My last piece on this website received an unprecedented number of comments – four, (including one by me.) Feeling slightly bashful about this recent interest in my writing, I’ve decided to re-focus on something very few people are interested in – me.
I haven’t blogged for the last couple of weeks partly because I’ve been basking in the glory of the fact that, definitely, no less than three people read my last entry, and partly because I’ve had a pretty full golfing schedule.
The week before last, I competed in the scractch Alliance foursomes championships at Murcar Links. I partnered Michele Thomson – a fantastic young player who recently turned professional and will be playing 20 events on this year’s Ladies European Tour. To say the least, I was nervous not to let Michele down and, for one round, I managed not to.
We faced a strong pairing in the first round – a +2 handicapper and a Tartan Tour professional. If I’m perfectly honest, I didn’t fancy our chances. But, we coped admirably with the windy conditions and fast-running greens to win the match by 5&4. Our success was largely down to Michele’s consistent ball-striking and solid putting.
If I could drive the ball as straight as Michele I’d save myself a hell of a lot of money in replacement pro V1s and, if I could hole half the number of five and six footers, I’d be playing off scratch. Unfortunately I can’t.
In round two we came up against Chris Robb – one of Scotland’s best young amateurs and Ross Cameron – a successful touring pro. Playing in winds that were holding aircraft on the tarmac at the nearby airport, Michele and I (mainly I) couldn’t re-create the golf that had seen us through round one and we lost by 4&3.
I was back at Murcar Links this week as part of a press trip organised by Visit Scotland. Generally press trips for me are logistically tricky, they tend to leave from London so I have to travel there before embarking on the trip proper. So, this week’s short commute made a very pleasant change.
We played three of Aberdeenshire’s best courses – Cruden Bay, Murcar Links and Royal Aberdeen. As an Aberdonian, I was nervous the other journalists should be impressed by the best my region has to offer. I think impressed would be a fair expression of the general consensus.
With the sun beating down on the rolling sand dunes and sending a sparkling shimmer across the sprawling beach, Cruden Bay was at its most beautiful. Murcar Links was is in fabulous condition, the greens smooth as silk and the recently renovated bunkers absolutely immaculate. And, even a freezing sea haar couldn’t detract from the wonderful test posed by Royal Aberdeen. The front nine delivers one of the finest stretches of links holes in the country and the back nine is a brutal challenge when the wind is against, as it was for us.
I promised Helena at Visit Scotland to get this in so here it is – visitscotland.com/perfectgolf
Yesterday was the first Medal of the year at Banchory. I should have been delighted with my one under par 68, but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed when I walked off the 18th green. After any round I can’t avoid torturing myself by totting up the number of shots I could/should have knocked off my score – find me a golfer who doesn’t. But, I really should have had four or five less yesterday.
Putting was the culprit again. Too many efforts grazed the edge of the cup without dropping and more than one three footer went begging. It was a promising start though and surely the dawn of a stellar year. Yeah right.