My First Birdie – December 2014

It has been a great month of golf – well it has been a great month with lots of golf thrown in.

Mid lesson at Mt Broughton

Mid lesson at Mt Broughton

Going back a couple of weeks, I turned up to Balgowlah Golf Club at 6.30am ready to play and was hoping to join with a group of ladies (I haven’t really golfed with any ladies) but as there had been a massive storm the night before, they didn’t show up. So I decided to play two balls and practice a bunch of things.

That was until I teed off the second hole. I had been careful and knew somewhere in front of me was a solo player but I couldn’t see him or his gear and figured he was off to the third already. I lined up and teed off and was a little horrified to see said solo golfer pop out of the woods to the left with all his gear and watch my ball drop to the ground a couple of metres from him. I didn’t even react enough to yell “fore” although I might have sworn a little bit. Quietly.

I did catch up to him on the third tee and after asking him if he was practicing anything in particular with his golf, I asked if I could play with him. He looked a little startled but agreed just the same. Maybe no one has asked to play with him before. Anyway I introduced myself and we were off chatting down the fairway. Michael is a member at Balgowlah and plays early in the morning before work and goes into the city after peak hour traffic has abated. It was fun playing with someone new. I told him I had just got my handicap and after out driving him on one of the holes he informed me if I continue hitting the ball like that I won’t be on 34 for long.

I love meeting new people and getting to know them and their golf story. While I do like playing on my own with a couple of balls when I want to practice things, I enjoy playing with others – particularly on a course I haven’t played before.

Every round of golf I play I surprise myself with a fantastic shot I was actually trying to do. Slowly I am getting more consistent and only about 30% of the time am I duffing my shot, but even my shit shots are getting better. I drop kick my three wood and it only goes about fifty metres but more importantly it goes straight. I splay my ball ten metres right of the green but when I get up there it is pin high so it is only my alignment that is out. I can work with that.

Spieth putting out and winning the Australian Open

Spieth putting out and winning the Australian Open

I am happy after every round of golf I play regardless of my score – it could be an amazing drive with my six iron, the sweetest three wood onto the green or dropping a five metre putt from just off the green (did that one yesterday). There will be something I take away that makes me smile and look forward to my next round.

After finishing my round with Michael he gave me his number and told me to contact him when I am next in the city. I have done but he had to fly to Melbourne and I plan to contact him again in the new year so I can play with him at Manly where he is also a member.

As I have finally decided to work casually around my golf and not look for a full time job (and I didn’t want the guilt of taking a job and leaving a few months later) I am more relaxed and enjoying whacking balls.

I have one lesson left with Dave and have been told by a few people to not get it yet but just play more, which I am doing.

I got my first golf sponsor – might be Shaun my golf buddy – and it is sponsorship in the form of custom club covers. Kangaroo leather I do believe. I was a little bit excited.

Me and Shaun at Mt Broughton

Me and Shaun at Mt Broughton

The last couple of weeks I have also started reading golf books my first was Preferred Lies : A Journey to the Heart of Scottish Golf by Andrew Greig. “it wasn’t so much that I took up golf again; truth is, it took me up”. That is how I feel. Golf took me up and I am quite enjoying the ride.

I love the community that is golf as a whole. Every single person I have played with or spoken to about golf – shall we call them fellow whackers??? – has been a pleasure to speak with. I love the shared passion but perhaps it is my enthusiasm as I have had a friend thank me for inspiring them to get back out after recounting my adventures on the course and at the Australian Open. Another friend said I inspired him to start his golf tours again. Who doesn’t (or wouldn’t) love a golf tour? My life plan is a continual golf tour.

I played Moss Vale Golf Club with the Pro Rob Kennedy, who I have had the pleasure of knowing since we were about four. We caught up on the last fifteen years while we enjoyed the course. Rob informed me I am ready to start playing comps so before I left I signed up to the ladies comp the following week.

Monday last week I played with Louise (a fellow book lover from my book club) at her course, Pymble Golf Club. Pymble is a beautiful course, very well maintained but a little bit tricky. Some of the undulating greens were just not working for me. I did get my first introduction to calculating Stableford points which was a good start for my comp the following day.

Me and Louise at Pymble

Me and Louise at Pymble Golf Club

Although my irons decided they didn’t want to play with me this week but that’s golf.

I haven’t played golf with many ladies so it was nice to have a week of golf with women. My first golf comp was okay. I didn’t play terribly and while I did a couple of terrible things I also did some pretty damn good things, just not consistently. Was a nice start to playing comp, so much so I booked to play another comp the following day at my course.

Next day I got up early and went to Mt Broughton to get on the range for a bit. Whack some balls and practice a bunch of things. Irons still not playing nicely with me but the club I hated the most in Canada, my three wood, is working very well. The comp at my course was just the four of us and I had the best start ever. First hole, my first birdie!!!!!! I may have done a happy dance, a little one anyway as I didn’t want to frighten the ladies I had only just met.  Five points on my first hole – nearly as many points as I made on nine holes the previous day.

Practice range at Mt Broughton

Practice range at Mt Broughton

I had a couple days of golf free days then played at Antill Park at Picton with Paul, an old friend from high school.  We played “shits and giggles” golf which was a lot of fun.  We astonished ourselves with some amazing shots and laughed and laughed at some of our crazy attempts. I only lost four balls in the water.

With Paul at Antill Park

With Paul at Antill Park

I went into the city for a couple of days and went on a run stopping and watching people tee off on a nearby course. I might have been squatting and peeping through the bushes to watch a foursome tee off and when I was caught by one of them, I broke into a grin and ran off. My running buddy laughed at me but I informed him the golfers would understand, would have noticed my Callaway hat and clearly know that I am a fellow golfer. Perhaps a little creepy but a fellow golfer just the same.

“I can actually play golf if only in flashes”

The only golfing injury I got this week was matching bruises on both shins as I somehow managed to whack first one then the other, walking with a club in each hand. Don’t ask me how but ooh did it hurt.

Going back to Andrew Greig and his wonderful book. Not only do I want to play at Shiskine Golf Club following his description of the course but he just seems to get it. “….. the sun is full on my face, and I’m outrageously and unreservedly happy”. This is exactly how I feel when I am on any course.

Maybe it is me that just gets it.

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