As any golfer will tell you, the weekends at this undesirable time of year are rendered extremely valuable as golf after work is not an option with the apparent lack of light. For this reason, I try and compact as much golf as possible into the two days that precede the weeks work. Last weekend, myself and Pete from the Teeofftimes.co.uk team had two matches lined up for Saturday and Sunday at two different courses; Magnolia Park Golf Club in Oxfordshire, and the second at De Vere Wokefield Park in Reading. The second being a grudge match against two of the lads from Golfbreaks.com; a must-win.
Having entered the weekend frankly buzzing to tear it up it didn’t exactly all go to plan. Saturday morning was freezing and having been reminded several times what an unprepared man I was standing in a polo and thin jumper I didn’t exactly feel great on the first tee. Nevertheless, I stood up to the ball, made an overly hasty and stiff swing and as expected hooked one into the water. Thankfully Pete had nailed one down the middle but he went on the chunk his second and that was the first hole lost. We quickly found ourselves shivering, 2 down on the 3rd hole and all I wanted to do was sit next to a roaring fire with a London Pride in hand discussing the weekly accumulator. I amaze myself with how fickle I am when it comes to golf because 3 holes later we were all square and loving it.
We went on to lose 3&2 on the 16th green but we put it down to a good day out and if anything just a warm up for the real match the following day. I would however, have to put up with the incessant ‘bragging rights’ earned from said loss, but that’ll be set right soon enough. We discussed the round in the clubhouse with the righteously earned pint of Pride and set about the usual post-round chat of how many shots you left out on the greens.
Sunday morning, we started the day in American Golf. Having learnt yesterday’s lesson of the bitter wind via blue hands and lips like a Cadbury’s Flake, we both purchased some Titleist mittens, which aside from the previous days beer was the purchase of the year. I can’t begin to describe the difference in winter golf from having warm hands to cold hands, being able to grip the club was something of a godsend compared to the day before’s attempt to swing.
The round started badly when my 6 iron approach clipped a tree; and did not return back to earth. The first time I’d ever seen such a ridiculous feat, but yes, I’d accomplished it. Another one to tick off the list. Pete bogeyed and again we were one down. A 120 yard approach that air mailed the green on the second ensured that we went 2 down after 2 again. These were followed by some halved holes and a few exchanged blows until we went 3 down after 9. That was it, we weren’t losing again. A weekend that started with such hope was now something quite different. Having halved the 10th and 11th we went on to win the 12th, 13th, and 14th to even out the match. We’d turned it round and upon reaching the 18th tee with no shots it was clear what we had to do. All 4 split the fairway and it was a direct shootout for victory. After 3 shots apiece I found myself just off the back staring an impossible chip in the face. Despite this, an up and down would ensure the halve of the hole and match alike. Pete was out of the hole so it was all left to me, and having stuck the chip to 3ft all I had to do was sink it. A left to right slider that begged to be drained but as Pete rightly feared I left it out left and that was the match gone.
Pete and myself are known to be somewhat competitive by the lads in the office but having gone over the weekend while sipping Monday mornings over strength coffee, we agreed that despite losing twice and being significantly lighter in the pocket, it had all been worth it. Matchplay adds so much to your usual round of golf and win or lose I love it. My 15 year old self would be disgusted with this comment as to him, if you didn’t win there was no point at all but I have to admit, losing isn’t all that bad. Well, sometimes.