Last night I made the journey to Aberdeen to see the new Bond film. It was a stressful trip for a few reasons.
Firstly I was gatecrashing a girls’ night out. Jessie (wife) had organised the evening a little while ago with a couple of her friends from antenatal days. When she told me on Monday evening, I reacted in a typically childish way.
“Oh right, ok then.” I said with more than a hint of disappointment in my voice.
“What’s wrong? Am I not allowed to go and have a nice time with my friends?”
“No, no, of course you are,” I continued sadly. “It’s just that I… I really wanted to see it too. It would have been nice to go together.”
If you prick me, do I not bleed?
“Well, why don’t you come too? We could get your mum to babysit.”
Victory. But, considering it a little further I began to wonder if, for the sake of winning a very minor marital battle, I’d sacrificed too much. Could I really sit at the end of a row while the girls simpered over Daniel Craig and still properly enjoy the explosions and fighting?
The other issue was that: I really hate the cinema. In fact, the last time I’d been into town to the flicks had been to see Casino Royale in 2006.
I struggle with all the people, the cramped seats, the over-priced sweeties, the smell of popcorn, too many people having an obviously good time, people coughing on me, people getting up to go to the loo every three minutes, the rustling of chocolate wrappers, oh yes, and all the people.
Still, I got through it and the film was highly entertaining, as you would expect. The girls didn’t seem to mind me tagging along (although they probably had to tone-down their conversation about Daniel Craig’s torso in the car on the way home,) and I left thinking it had been good to see Bond on the big screen again.
The film did lift my mood, but there was a problem. Earlier in the day I had endured yet another NR in the Winter Alliance. My Alliance season has been utterly dismal so far. I’ve NR’d more times than I’ve posted a score and I’m becoming thoroughly demoralised with my game.
As I sat through the thrilling scenes of violence, seduction, death and destruction, I couldn’t stop thinking about my golf. In the opening sequence of Skyfall, (I’m not spoiling it because I’d already seen it in a trailer,) Bond chases a baddie, both on motorbikes, over the rooftops of Istanbul. At one point, they’re flying down opposite buildings along metre wide strips. It looked incredibly perilous and unsteady: just like my game.
Yes, my rounds of golf at the moment are similar to Bond’s crazy ridge-ride: They’re completely on a knife-edge and one bad movement can lead to complete disaster and destruction.
Even when I’m seemingly playing well I’m actually clinging on precariously, like a climber to the North Face of the Eiger. To the untrained eye, I might be making pars and even the occasional birdie, but internally I’m living in fear, fully aware that total collapse is possible on each and every shot.
It’s with the driver that most of my rounds have gone west in the Alliance this year. I’ll manage to keep prodding it down into reasonably playable spots for 10 or 12 holes, but it won’t be going straight and I won’t be sure if it’s heading left or right.
Then the self-doubt will get to me properly and I’ll lash one wildly into the gorse or out-of-bounds. That one bad shot is all it takes. I’ll be totally unravelled after it, and all shreds of self-confidence will be gone. I’ll then spray a few more into the thick rough or trees, onto the beach or into housing estates before I admit the game is up and ask my playing partner to write those two horrible letters on my scorecard.
It doesn’t help that my playing partner in the last three Alliances, the man who writes those letters, has been Tartan Tour No. 1 Greig Hutcheon. Compared to my three NR’s, he’s fired: four-under, six-under and another four-under. He’s 14-under-par for those rounds and I reckon, if I’d kept playing rather than waving the white flag, I’d be, roughly, 60 shots worse.
To be honest, I’ve been living a vicarious golfing life in the Alliance over the last month. Back at Banchory GC on Wednesday evenings, people now don’t even bother to ask how I got on. Frankly, there’s no point. So I just relay how good Greig was and enjoy his success second-hand.
But, just like Bond, I believe in resurrection and I’m confident I can haul myself back from the abyss. I’m going to play a few holes this afternoon and try to salvage what’s left from the wreckage.
Maybe I need to go and watch some feel-good, rom-com at the cinema so I can relate my golf game to something warm, fuzzy and cuddly. I’ll see what the girls are doing next week.