Waking up this morning I realise it’s now exactly one month and one day since I played my last game of golf. I haven’t even been to the range. In fact apart from having a waggle with the clubs we sent out to Golf Monthly’s new reader test panel just before Christmas I have barely touched a club.
Of course this hiatus pales into insignificance compared to the gap between my last blog entry and this one (by the way The Renaissance Club was brilliant for anyone who has been waiting since August 12th for my verdict) but this still amounts to a major break from the game for me.
I’m racking my brain but I’m pretty sure that this is now the the longest I have been without picking up a golf club since I started playing the game seriously.
The reason for the extended absence has as much to do with the weather and time of the year as the fact the last time I played (December 4 on the Old Course at Walton Heath) was easily the worst round I played all year, leaving me thoroughly hacked off with the game.
The trip to Walton had been organised by GM’s course rankings moderator Rob Smith. Rob and I were due to be accompanied by GM reader John Lorimer (one of our senior assessors for the Top 100 course rankings) and would be playing with Simon Chapman, WHGC’s chairman of green. At the last minute John was struck down with the pre-Chistmas lurgi so his place was taken by Neil Tappin, the magazine’s instruction editor.
I went full of confidence having been playing quite well in November but things started off badly at the first where I made a very scabby double bogey. I redeemed myself with a good drive at the 2nd but with 200 plus still to go it was a tough shot. The fact my ball was on a hanging lie with the ball below my feet should have had me reaching for a mid-iron and laying up but stupidly I opted for a hero shot with my 4-wood.
Predictably the ball went pretty much straight right narrowly missing taking out Rob Smith (my playing partner) on the way before nosediving into a load of bracken and general bund. Lost ball.
Successive pulled drives at 3, 4 and 5 meant I was experiencing what equipment editor Jezz Ellwood terms severe urethane depletion (translation: loss of golf balls) and I was nervously asking Neil how many balls he had in his bag.
At the 6th it started raining and by the 8th a weird fog had rolled in across the heath that only really lifted as we got to the 15th.
I proceeded to miserably chop my way round the rest of the course. The only high point was a flop shot over a large tree at the par-3 17th after a tee shot that I pulled 30 yards left of the green. It was probably the best short game shot I have ever hit, getting it up and over the trees and stopping it dead six feet from the cup. The fact I then left the downhill par putt – which was to take the match down the last – on the edge of the hole just about summed it up.
Due to work commitments opportunities for play and even practice in the next two weeks are non-existent but thankfully there is a light at the end of the tunnel. On January 18 (snow permitting) I’ll be teeing it up once again, this time for the inaugural Challenge Golf Monthly match on the Jubilee Course at St Andrews where we’ll be taking on four of the Scottish boys from the GM website forum. I’m officially excited.
That means it’s going to be a long 12 days waiting for the 18th to come around especially as I foolishly decided to give up drinking during January!