Before we continue I should warn you that this post is about my best round of the year. I realise that there’s nothing worse than sitting and listening to someone giving you a blow by blow account of their round of golf while you sit and pretend to care, so if you are at all remotely interested, please feel free to read on!
As I’ve mentioned I play at East Kilbride Golf Club just outside Glasgow (in Scotland for any International visitors to my page), which stands at 6,402 yards and is one of the longer courses in the area. Having recently re-joined after a three year hiatus, it took me a few rounds to get back into the swing of things such as remembering the nuances in some of the sloping greens – particularly the 12th – and avoiding certain misses from the tee.
I came back to EK Golf Club with a handicap of 4.5 and it would be fair to say it took me some weeks to get going in the new season as before I knew it I found myself up at 4.9 and creeping towards 6. However, I have been working hard at my game this summer and last week I reaped the rewards of my efforts and shot a one-under 70, which saw my handicap take a tumble back to 4 (4.1 to be precise).
Things started well with a birdie 3 at the 1st and solid up-and-downs for par at the 2nd and 4th followed. Chipping is an area I’ve really been trying to focus on recently and there’s nothing more pleasing than knocking them in close to a couple of feet when I miss the green, which can be quite often due to my erratic behaviour with a driver in my hand. A pulled tee shot at the 5th was lucky as it cleared a line of trees and set up a reasonably easy 80-yard wedge shot in to leave me with a 5 foot putt for birdie – I kindly obliged and got myself to -2 thru 5.
A stray tee shot on 6 left me scrambling for my par again, but the flat stick has been on form since switching back to my trusty Ping Anser 2, and I rolled in an 8-footer for par.
A wild tee shot at the 529-yard par-5 7th resulted in a bogey which was fair enough, but I must say I was disappointed walking off the green after leaving a straight uphill 10-foot putt just a couple of inches shy – a deserved bogey in the end. The 8th saw another bogey as I 3-putted from 30 feet, however just as I thought my putting was going to let me down on the day I rolled in a 15 foot birdie putt on 9 which took me to the turn on one under – a solid front 9.
Of course this is only half-way and any amateur golfer will agree that this sport is very much a game of two halves. So often I’ve found myself get to the turn around the level par mark, only to Scott Hoch it (choke) on back 9.
However, a solid strike with a 6-iron at the tricky par-3 10th kicked off the back 9 with a 2-putt par. The 11th at East Kilbride is arguably the most difficult hole on the course, where a long iron from the tee leaves a mid-iron in to the green but usually from a position where the ball lies below your feet. This near 90 degree dog-leg can easily get in any player’s head, especially if they have a score going. A decent 3-iron followed by a good 5-iron left me on the fringe and I was happy to take my par.
Another pulled tee shot at the 12th ended in what was probably a good bogey, but this didn’t last long in the memory. The 13th is an uphill 496-yard par 5 with a dog-leg for the final 100 yards. I spanked a drive out the screws up the left side of the fairway – the ideal spot for an angle to the green – and a crisp 6 iron from 185 yards was near perfect and allowed me an eagle opportunity. When I got to the green I was greeted with an 8 foot putt for my eagle, and I was never going to miss this one.
With the tough stretch of holes behind me I found myself -2 on the 14th tee and excited at trying to make more birdies. However, having got a bit ahead of myself with a hybrid off the tee, I paid the penalty by chipping out of trees and taking my bogey. The 15th was extremely disappointing – a 255-yard par 4 which is without doubt the best birdie chance on the course. After leaving the clubface wide open I watched my ball sail OB, the only solace to take was the birdie with my provisional. Another bogey.
So here we are…level par with 3 to play. A year ago I would have been furious with myself for letting slip a potential under par round. Not this time. Solid pars on 16 and 17 brought me to the longest hole on the course. I boomed my drive up the right on the 553-yard 18th, and found myself under a tree. However, lady luck was on my side and I was able to get a full swing with a hybrid. I got the cut I was looking for and my ball finished green-side. A chip and a putt saw me finish with a birdie 4 and post a one-under 70.
So there we go, if you’ve stayed with me this long then you have the patience of a saint.