Club de Golf Barcelona – January 2016 Yesterday I had my first taste of golf in Spain and I was not disappointed. Then again I am never disappointed if I am golfing.
I was early as per usual but after hiring a car (and getting used to being on the right side of the road and the left hand side of the car) I felt it wise to give myself a little extra time. I was following the GPS on my phone and had no problem getting there.
I met with member Michael Robson, an Englishman who has lived in Spain for the past twelve years. I met Michael in the pro shop and when I was given a key to my cart I was a little confused as he told the lady he already had a key. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw I was going to be buzzing around the course on an electric scooter. I have never sat on one and to be honest felt like a senior citizen that I see cruising the streets, but it was quite fun.
We went to the putting green to have a putt before we teed off. I dropped some amazing long putts or left them within inches of the hole and Michael voiced his wonder at my putting and asked if I have had lessons. I concurred however I even surprised myself with some of my practice putts.
Let’s see if I could do that on the course.
We headed to the first tee and said hello to a couple of gentlemen coming off the 18th. I am loathe to say I do not recall their names as it turned out they were joining us for the first nine holes and I didn’t want to ask again as they had just introduced themselves.
I filmed a little bit while they teed off and then I hit my ball from the ladies tees. My first ball went left and ended up under a shrub. They told me to pull it out but I don’t like taking a drop so I punched it back on to the fairway with my seven iron.
I hadn’t played for a couple of weeks, since I was in Abu Dhabi, so it was great to be out hitting balls again. I had done a little swing practice but not actually hitting balls.
I always take a couple of holes to get back into the rhythm and six seemed to be my number on the front nine.
Being winter the course is a little dry in some places but the greens are in good condition and the fairways have a good run. There are so many challenges and changes of elevation, I agreed with Michael who wondered who would ever look at this land and say “I’m building a golf course there”?
It is a great track that challenges all golfers and yet even with my 26 handicap I could do some great things and was not intimidated by any of the holes.
I did hit some fantastic golf shots on the front nine. I have been drop kicking my 3 wood lately but yesterday it just worked. Ignoring the one drop kick I did with it, I hit shot after shot with fantastic connection and then the best 3 wood I have ever hit which rewarded me with a fist pump from one of the Spanish gentlemen.
I always take food golfing and yesterday I had banana oatmeal slice and a big bag of fruit and nut mix and shared my food, much to the delight of my playing partners.
After nailing my drive down the seventh I had both Spaniards re confirm that I had actually only been golfing for eighteen months. I know I have a golf game in me and can do some amazing things with my clubs but it is nice to have golfers comment on my game.
On the ninth I had a chip shot which I was going to chip and run with my 8 iron (which I have done with success in the past) but my fist pumping partner (who has a handicap of three) had other plans. He grabbed what he thought was my pitching wedge (it was Michael’s who is a goofy footer) and after I ran back and got mine he demonstrated what he wanted me to do. I did a couple of practices until he nodded his assent and I chipped to with three feet.
I earned myself another fist pump.
The Spaniards then left and Michael and I headed off to the 10th.
I nailed my drive into the wind down the tenth and I was so excited as I got down there realizing I had just whacked it 200 metres. My best ever drive before that was 200 yards. I then nailed every ball I hit and Michael applauded my 9 iron onto the green which left me with a near 20 foot putt to make par.
Make par I did and I let out a whoop of delight. Michael couldn’t believe I dropped the putt but it was like a line had been drawn on the green and as I stepped up to it, I knew it was going in.
I then seemed to really come on hitting some great balls. Michael was filming my swing as I teed off the 13th, slightly drop kicking the ball. It went straight down the fairway but when we got down the fairway we couldn’t find it. Michael had hit a preliminary ball and we found both of his but couldn’t see mine. Michael then pointed to a ball further down the fairway and I said it can’t possibly be mine down.
I was beside myself with delight spotting the green spider and the 200 metre marker and noting I had just whacked the ball 225 metres.
On the 13th, I ended up at the rear edge in the bunker behind the green with one foot in, one foot out and yet did exactly what I wanted, popping the ball up and out within four feet of the pin. Awesome bunker shot I was rewarded with another golf clap from Michael and I was very happy with my bogie.
On the 17th, I was off the fairway and Michael suggested just doing the smart thing and putting the ball back onto the fairway and not going for the green. Then he looked at me and said I know you will go for the green. I lined up, let fly and burst into laughter. We both did. I had topped the ball and it shot off at knee height straight ahead into a large drainage pipe running beside and under the course.
There is no way I could have hit that shot if I tried a thousand times and as neither of us wanted to even attempt looking for it, I dropped a ball then hit an amazing shot landing 30 metres out.
I still have bad shots (quite a few of them) but it is the “golf” shots that astound me. The ones that I line up and hit perfectly and I look at where the ball landed and am amazed that I did exactly what I tried to do.
On the 18th I had teed off right, a big hit but off the fairway directly behind a tree. I punched it out trying to get a little distance and I whacked the 7 iron too well and shot the ball across the fairway and halfway up the side of a hill. Another 7 iron which I mishit completely only going about 20 metres to the top of the hill.
I burst into laughter and then checked the distance markers deciding as I’m pulling out my 8 iron that I reckon I can whack it over the large tree in front of me and get the ball onto the green.
I had never actually hit over a tree like that before but I knew I can get the height needed and figured why not give it a nudge.
The shot was exactly as I saw in my head and popped over the tree, hit the green and stopped four feet from the pin. Michael applauded as he shook his head. As we got to the green and I dropped my bogie put I was delighted with my round of golf.
Not golfing for two weeks hadn’t been detrimental to my game at all and after taking my handicap and slope rating into account I had shot two over par with a 74.
How can I be anything but happy???
Next stop was lunch at Can Vidal-Ramos but that is another story.
Twenty Questions with Tiff – Michael – Club de Golf Barcelona
With Michael on the course and post lunch in his hairy hat.