Although I recognise that golf is considered a social game, there is an awful lot to be said for playing on your own. Because the sport is essentially an internal battle with yourself, there really is no need for other people to be around when you play it. That?s the conclusion I came to at the weekend when, rather than complete my tax return, I went up to Dale Hill for a solo round.
Fortunately, an early morning deluge had discouraged many of the regulars so there weren?t very many people around as I slid my clapped-out Fiat into a prime slot in the front row that you would normally have to set your alarm clock to secure.
Anxious not to be spotted in the locker-room by a well-meaning but unwelcome fellow member looking for a game, I boldly changed my shoes in the car park, a practise regarded by many as far worse than cheating.
Without looking back, I jogged to the thankfully unoccupied first tee and before you could say ?Fancy making up a four?? I was away. After walking approximately 260 yards down the middle of the fairway and just before reaching my ball, I noticed a couple teeing off at the second. No problem. I would simply take my time and smack at least one other ball so as not to appear to be pressing them.
It was glorious. What a great waste of time it is watching someone else struggling to hit a ball when we could be struggling to hit one ourselves. Apart from anything else, playing on your own obviates the necessity to keep saying ?hard luck? and, worse still, ?good shot.? Furthermore, you don?t have to look for their balls or hear about the shocking weather they suffered on holiday, their wife?s bunions, the turbulent stockmarket, the price of petrol, the roadworks on the A21, global warming or the football on TV last night.
Having no one to admire your immense drives, solid irons or delicate chips is a small price to pay for not having to hang around waiting for others to make up their minds about what club they?re going to miss-hit. And if you must have competition, then play two balls against one another. You versus your alter ego is always interesting. At least one of you should win and go home happy.
Despite the fact that it?s rather oxymoronic, I?m even thinking of starting a Solos Society. Although I?m not sure how clubs would feel about, say, a dozen golfers requiring a dozen tee times, it could be of interest to uncrowded courses with inadequate showers wanting to look quite busy but who can?t ordinarily handle the volume.