Well after returning from a cold and wet south coast not a lot had gone on other than struggling with a bad dose of Man Flu all last week that meant I had to pull out of a competition run by Tee Tours at Little Aston Golf Club on Wednesday, which in the end was abandoned after around 10 holes due to severe weather conditions!
So, next up at my club was the Captain's Challenge, a fully cooked breakfast followed by a pairs betterball (BB) competition in aid of the captains charity (Myton Hospice) with the Captain and Vice Captain playing together on this occasion, as such I had asked the captains usual playing partner the week before and whom I'd played with many times in the roll-ups if he'd like to partner me, which he duly accepted.
Saturday dawned and it had snowed quite heavily in the night, so at 07.45 I telephoned the course information line and I wasn't surprised to hear that the course was closed, this was followed up with a Twitter message from the assistant Pro of the day, as such the wife then attempted to get me to go shopping with her, but I was having none of that!
But then 15 minutes later I picked up another Tweet, the course was staying closed but the comp was still going ahead at the arranged 12.30 shotgun start, the course information line message was changed, but how many would have heard the first message?
So, off I trudged for my cooked breakfast at 10.30 followed up with some chipping on the practice area and a few balls in the nets and all seemed good.
20 minutes before the shotgun start, which for me was on the 1st tee as I was in the Captains and VC's group, my partner still hadn't been seen, a quick phone call revealed he had listened to the course information line before it had been changed and then made other arrangements and was no longer available! A quick scout around the club and 1 of the juniors had arrived to practice and he was happy to stand in at short notice and partner me. A quick introduction on the 1st tee uncovered he was only 14 years old, represented the club at County level and played off 5, rumblings of my potential banditry and his natural ability soon had a few look upon us as favorites!
Well everyone boomed their drives down the fairway but I decided to slice mine right over towards the 7th tee and pond, luckily getting a bounce back out with a solid knock off a tree but still only a low 5 iron punch shot out under the branches over to the left side of the fairway was available to me, which I duly sliced again with my 3rd shot and my trusty 4w a couple of hundred yards down the right side again! A decent chip onto the front of the green and my putt just missed and ran past a couple of feet and with no shots for my young Cat 1 partner, we started our round with a solitary 1 point.
Well I'm not going to give you all a blow by blow encounter because it would be too painful, but I will say I've never shouted Fore Right so many times and I've never been to so many areas of the righthand side of the course before since joining over a year ago, I don't know what has happened or what has changed or crept in, but I'd have paid money to see me duck hook a tee shot, the first fairway I found was the 9th with my mini-driver, and that was only on by a whisker, and I think that was the only fairway I found all day, which when you look at my current stats being 62% fairways found, you just can't get your head around it, but by god did I scramble well when needed, so much so I was on the card 6 times on the front 9 for us to turn 4 under with 22 points!
The back 9 started and carried on much the same as I found myself on various fairways, but not the ones I was supposed to be on! It wasn't all bad though, I hit a few good straight-ish drives which were unlucky to be slightly blocked out on some of our left to right dogleg holes but I was still far too cosy to the right hand side of the first cut and semi rough. I only came in on 1 hole on the back 6 holes we had open which was another scrambled par on our par 3 15th hole, I thought I'd struck what was now my untrusty 4w quite well down the long 194 yard par 3 only to see it land on the high bank immediately after the greenside bunker on the right, a nice chip and single putt for par ensued, there wasn't much for me to get excited about so I treated myself to a slightly restrained fist pump ;-)
Anyway, we finished 4 under with 34 points, I felt exhausted and thoroughly beaten up, it was a pleasure to play alongside such a young talented natural player who weighed next to nothing and yet drove the ball a country mile, I'm not sure what he'd say about me as we didn't get the opportunity to walk together very much :-(
Our 34 points in the conditions presented to us I thought was pretty decent, until the announcements started with "in 3rd place and on countback with 37 points!", I don't think we even made the top 10, and they have the audacity to call me a bandit ;-)
I think a lesson and some range practice is called for, that was incredibly wild for me off the tee, only some decent chips kept me in it and sane, and after watching some of my wild high slices you can give me a duck hook anyday of the week ;-) How on earth can you win the 3-Club Challenge 2 weeks prior with 3 under and then play like that?
Oh, and how I got around with the same ball with what I put it through begs belief, I think I'll retire it, it had an even tougher day than me ;-)