This guy didn't want to be named for reasons you'll find out...
I awoke on a beautiful July day with the kind of optimism that only comes around once a year. When you're a kid it's all about Christmas, for golfers it's the club championship. I'd had a couple of decent rounds recently and was feeling good about my game.
Our greenkeepers had finally worked out how to grow grass properly so the course was in good nick. And unlike last year it wasn't raining with the kind of ferocity that would have Noah rounding up the animals and looking for his toolbox.
Formalities over, we set off.
A birdie at the second showed that 30 range balls to warm-up was a better decision than arriving late and running across the car park like normal. Another on the fifth vindicated my decision to enter the 2's sweep and by the ninth tee I was two under gross!
Not bad for an 8-handicap.
At which point I assumed the remaining holes would be a formality, mentally awarded myself the win and began writing my acceptance speech.
Glancing up, I noted two old guys in the group in front were looking for a ball. Barely still on the property, they were in an area that the course planner doesn't know exists and they weren't calling anyone through.
15 minutes later my drive split the middle of the wrong fairway, I walked away with a double and the waiting began again. Snap hook out of bounds, another double on the next.
"They're in a buggy, we're walking. They'll speed up in a minute" said my playing partner.
It was a nice thought. We waited on every single shot. For the rest of the round, despite a full empty hole in front of them.
Bogey, bogey, another double. You can see where this is going.
Four and a half hours after we started, I'd turned my good start into an 82 and was looking to hurt someone. We retreated to the bar, assuming the afternoon round would be better but knowing we’d be behind them again.
So I start with a lost tee shot and an eight. As you do.
By the time we reached the fifth tee, the Age Concern day out in front had already lost a hole. I’d lost a lot more than that (mentally and in terms of depleted ball stock) so you can imagine the rest. Watching them was a bit like looking at a glacier: you know there’s movement, you just can’t actually see it happening.
Time passed. Darkness loomed. We finished the round sometime in mid-Autumn I think. Give or take I was about a million over par and I finally decided to NR on 17 after another lost tee shot. So of course I chipped in on 18 for a birdie - the golfing gods have a way of making sure we'll return for further punishment don't they?
Later, armed with the bravery only alcohol can bring I cornered the competition secretary and the professional in the bar, determined to tell them my tale of woe. To their credit they listened to my every word, nodding like they'd heard it all before.
At the end the secretary pointed to a photo above the bar, in which my new nemesis stared down, resplendent in his club blazer and tie. Of course he’s the current president of the club.
On reflection, I probably shouldn’t have called him an embarrassment to the club and a disgrace to the game. I suspect when the committee next meets I’ll be invited to #GetOnWithIt at another club. Sad to say, that may be the best for all concerned...
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.