My second day of work experience at Golf Monthly was suddenly thrown into chaos during the lunch break with an invitation to the staff golf day on Friday. Naturally I seized upon the offer to take to the tee against some of the office high fliers and the chance to spend the day on the other side of the office window. Equipment editor Jezz Ellwood assumed the role of favourite and offered a wooden spoon – which I?m assuming he had found in the canteen as opposed to having brought it in from home ? to the rest of us at the table. It then struck me that the last time I successfully completed 18 holes, Phil Mickelson had only just triumphed for the second time in Augusta. Bear in mind though that successfully completing 18 holes in my book means simply that I have just enough balls left in my bag to finish the round.
In what is the only way to avoid humiliation, I will have to switch from my usual tactic of using my one wood at every single opportunity and whacking the ball as hard as I possibly can, to the tactic adopted by the over 95?s at my local club. I?m not talking about the cunning ploy of wearing out your opponents by taking 45 minutes per hole, but the percentage play of easing the ball along the fairway with a seven iron. This should hopefully ensure the number of search parties sent out into the woods are kept to a minimum ? leaving me to focus on another of my weaknesses ? putting.
Any putt where the distance to the pin stretches into double figures is an immediate write off and forces me to rely on my secret weapon that I like to call Fred?s Fluke. Fred?s Fluke unfortunately more often than not turns into Fred?s Five-putt-Finish, much to the delight of my opponents. The pair following up behind tend to find this rather irritating. Holing a fifteen footer usually needs more attempts than it takes to finish of a leg of darts with a double 16.
Yet a look at Daniel Vancsik?s scorecard at the Madrid Open filled me with hope. A quadruple bogey on the 5th hole ended his title dreams but reminded me that even the best of us ? I say ?us? but really mean ?them?- can have an off hole or two?or eighteen. I will take inspiration from England?s success over in France; every underdog has its day.
So come Friday, I will plead for matchplay, hope that Fred?s Fluke comes off on the first hole, and pray for the rains.