Monday, 10 August 2009

A Round at last!!

I had a week off work last week and although the kids are off school and wanted my attention, I was determined to get some golf in. Not far from me is a Bromley Golf Centre. This is a 9 hole course ideally set up for the new or improving golfer and even for the better golfer who wants a practice round.

I arrived there to find it surprisingly quiet with just a 2 ball in front of me. The 1st tee is currently under repair and so you have to tee off from a mat on the left hand side. The hole is a straight par 4 around 260 yards. I took a 3wood from the tee and although I didn't connect too well it pitched over the fairway bunkers on the left hand side and ran on to leave me about 80 yards short of the green. When I have connected well in the past I have been about 20 yards short so not too bad a start. A pitching wedge left me just off the front fringe. It takes me a little while to get my distance right. A little chip gets me on to the green but not as close as I would like and then 3 putts! Oh dear. 6 for me.

2nd hole- The tee had been moved forward about ten yards so realistically it was about 260 to the green. Again I pulled out the 3 wood. The pair in front of me were just putting out so no problem I thought, just play. I hit a beauty that kept quite low but it was nice and straight. It bounced nicely on the fairway and carried on. The players on the green did turn my way but I couldn't imagine that it had rolled on to the green about 5 yards from the hole. Fantastic!! 1 putt takes me within a foot and a tap in for a birdie. Hooray!!

3rd Hole- After some congratulations from the pair in front and an apology from me for hitting so close to them I then had to wait for them to play. A Par 3 of 154yds from the yellow tee again a straight hole. As they walked towards the next tee I lined up my shot. An easy 5 iron was my choice. I pulled it and it went into the rough on the left of the fairway. Although Bromley is quite an easy courese compared to many it does have it's challenges. The rough here is quite long and once you're in it it's not easy to get out. 2 shots later I am out and on the front of the green. 3 putts again (I really must work on that) and I've taken a 6. So much for momentum from the birdie before!

This really is my problem at the moment. Lack of consistency. That is what I think divides the good golfers from the bad. Hitting a bogey for each hole must be better than 2 birdies interspersed with double and triple bogeys.

4th- Another par 4- 323 yds. Open fairway ahead of the tee with a pond to the right which is in front of the green. To do well on this hole you need to lay up towards the left to take the water out of play. I duly did this but then fluffed my 2nd (keep the head down!) and overhitting the 3rd to go past the green. A chip on and 2 putts. 6!!

5th- Short par 3- 138 yds. 7 iron from the tee. Length good but line not so good. Placed to the right of the green with bunker between me and the hole. Pitching wedge which didn't get high and shot across the green. Chipping is normally a strong point of mine but today was a struggle round the greens. I chipped back on to the green but was still 20 ft away. 2 putts and a 5.

6th- Par 5 - 465 yds. This hole is normally my nemesis. I have been known to take a 10 on this hole. It is fairly straight for most of the way but turns sharply at the end so the 1st two shots are about setting yourself up to go for the green. I hit a driver about 200 yds. I then fluffed the 2nd into a bunker. I got out on the 1st attempt but only made about 10 yards progress. A good 4th put me 80 yds from the green which I duly hit with the 5th. 2 putts and a 7. Damage limitation if ever there was!

7th- Par 4 - 351 yds. This hole was another battle between myself and the rough. Although I hit the drive quite soundly it went a bit right and with the dry fairways rolled on into the rough with a cluster of trees hiding the fairway ahead. Took 2 shots for me to get out sideways so had already had 3 and only halfway. 4th shot took me 30 yds short of the green and my struggle with the short game continued and finally wrapped up with an 8.

8th- Par 4 - 365 yds. Was a bit disheartened by now but soldiered on. Topped the tee shot but luckily it went straight and a good 2nd gave me 60 to the green. Took out the 7 iron and hit it low to run on. Maybe an 8 or even a 9 would have beeen a better choice as it carried on across and over the green. A chip back and 2 putts gave me a 6 which I wasn't over disappointed with as this is the longest par 4 and stroke index 1.

9th- Par 4 -289 yds. Although quite a short hole it certainly has it's challenges. A narrow channel from the tee which opens out to the fairway. To the right of the fairway is a line of 4 bunkers which can trip up short and big hitters alike. You then have to chip over a stream on to a 2 tier green. My tee shot went to the right of the bunkers into the light rough. A scuffed 2nd fell just short of the stream. With the flag at the right hand side of the green I was guilty of going for the pin too much and ended up just off the green for my 4th but a nice little chip to 2 feet and a tap in gave me another 6.

My best score around this course is 46 for 9 holes so a 53 today was not too bad I suppose. I think I really need to get out more often though. The more I play, the better and more consistent I get but a long break takes me right back to the start. Little glimmers of light like the birdie on the 2nd though will keep me coming back for more.

Although I really do play golf badly I still love it!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Driving Range Heaven!

It was Sunday evening. The TV had little to offer ( Why do we pay Sky so much money?) and I was feeling restless. I knew I had to do something and then it hit me. Driving Range!
So off I go, Clubs in the car and I'm off. I arrived there to find a sprinkling of golfers honing their skills and venting their frustrations on the range balls. I hadn't been for a while and was pleased to see some improvemnets to the range (World of Golf, Sidcup). I slotted my range card into the machine and to my amazement and pleasure on the screen it said 174 balls for £6.60!! Bargain if ever I saw one. Other differences were that they have installed an old London Taxi at about the 150 yards mark. It just had to be hit!! So I took out my 6iron and proceeded to aim at the cab. About 20 balls later I had hit it twice and came close a few times. Good enough I thought. At this point I noted I was one of only 3 guys left there. Everyone else had gone. Had I said something wrong or were they just intimidated by my superior skills!!
Anyway a few shots with several different clubs brought me on to the Driver. I generally struggle on the course with the Driver and tend to tee off with my 3 wood which is fairly reliable and gives me good distance but I would like to get my Driver working for those long par 5s that seem to last forever(for me anyway) After a few tentative drives which went in varying directions I started to relax a little. By now I was the only one on the range and I just decided that I would go full pelt and see how it went. Really opening up my swing I started to let rip and soon I was hitting long and straight. I started to get that feeling you get when you're in the zone and it all comes together in a fluid motion. I must have hit about 60 balls in quick succesion. One by one they flew into the distance dropping about the 250 mark.
The question I have is can I now replicate that on the course when I play next week? I don't know, maybe si maybe non but for now I can be truly satisfied with my own slice of Driving Range Heaven.

Monday, 13 July 2009

I Really do play golf badly!!

When I say badly I mean I am improving but it's gonna be a long time before I turn pro!!

Having played as a teenager with no fear and a supple body I then didn't play for 15 years. On returning to the game I found it a little more difficult than I had remembered. The swing was not as loose and fluid as it had once been. The drives did not go as far as I thought they would and the touch around the greens was not as deft as I imagined it had been.

That was 2 years ago and since then I have become a little more consistent and I don't show myself up so much now when surrounded by better golfers.

I have created this blog to share my golfing experiences and thoughts with the world in the hope that somewhere out there I can encourage others to play and enjoy what I believe is the best game in the world.

I will be posting links to things I have tried and have improved my game. I will be telling you of my latest rounds and practice sessions. I will be venting my frustrations about the putts that got away or that wayward drive into the trees.

Stay tuned for what I hope will be an entertaining and useful blog for those of you who like me PLAY GOLF BADLY AND STILL LOVE IT!!