Great to get back into swing of sporting life – and go so close to ace on golf course!
PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 May 2020
The world of sport is slowly starting to come out of the lockdown imposed to tackle this tragic coronavirus pandemic and raise hopes of a return to some sort of normality.
There has been a heartbreaking loss of life since the last matches played by our local clubs – Old Cooperians beating rugby rivals Barking 87-0 on March 14 and the Everyone Active Raiders losing 7-3 at Telford Tigers a day later.
But the Premier League still hope to restart next month to finish the 2019-20 season, after others were cancelled, some declaring final tables as they stood at the time and others ruling campaigns null and void, with results expunged from the record books.
Golf clubs were allowed to open their doors again recently, with strict social distancing measures in place, and I have managed to play twice myself.
Having previously tackled the likes of Cranham, Hartswood, Maylands, Risebridge, Romford, South Essex and Stapleford Abbotts during my time living in Essex, I now count Wheathill Golf Club as my ‘home course’ since relocating to Somerset last summer.
My dad has been a member for a few years and we played on March 21, just days before clubs were closed, when I managed 32 stableford points off a full 28 handicap.
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That had been my first outing since October 2018 (38 points) and, despite having played off 17 some 20 years ago in the days when I was able to get out more regularly alongside Romford Raiders coach Shaun McFadyen, I will most likely remain on 28 for a little while yet.
I certainly looked every bit the part-time golfer coming out of lockdown on May 16 as I hacked my way round to somehow total 30 points, although four pars proved some consolation.
But last Sunday heralded a significant upturn in fortunes as I began to apply more focus, strike the ball better off tee, fairway and from the now-shorter rough and sink some useful putts.
I managed two lengthy birdies on par threes on the way out – one from just off the green – as well as making a solid par on the 492-yard par five ninth, to reach the turn in just seven over par, for no less than 25 points.
Maintaining that scoring rate proved impossible on the inward nine, with my scorecard blotted by three triple bogeys in the space of four holes, but I added another birdie two on the 18th.
It was very nearly so much more, though, as I hit my 8-iron to the 127-yard last and saw the ball start left of the target and drift towards the flag and then just past it, finishing a mere 12 inches from the hole.
It was my closest yet to the dream of a hole-in-one – beating an effort at Murrayshall, Scotland about 20 years earlier by six inches – and I holed out to finish with 42 points for a nett 63.
If dad can get us another tee-time this weekend (online booking for two-ball groupings is proving extremely competitive), who knows what might happen...
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