Venue: Insch
Date: 17 October
Weather: Windy, cold, one solitary squall
Greens: Summer
Mats: No
Preferred Lies: No ? but ground was very muddy

On the drive towards Insch Golf Club yesterday I spotted a lone magpie. I?m not normally a superstitious person but, for some reason, I knew this famous portent of bad fortune would apply.

My fears began to be realised upon our arrival in the town of Insch. There?s one “Golf Club” sign just beyond the railway line pointing towards the town centre. We drove right through the town and out the other side, no golf club sighted. We swung round and back into town where we turned right into a housing estate, still no golf club. Then we spotted golfers and thought we?d cracked it. No, we still couldn?t find the golf club. I then attempted a U-turn in someone?s drive and scraped the front left side of my car on their wall. At this point I was becoming more than a little upset.

We then had to resort to one of the most humiliating things men in cars ever face. We asked for directions. Eventually, through a labyrinth of houses, we found our destination. But the ordeal wasn?t over. The car park was full to the brim, not even a cheeky space on a verge or by the bins. ?There?s an overflow car park round the corner.? A fellow competitor advised us. ?Thanks,? I replied through grated teeth. I think at this point Stewart would have liked to exit the car to avoid being scalded by the steam spouting from my ears.

A few more wrong turns and we located the overflow car park in the middle of a children?s playground. After inspecting the damage to the car, I stomped to the first tee in a dismal frame of mind. My mood was not improved by the sight of internal out of bounds to the left of the fairway. Those perseverant few who read this weekly rant will know internal OB is one of my many nemeses. I disapprove of it so virulently that I have to hit over the white stakes every time I see it just so I can complain about it?s ridiculousness back in the clubhouse.

So, of course, I was OB with my first tee shot. My second ball found the fairway but my fourth shot went into a stream, my sixth reached the green and my seventh, eighth and ninth took place on the green. A quintuple bogey and my round was over almost before it had begun. I then had to endure four hours of the most shocking golf I?ve played for a few years. I was out of bounds twice more, in another two streams and generally racking up big scores faster than Andrew Symonds in a bad mood. On one short par four I hit seven-iron off the tee then sand wedge, sand wedge, sand wedge en-route to a six. I finished the round with a calculator-busting 83.

To cap off the bad day I got home in time to watch a lacklustre Scotland lose 2-0 to Georgia. What happened to the solid goal-scoring machine that beat Ukraine 3-1 on Saturday?

I?ve heard golfing sages say you should take something out of every round. It was difficult with this one but I guess I?ve got this. If I play with a negative approach, truly believing each hole will bring another disaster, it most probably will. My brain will override my body to make sure I pull it into that pond or push it past the right edge on that potentially par saving three footer. I must keep trying no matter what. Remember Fergus: you?re a gritty competitor.