Martin Bedborough (HomerJSimpson)
Aged 41
Job: Recruitment administrator for Royal Berkshire Hospital Foundation Trust
Member Royal Ascot Golf Club
Years playing golf: 29

30th August
Putt One Miss One

I’ve been having lessons with Grant Naylor, a teaching professional at Blue Mountain Golf Centre throughout the summer and he has completely remodelled my swing. As a result my handicap has dropped from 20 to 15 in three months. So far so good. The problem is I am still averaging 35 putts per round. Time for a putting lesson.

I hit 15 foot putts (inevitably draining several) and feel pleased with myself but Grant tells me he wants to change my grip, stance and alignment. So not too much wrong with the technique then! I have a new grip to prevent a dominant left hand. My stance is widened and my shoulders aligned squarely. To finish, my head is moved forward so my eye line is over the ball. Feel and a solid strike are initial issues as the changes feel so alien compared with my grooved old ways. Patience pays off and by the end I’m holing tricky 5 footers with ease. A bit more practice needed though before I take it to the heat of battle.

September 2nd
Monthly Stableford
In the mood

Invigorated by a good range session the day before I hope my recent slump in form is over. A topped tee shot on the 1st proves otherwise. A mediocre start is punctuated by a birdie 3 on the 7th (Stroke index 2) and a chip in at the next. Out in 18 points.

The back nine is far more consistent. There is plenty of solid iron play particularly on approach shots. A good sand save on 10 and an up and down on 14 kept the scoreboard ticking but I still have to play sixteen, a par 4, (index 3) and my nemesis. Another six!!. Two balls sliced out of bounds on 18th tee finish the round as it had started. Finish on 36 points. New handicap is 15.4.

The path between thought and deed is indeed fraught.

September 15th
Practice makes perfect

A final trip to the range before tomorrows Club Championship to work on my game and try and hone the swing changes implemented over the past few months (still a big mental problem especially in medal competitions). Hit the ball very solidly and my new putting technique is developing well. Confident of a strong showing for the handicap prize

September 16th
Club Championship
Its as easy as 1,2,3….

…. Bogey, double, triple that is. Three holes played and six over par. A shocking start for no apparent reason (apart from hitting the ball too many times!) set the tone for a dismal round (an 11 over net 81). My timing is out, my mind wandering, and the thought of another 18 holes after lunch not an enticing prospect.

Sadly my day continues to fall apart in disarray as tiredness and frustration set in and a second round gross 101 (nett 85) tells its own story. No highlights and not one to remember. New handicap 15.6 so at least I get a shot back.

September 23rd
Monthly Medal
Bring it on!

A chance to redeem myself after the ignominy of last week. An indifferent front nine with some good solid pars is spoilt by double bogies on 8 and 9. Then from nowhere I begin to hit perfect tee shots and crisp approaches. The sun is shining the course is looking magnificent. From nowhere a run of form sees me play the first six holes of the back nine 2 over par gross. I run out of steam a little as I begin to sniff the winners circle but finish with a nett 68 (2 under) and a 4th place finish in my division. Handicap cut and now down to 15.0.

I feel there is a score in there just dying to burst out. Maybe next week!!

September 30th
The Masters -36 Holes Medal
Another hard slog

The Masters is an invite only 36 hole medal event for winners of club competitions over the previous twelve months. I qualified after winning the July medal and August stableford. A rich vein of form I’m hoping to rekindle!

I’m feeling good and ready to shoot low. Things are going well and a steady first round develops. Mistakes are few and I’m striking the ball well. I come to the 18th needing a par 5 for a nett 71 to be in contention at half-time. From nowhere I top my drive. Lost ball. Reload. Same shot, same result. One putt but finish with a sorry 9.

The damage has been done. Confidence is severely dented and as the second round gets under way my swing is falling apart under the examination. It is golf by numbers as I struggle to hold onto the remnants of a repetitive action but somehow I contrive to get it round in a nett level par 70 (gross 85). A long way off top spot but I finish with a respectable top 10 finish with a nett 145 (+5). New handicap 15.1

And there you have it, my golfing diary. It promised much and yet I failed to deliver. To be honest I fell short of my expectations but I know this fickle mistress we call golf will call me back to do her bidding and I will gladly to do so. In this game there is always a next week!