Venue: Peterculter
Date: 7 November
Weather: Windy
Greens: Summer
Mats: No
Preferred Lies: Yes

I couldn?t exactly be considered an eco-warrior. I like cars, I have a patio heater and when I travel down to London I always fly. Despite this I?ve been upset this week by an environmental travesty that?s taken place at Banchory Golf Club.

From the medal tee our 13th hole is the hardest, and probably the best, on the course. It?s nothing like as impressive from the boxes at the bottom of the hill so the club has considered options for improvement. The medal tee is too small to accommodate everyday play but our professional suggested astro-turfing the front section for yellow tees. This seemed a great idea to me but unfortunately it was overlooked. Now a completely new tee is under construction (at great expense) half way up the slope, thereby going half way to improving the hole. Unfortunately this required the felling of three huge old birch trees spoiling not only the view from the medal tee but also that of the 12th green. It?s a great shame.

Like many of the members I?m very good at complaining about things that happen to the course but I never do anything about it. ?Get yourself on the committee,? you say. I know I should but I?m not keen and here?s my rationale: My friend Jim is a committee member, I complain to him about something golf club related roughly three times a week. That?s 156 complaints a year. Multiply that by 700 members and you?re looking at fielding 109,200 complaints per annum. No thanks.

Peterculter was the venue for this week?s Alliance. It?s a course I know quite well and I was quietly confident of a reasonable showing. Relatively strong winds meant playing conditions were tricky and I was reasonably happy with my progress until the 17th hole. I?d been scrambling well (unusual for me) and my score was a respectable +3. With a par five and short par four to finish I felt I could finish strongly. In fact, my finish was about as strong as Softy Walter with the flu.

A good drive down the 17th and the green was in range, I attempted a high fading three wood but produced a low scuttling pull straight out of the heel. Somehow it stayed in bounds but was up against a barbed wire fence in the trees. Foolishly I thought I could extricate myself over a larch towards the green despite being unable to make a proper swing. My lame effort got the result it deserved: a ricochet off said larch and out of bounds. I then did what I should have done the first time and chipped out sideways. A few more blows and I?d racked up an eight. I played the 18th well until the green when I decided to re-enact the Wimbledon men?s final around the hole and four putted for a six. After battling away for three hours I undid my good work all too quickly.

I really need a good score next week but I?m not hopeful as the Alliance heads to Newmachar. Last year my performance there would have been considered excellent if the objective of golf was to get as many balls as possible out of bounds or in ponds.