Week 16: Deeside

Date: February 14

Weather: light breeze, warm, no rain

Greens: summer

Mats: no

Preferred lies: yes

There are times in every golfer?s life when he has to face up to a harsh reality: the limitations of his own ability. For the most gifted players the reality isn?t too terrifying, but for mere mortals it can be soul destroying.

After my ordeal at Deeside yesterday I have to come to terms with the fact I?m terrible at golf. It?s been a startling and shocking epiphany, one that?s making me feel lower than a sparrow?s kneecap. I really am poor at the game. No matter how hard I try I?ll never reach the standard I want to. Oh woe is me.

My only consolation is this is a very temporary sensation. I?ve experienced it before, quite often actually, and know that within 24 hours I?ll have returned to the blissful dream world I normally inhabit. It?s a glorious, egotistical place where I?m a proficient golfer with the potential to get much better, maybe even play off scratch one day. But at the moment I know it?s a world of duplicity and false promise. I?m a fool for believing there?s a golfing land of milk and honey beyond the next dogleg.

At the beginning of the week we were uncertain if the competition would go ahead. There was snow on the ground until late on Sunday and there?s been a huge amount of rain. But, unfortunately for me Deeside was playable. The course was wet but the heavily sanded greens had held up to the deluge. I can?t blame the course condition for my deplorable performance. The weather was fine and warm so I can?t point the finger at the elements either. The disaster was solely down to my ineptitude. If I were to cover the debacle shot by shot this blog would run to about 25,000 words, so I?ll sum up the round by analysing the different elements of my game.

Driving: passable. It was probably the best part of my game, but that?s not saying much. I still hit a number of block/slices, found a couple of bunkers and very few fairways.

Iron play: poor. Normally a strong point, even this wasn?t working at Deeside. I hit a number of blocks plus a couple of slaps but strangely no pulls. See, there?s a positive.

Short game: lamentable. I played a total of six bunker shots (from only five bunkers). I was either horrendously heavy-handed or pathetically shy with my chipping. I fatted at least one and generally had zero confidence from 40 yards and in.

Putting: risible. If I?d been playing myself at match play I wouldn?t have given me a thing. It was pretty incredible really. I?d say it was harder to miss some of the putts that stayed out than it would have been to hole them.

Mental Game: desperate. On the 12th tee, having started back 7, 6, an unhealthy part of me wanted to fall into the adjacent river Dee with my golf clubs on my back and sink slowly down to the seventh level of hell.

Stewart and Cormack had cause to feel hard done by as well. Stewart couldn?t buy a putt and his round of +2 could have been considerably better. Cormack finished bogey, bogey, double bogey to also return a +2 total – my terrible golf and insidious negativity finally got to him. I was +11 by the way.