Mark Townsend: Why I'm compiling a golfing bucket list
I’m breaking new ground in compiling my own golfing bucket list. I’m not sure why I feel the need to do this, maybe it’s because I’m nearer 50 than 40, maybe I just like daydreaming and writing lists.
Or maybe I’m a lifelong sufferer of FOMO. I include this because this is a new word to me, a trendy acronym learnt a few seconds ago. It stands for fear of missing out. Or maybe I’m just a begrudging cretin.
JSYK I won’t be using any more of these (just so you know). The last time I did one of these lists – ‘50 Things You Do Before You Die’ I managed one. ‘Throw Yourself Into Liverpool’s Nightlife’, something I did with disastrous effects in 1992 to celebrate my 21st.
As for ‘Traversing The Salar De Uyuni in Bolivia’ and ‘Come Eye-To-Eye With Africa’s Mountain Gorillas In Rwanda’ I struggled on.
Anyway here are my Top 8 (I ran out of words for 10) To Dos in the next four-and-a-half years…
1) Break My Putter..
I wouldn’t advocate this normally but it would be nice to find my old best friend in two pieces, if only to kid myself that I can putt with my longest iron. Which is a 5 so no I couldn’t.
2) Perfect The Stinger
Given the information I’ve just relayed about the makeup of my bag then, again, no I couldn’t. My abiding memory of any Open is of someone like Sergio Garcia hitting one head high down the middle of a fairway. And me then standing in my lounge with an imaginary club in front of the mirror and my body contorted into an unfamiliar position.
3) Begin A Round With An Iron
Other than on a par 3 I have no memory of doing this since the late 80s when I was a member at Wimbledon Park. Here you couldn’t hit a wood, even back in the day, as trees get in the way of trying to do anything heroic. So, for years, the 4-iron was unleashed and there was rarely a better feeling all day than threading one down to pitching distance. Or, should you find the hosel, see your Tour Edition scuttling its way across the adjacent 18th.
4) Spend A Day At Sunningdale
And play at least 36 holes. And eat loads of sausage sandwiches. And go with three friends and all play nicely.
5) Whittle My Bag Down To 10 Clubs
I’m now down to 12 and have high hopes that this is the most possible. This dream is down to a) a bad back and b) a hope that it would lead to some sort of Zen-type outlook where less is more and my new, uncluttered approach will somehow lead to a cluster of scores in the mid 70s.
6) Get My Handicap Down To 4
The obvious thinking would be to get to 5, and boast endlessly about being a Category 1 golfer. But even numbers always sound better and more achievable and would assist my new-found clearer approach. Given I currently play off 8, haven’t played in a competition for 18 months and still can’t function within 100 yards of the green this is looking less than likely.
7) Turn My Garden Into A Pitch And Putt
It might not be the longest short course, stretching to around 20 yards off the tips, but it would soon mould me into that 4-handicapper. I have recently installed artificial grass under the pretence of giving 20-month-old twin boys more scope to be outside. The truth is I want a 24-hour chipping facility.
8) Have A Hole-In-One
I know, boring boring. Bit it’s quite boring having played for over 30 years and being unable to join in the conversation when everyone else begins listing their heroics. I thought I had done it once in 1986 when I laced my trusty 4-iron to the 16th, straight at it. And there it was in the hole to spark Hale Irwin-type celebrations behind the green. Before my dad let slip that it had been an inch short and he had tapped it in on his way to his over clubbed, clumsy tee shot, something he found hysterical. We played the last two holes and drove home in silence.