I?ve played golf in some atrocious conditions. In mid-winter I?ve stepped out optimistically onto the course into the teeth of a blizzard, I?ve battled hurricane-force winds and sub-zero temperatures just to get my golfing fix. I may lack mental fortitude in many departments but braving the elements isn?t one of them. As a result, I absolutely cannot stand it when a golf course closes. I?m not the only one. At Banchory a couple of winters ago about a foot of snow fell during one night. A fourball of older members were absolutely incensed when they arrived for their 9.07 tee time to discover they wouldn?t be allowed out for their weekly 20 pence match. ?What?s the problem?? they asked. ?We?ve got orange balls.?
From Sunday until last night (Wednesday) it?s been lashing down with rain. There?s a puddle outside our front door that?s deep enough for my dog to have a swim in. Banchory golf course put up a valiant fight against the deluge, but yesterday the greenkeeper was forced to admit defeat and the ?Course Closed? signs went up to the sound of much booing and jeering from the clubhouse.
It?s open again today but yesterday, Wednesday May 30 2007, is irrevocably lost. Goodness only knows what golfing heroism may have occurred had the few intrepid warriors still brave enough to attempt a game been allowed to go out to battle. Someone could have scored a first hole-in-one, someone could have overcome the yips or found the key to producing the perfect swing. But no, all were confined to barracks because of a little moisture on the fairways. What a shame.
Henry V may not have won the battle of Agincourt had he abandoned play because of the rain and heavy going underfoot. In fact, it worked to his advantage as the massively larger French army got, quite literally, stuck in the mud. On Tuesday night Jim and I did a Henry V in our first-round match of the club foursomes. It was pouring with rain but we drew on our Alliance experience to deal with the bad weather better than our opponents. Out came the rain gloves, the brollies and the waterproofs. Headcovers were removed and towels tied under umbrellas. We barely felt the rain as we cantered home to victory. Actually we played pretty badly but managed to be just slightly less bad than the opposition.
Foursomes is a treacherously difficult format. You play from places you?d never normally visit, it takes at least six or seven holes before you settle into your game and you feel great pressure not to let your partner down. Although it?s completely different from playing your own ball many of the same virtues are important:
Own ball: You must accept the lip-outs and the bad shots you?ll inevitably play.
Foursomes: You must also accept your partner?s lip-outs and bad shots.
Own ball: In medal play you must stay focused from hole 1 to hole 18.
Foursomes: You must maintain focus as you trudge back to the tee to play a provisional ball having watched your partner launch one into the jungle.
Own ball: Nobody likes to see someone losing their rag on course. You?ve got to try and keep the anger you?re feeling towards yourself under control.
Foursomes: Nobody likes to see someone losing their rag with their partner. You?ve got to try and keep the anger you?re feeling towards him under control.
Own ball: You must be brave to fight back after making a quadruple bogey. Remember, Rule 19.8 applies.
Foursomes: You must have the courage to look up at your partner after missing a two footer for a half (or after leaving him a two footer for a half).
Jim and I have only played one foursomes match together and it was a relatively easy victory so we?re yet to test ourselves on any of the above. I?ll let you know how we get on in round two.