It is a gorgeous Saturday morning and while a perfect golf day, today I will just enjoy the sun without a golf club in my hands.
Another month has rolled on by which I have filled with lots of fantastic things but golf is still my favourite. I have played at Mt Brougton, Mollymook Beachside (I wanted to play the Hilltop course but didn’t think I could take the crew I had with me there), Gungahlin Lakes, Woollahra, and Manly.
The week before Christmas I played at my course, Mt Broughton, with my brother in law, Cookie. For someone who hasn’t picked up a club in three years I was very impressed. His handicap used to be around 10 and he pretty much played to that. I had lost a couple of balls, well four actually, in the water when I played at Antill Park and didn’t want to lose anymore so when I splayed a drive to the right in the long grass near the railway lines, I was going to find it. Snakes be damned.
I did wiggle my club around a bit in the snaky grass to scare them away or notify them of my arrival perhaps, but I was determined to find my ball. I found seven and Cookie found five, one being my ball. I then crawled further into the grass, I have no idea why, and followed a bit of an animal burrow – (wombat maybe?) looking for more balls. I found quite a cache, fifteen in one little spot. Now I was on a treasure hunt as there is something a bit exciting about finding them. Is it a throwback to an easter egg hunt as a child?
Well Cookie and I were digging around the long snaky grass for about twenty minutes, had waved a duo through and ended up with seventy balls. Go me! As Cookie said he only needs one ball to play so they were all mine. Clearly I take risks, give everything a go and don’t care if I lose a ball or four. By the end of our round I had an additional 102 balls, a wee bit of cleaning needed but I was very happy I didn’t need to buy anymore considering I was not working, just golfing and spending my savings.
I had a few weeks where my irons just didn’t want to play with me. I couldn’t get a good connection on any of them and thought I am just not using them enough. Mt Broughton is a very long course and my long game is not bad but I don’t really have much need of my irons there. I have decided that next week when I go for a four hour practice session, I will then go out and play two balls for nine holes using nothing but my irons which should help quite a bit. I do need practice teeing off with my irons too as I had a couple of instances at Manly and Woollahra where this was needed and one was ok but the other was terrible.
You always have another shot in golf and I can usually work with the shots I make but if I can eliminate some of my more abysmal shots, I will be quite happy. And that will come with more practice. The more I play the better I will become. That said my shit shots are getting better and there is nothing nicer that drop kicking a shot or duffing it completely and watching it go straight down the fairway. Hey it might not go too far but I can work with that.
I went down the Australian coast over the New Year period and got up at near six every morning for a run. Many a morning would I see golfers heading off for a round and I told them I was a little jealous. I enjoyed one foursome’s look of surprise when I told them to “whack well my friends” before running off down the road.
I don’t know what it is but there is something about the click of the clubs in the bag that turns me on a little bit.
I really wanted to play the championship course at Mollymook but after I considered who I was playing with, felt that not be the best idea. Jack was a total beginner and Sheldon and Zac were more hacker than I. Hey one of the guys (Sheldon – insert awkward cough) wasn’t even filling his divots and didn’t seem care (I followed with my little bucket of sand filling his holes) and so would not be welcome on a championship course. Ah Mollymook another time for sure.
I was in the need of a golf bag but didn’t want to by another new one. I have a great one in Canada, but have been using my hard travel case for the last three months and it is getting quite trashed so I was quite happy to walk past an op shop and find an old set of clubs sitting out the front complete with a cart. Can’t go past twenty bucks and I just love the old timber drivers.
It was a beautiful drive to Canberra to play with Caleb at Gungahlin Lakes. Caleb is scratch and Gungahlin is a great track. I meet so many fantastic people golfing and I am unreservedly happy on a course regardless of how I am hitting the ball – I can do naught but smile.
Caleb described Gungahlin Lakes as a “risk/reward” course as there is quite a bit of water and really you just go for it. I had nothing to lose (well 102 balls now so who cares) and am pleased to say I only lost two balls in the water all day. I give everything a good nudge and just hope for the best. All I can do really.
This week and I drove to Sydney to play with Sylv, the volunteer I met at the Australian Open a month or so back. He is a member at Woollahra and has organized a bit of a competition on Australia Day which I will be playing in a couple of weeks. He was planning on putting me in his group as I don’t know anyone else that is playing – until he golfed with me that is. We both agreed he could put me in any group as I am not shy and would be chatting away making friends no problem. I played reasonably well, and got two pars – I am always happy to get pars – who isn’t??? I still did some very ordinary things but that’s golf!
A couple days later and I was off to Manly with Michael. I met Michael a few weeks before Christmas at Balgowlah (I might have nearly hit him with a ball and I did invite myself to play the rest of the round with him). He is a member at Manly and I might have just invited myself to play with him there too. Manly is a gorgeous course but feels like two courses in one. It is rated in Australia’s top 100 golf courses (2014) and the course was redesigned in 2012 by a bunker lover clearly. I love the native plants and the seamless incorporation of the natural waterways. The first hole is in front of the clubhouse then you cross under the road and play the next eight holes then cross back under the road for the back nine. While I didn’t play great I did do an awesome drive and the best seven iron shot I have ever done.
Every round I play there is always “that” shot, the one that keeps you coming back for more. I might not be consistent but I love it and I do have a golf game in me somewhere.