Two days ago I woke to a glorious sight – grass. The snow that’s been plaguing the north east for the last three weeks finally abated meaning we could all begin to get back to normality. For normality read golf.
Yesterday’s Alliance was at Murcar Links, (I have to give the course its full title because I was criticised by a member for referring to it as merely “Murcar” in a recent article.) Anyway, my hopes weren’t particularly high for Murcar (Links) as, before this week, I hadn’t lifted a club for over 20 days.
It’s a cliché, but I’ve often heard and read that sometimes a break from golf can reset your game in a positive way. You forget all the ludicrous technical tweaks you’d been attempting to work into your swing and get back to playing naturally.
The cliché proved to be quite accurate for me yesterday. After a slowish start including a double bogey at the second (ball in bush plus missed two-footer,) I began to hit the ball rather nicely. From the sixth hole onwards I played regulation golf, finding fairways and greens. In fact, on the back nine I found every green in regulation – often in quite close proximity to the pin. Unfortunately I two-putted every single one as countless birdie chances went west.
It’s strange how easy it is to miss six and seven foot birdie putts. If those putts I had on the back nine yesterday had been to save par, I’m certain I would have canned a few of them. But, when the back of your mind is telling you that a two-putt for par would be quite acceptable, tiny synapses send a subconscious message to your arms and hands to do whatever it takes to leave the ball in the jaws or prod it just past the lip.
Had I managed to bag a couple of putts on the run for home I could have won the event. As it was, I ended the round with a 73 in a tie for second place, (the winner scored 71.) I’m not complaining. I’m actually fairly delighted finishing tied second. On the first tee my main objective was simply finishing.
Something else I think helped me yesterday was my group. Stewart has been working at Glenshee ski centre while the snow has been making golfer’s lives difficult and none of our other regular partners were around. So I made up a three ball with two chaps I didn’t know – Steven and Arthur.
When I play with people I don’t know I always want to put on a decent showing. Yes, it’s because I’m vain. If I’d been playing with big Stu, my round may have gone in a very different direction when I was four over through five holes. I would probably have given up and let things slide further – cursing and moaning all the way. But, yesterday my pride forced me to grind it out, stay positive and reclaim a little fame.
I’m going to try and take the mentality I had in yesterday’s game to Duff House Royal next week. Stewart should be back, but on the first tee I’m going to pretend I’ve never met him – shake his hand and exchange pleasantries about the weather, what club he comes from and who he thinks might win the Accenture Matchplay.