the back swing. No dice. I kept my eyes on the ball a little longer, as I have a tendency to take an early peek for my shots. That didn’t work. In desperation, I widened my stance.
I hit a drive 25 yards longer than anything else I’d managed that day and then crushed a 5-iron into the heart of the 11th green.
I parred that, and the 12th and 13th, and would have done so on the next had Pete not got his ball in the hole first.
Given that we finished with 44 points, I’d like to think this was the glue that held the rest of the round together.
That would be rubbish.
In fact, it was a birdie, par finish from my partner – and a massive seven points – that propelled us into fourth. We’d grabbed the last of the prize positions.
So I’ve got £15 sitting in the shop, about £3 for each time I appeared on the card. It’s not quite minimum wage but I’ll take it.
“That’s teamwork,” Pete opined when I congratulated him on his stellar play.
I just hope his shoulders aren’t too sore…