Scotland, Here I come – April 2015

I have played a little bit of golf in the last month – sixteen rounds at eight different courses. I have now been playing for nine months and what can I say? The addiction has not ceased.

I went to the range at Mt Broughton with a bucket of balls to practice teeing off with my hybrid and 3W, and besides failing that I also couldn’t really connect with any of my irons. So much for practice.

Train cruising past at Mt Broughton

Train cruising past at Mt Broughton

I then went and played the back nine with Craig and played the best nine holes of my life getting 26 Stableford points. Go figure. Golf is a strange game but I love it.

I wanted to complete the card so I could reduce my handicap and after having a lesson, was then stormed off the front nine having only played six holes. I was playing with the pro, Dave and had 39 points without playing three holes, he advised to return the following day and complete the three holes and put the card in.

I finished up with 44 points and I must admit, I was delighted.

It was a wet, windy day that I played the last three holes and I should thank Craig for coming out to mark my card. It was pretty terrible out there but I am heading to Scotland in three weeks so playing in cold rain may well be good practice.

I have not been to Scotland before and am enjoying planning my trip. I have lined up to play eight golf courses from east to west and am also going to see some local food producers while I am there. I love food and golf so why not tie them in together with my visit.

Early start heading to Shell Cove for a comp

Early start heading to Shell Cove for a comp

I played another comp at Shell Cove. I love it down there and the ladies are so very welcoming.

I met Chris the day I played at Monash and we arranged to play his home track, Camden Golf Course. I was doing some very ordinary things with my irons and was all out of whack after having a lesson and Dave telling me I needed to stand closer to the ball.

It worked amazingly on the range but the first course I played following that lesson was at Gibraltar where the ball is either above or below your feet and I just couldn’t get my irons working for me. My 3w and my hybrids were my good friends that day so at least I could hit something well.

As six of the courses I have played in the last month have been cored and sanded I am assuming it is the time of year for it. Being nine months in to playing golf, I actually have no idea if this is done numerous times throughout the year or just the once and added to that, half my golf was played in Canada and half has been in Australia so I really have no idea but I am learning all the time.

Regardless, adjusting to newly sanded greens takes a couple of holes. Camden was my first experience of putting on sandy greens and it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t play great as my irons weren’t very friendly but I did play the 18th the best and how can you not be happy when that happens?

Teeing off at Camden

Teeing off at Camden

I enjoyed playing with Chris but might have got more excited when he introduced me to Paul, the caretaker of Studley Park House, which is in the middle of Camden Golf Course. I toured Paul’s workspace and had workshop envy. I would love to have the tools and materials he has in his buildings. The time to work on everything would be great too – most of my time is spent golfing.

The next day I was off to play at Wakehurst with Jeremy, one of my twitter followers and owner of Connect Golf. Wakehurst is a gem hidden on the Northern Beaches and while it is a challenging track was so much fun to play. How can you not have fun golfing?

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Sharing the putting green at Wakehurst with a water dragon

I was putting really well and dropping some very long putts – it might have taken me five shots to get to the green though so I didn’t really score too well. While I had some fantastic shots with lots of ordinary thrown in, I did the same thing at Wakehurst and played the 18th best.

I am always happy golfing so wasn’t disheartened and Jeremy played really well so I did get to see some good golf, just not from my club.

I seem to be a bit of a golf whisperer as the first time I play with someone new they play really well. Perhaps my continual chat and laughter distracts them from their usual game. That is pretty much what Jeremy informed me anyway.

The following day I was off to play with my mate Sylv again at Woollahra and I played the best hole of my life to date on the 8th. I nailed a drive twenty metres longer than I have ever hit a ball then followed that up with a 3w straight to the pin.

Sylv heard my shot and we both watched it run on to the green, stopping inches from the pin. I did a happy dance on the fairway, got a high five from Sylv and took a photo of my best hole ever.

On for two just like a real golfer.

On for two just like a real golfer.

I was on for two just like a real golfer. Great birdie,  I still smile thinking about it now.

Following day I was back to Mt Broughton and played a round with Frank and Mike. I really struggled to get out of the bunkers. Usually (thanks to watching Seve online) I can get out pretty easily but not this day. I might look ugly getting the ball out but the operative is getting the ball out. I don’t really care if I don’t look like I am doing it properly. The result is what matters but this day I was playing in the sand way too long.

I returned to Mt Broughton the following day and played a round with Craig. The greens had been sanded and there were no holes so we played “front, back and middle” then played Ghost Golf hitting the ball all over the course. It is a rare day we can do this when no one else is out there and it is a bit of a treat. We also had the pleasure of a mob of kangaroos for company.

Some of the mob hanging around that day.

Some of the mob hanging around that day.

The next day, Jeremy from Connect Golf asked if I would like to play at a golf day at Manly.

Of course I would.

I was very happy on arrival to learn we were playing a four person Ambrose event. Craig, Janus and Marcus were on my team and it was so much fun. We had a good laugh and I was putting pretty well (if I do say so myself).

Marcus and I were sharing a cart and we mastered the running entry and exit of the cart – we were only trying to speed up the round as we had spent a bit of time waiting for players in front.

I lined up my nine iron and miss hit sending it two metres to the right. I burst out laughing and picked up my ball. Janus admitted if that was him he would be swearing and probably hitting his club on the ground. I know what I can do and what I am trying to do and when it all comes together fantastic, when it doesn’t I can only laugh. What can I say I am a happy golfer?

Craig gave me a wonderful compliment and said I was hitting the ball better that he had seen some others hit who have been playing for twenty years. He also told me I should play a round with him at St Michaels which I plan to do before I head to Scotland.

I headed back to Woollahra for the Friday night nine hole comp and played with Roz and Collette. Finished with a par. Not bad at all.

With Roz at Woollahra

With Roz at Woollahra

I am beginning to lose some of my wayward shots, my club selection is getting better and while my alignment may be off I am pin high more often than not. Got to be happy with that.

I enjoyed dinner at Woollahra Golf Course that night with Roz, Ray, Kay, Jackie and Mike. Dinner was delicious and as I didn’t eat the sweet offering they had for dessert the kitchen very kindly made me a small fruit plate.

Jackie asked me if I wanted to play an end of month comp on the Sunday and as I was only going to be heading back to the Southern Highlands why not have another round before I leave?

It was a 4bbb and Individual Stableford and I was confused as to why my handicap had gone up when I had played reasonably well on the Friday. Oh well play to what is printed on the card I guess. I was partners with Natasha and we did alright. I did leave a bunch of balls marked with green spiders in various places around the course that day.

I just checked my handicap online and it said 34.6, a little worse than my starting handicap. How? I was sure I was actually getting better then I noticed an entry error and phoned Heath at Mt Broughton who corrected it for me. My current handicap is 30.9 and I am a very happy girl.

A tree I like at Mt Broughton

A tree I like at Mt Broughton

Tuesday I headed to Moss Vale and played the comp there. It was a 4bbb and Anne was my partner and we played with Christine and Nellie. Nellie was amazing. Hitting the ball with precision constantly. Her chipping game is fantastic. She is a member at Marrickville and the course there is good for your short game. I hope I can have a short game like that eventually. It was lovely to watch.

I have spent a lot of time planning my trip to the UK and am starting to get quite excited. I am also very excited to be going home to PEI and can only hope the snow melts well before I return and I can be golfing as soon as I get there.

I will be working at the golf resort once I get to PEI but right now I get to golf and travel and eat and write and play.

How can I be anything but happy???

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