The weather is beginning to verge on the ridiculous. Opening the curtains this morning I was confronted by yet more rain. The Met Office forecast for today is – Dull and wet; for tonight it’s – further rain, for tomorrow it’s – rain at first then showers (that just means rain all day); for Saturday it’s – Becoming cloudy with rain. Becoming cloudy with rain? Surely there has to be a period of fine weather for it to start becoming cloudy and rainy; for Sunday it’s – sunshine and a few showers. Crikey, break out the picnic hamper and factor-50 sunscreen. Unfortunately the outlook for Monday is back to rain, but with an added bonus – strong to gale force southwesterly winds.
Banchory was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday this week due to the deluge but luckily I was somewhere else – Carton House in County Kildare for the Golf Writers Home Internationals.
Scotland’s team captain Martin Dempster (editor of Bunkered Magazine) was kind enough to ask me to participate in the event and I, of course, jumped at the chance.
Despite the fact torrential rain has hit Ireland over the past week or so, we were lucky and most of the worst weather had passed over the Emerald Isle by the time we arrived on Monday morning.
The competition is a round robin: Scotland were to play Wales on day one, England on day two then the Irish on day three. There are three matches in each contest played to the greensomes format.
When I first heard this I was a little disappointed because I always prefer to play my own ball – particularly at a new course. But, by the end of the three rounds, my initial scepticism was proved to be unfounded. Greensomes is a good tactical format and, after staying in the bar until 3am, not playing every shot is quite a bonus.
Unfortunately, having seen off Wales 2-1 and trouncing the English 3-0, Scotland narrowly lost out to Ireland in the deciding match and finished a plucky, if slightly disappointing, second.
A quick word on Carton House as I thought it was an extremely impressive hotel and resort. The building – a stately home dating to the early 18th Century – is beautiful inside and out; there are two excellent 18-hole layouts, the Montgomerie and the O’Meara, and the food is simply superb. I can see why the International Association of Golf Tour Operators named it European Golf Resort of the Year for 2008.
One further piece of (pretty depressing) competitive action to report on – last Saturday’s RNLI Competition at Banchory. I’m never entirely certain why a club that’s 20 miles from the coast has an event where we donate money to the lifeboats. But, given the current weather, it seemed quite appropriate this year.
My loyal readers will know that I’ve been having some issues recently with my handicap – It keeps going up. That’s annoying enough but the fact I keep missing the buffer zone by only one shot makes it absolutely bloody infuriating. If I tell you I shot a 74 in the RNLI (nett 72 against a css of 68) you’d be justified in thinking I missed the buffer comfortably. But, you’d be wrong. Owing to the fact I made a very ugly eight at the par four eighth, rule 19 kicked in and reduced that to a double bogey six. Therefore my score for handicap was effectively a 72 (nett 70). Yes, that’s right, one shot outside the buffer zone. Ooooh I could crush a grape.