Loyal readers of this website will know I was down at Carnoustie for most of last week so I haven?t had a chance to play much golf. I did, however, get a game with the Golf Monthly team at Panmure on Tuesday. While there I was able to answer a question I?ve been pondering recently: Can I view a golf course objectively when I play it badly?

The GM team (me, Mike, Jezz and Neil) went to Panmure with a view towards Golf Monthly?s next top 120 course rankings. So we all had our professional hats on as we considered the quality of the test, the setting and the condition of the greens and fairways. Midway down the second it was difficult to concentrate on anything but the rank standard of golf we were producing. This is how the hole panned out for each of us: I hit out of bounds from the tee then sliced my fourth shot from the fairway into the trees. The ball was lost so I picked up. Mike was also out of bounds from the tee. He topped his fourth shot, found thick rough with his fifth, was through the green with his sixth and got up and down for eight. Neil could have done with reading one of his instructional pieces on escaping from heavy rough. The strategy most teachers would advocate is: take your medicine and hack out to the fairway with a wedge. Neil opted for the less favoured method of attempting to bludgeon it straight at the hole with a long iron: not very successful. He too made an eight. Despite topping the ball twice Jezz won the hole with a seven.

The others improved as the game went on but I continued to lose balls and generally play more like a 22 than a 2 handicapper. Despite the abhorrent quality of my golf I was still able to appreciate the very high quality of golf course I was playing it on. That is not to say I enjoyed the round. It?s impossible to enjoy doing anything that badly. But, when we considered the round in the clubhouse, I was able to view the golf course and my performance completely separately. I was quite pleased.

To prove my objectivity I?ve given a short assessment of both the course and my game below:

Panmure was in excellent condition. The layout features many interesting and unique golf holes. It?s an excellent test demanding creative shot making and accurate hitting. This is a great example of a links golf course.

Fergus?s golf was in very poor condition. His swing features many flaws and his psychological approach is uniquely inadequate. His shot making was one-dimensional and his hitting woefully inaccurate. This is a bad example of a links golfer.