Kilburnlad | Golf | Diary


Ryder Cup! - 22/05/2018

You may be intrigued by the title of this post. In fact it was the latest instalment of a friendly match series initiated on the occasion of one of the team's 70th birthday. To date all the matches have been Texas Scrambles, allowing one to shelter behind other's superior ability. But this time they decided on match play, thus the Ryder Cup monika.

I was drawn against a 14 handicapper. This meant I was given 13 shots, as I currently play off 27. However, these were allocated as one shot on each of the first 13 indexed holes. This may sound good but I normally get two shots on holes indexed 1 to 9. By only giving me one shot on these 13 holes, I needed score no more than one over his score just to half the hole. On the other 5 holes I needed to match his score to half the hole. That was never going to happen.

As predicated I was totally outplayed, losing the match on the 15th, which was in fact better than I had expected. I managed to win three holes and half another three. I won the 3rd, having put a drive on the green of this short par 3. I also won nearest the pin, but it was at the end of the day a somewhat lucky shot. I won the par 4, 11th with my third shot making the green, and two putts just giving it to me. And I won the 14th because of some wayward shots on his part.

I halved the 2nd, both of us having found the ditch on our tee shot. On the 9th I managed a 7, which was enough for a half. And on the 14th a good putt across the undulating green just gave me a half.

To be honest I didn't ever expect to be competitive and this in a way relaxed me totally. I didn't record my total stroke-play score but it would probably have been about my norm, so I didn't feel that I had done that badly. As I've said, I lost on the 15th, but did in fact nett par that hole,although it wasn't enough.

We went out as a four, playing as two pairs. The other three were all hitting 200 yard plus drives and similar length second shots, one putting his second on the 8th green from 240 yards. My opponent was often on the green in regulation, while I always struggle to achieve that. It was, in the end, no contest!

Back on the course

After a fairly long break I ventured out yesterday. My back is still a bit suspect so I decided to take a less ambitious approach to my game. With the weather now looking much better, and the fairways firming up, I reverted to a hybrid for my fairway shots, occasionally opting for my 3-wood where space allowed for a wayward shot. Both these clubs are less demanding on my body than the irons, which I tend to swing a lot faster. So, that was the strategy.

It started well on the 1st. My drive wasn't long, and drifted a bit right, but it didn't reach the ditch. Two hybrids later I was about 90 yards from the green (I didn't take my Garmin or the Game Golf device). I then surprised myself by putting the ball on the green for 4 on this par 5. Unfortunately I then three-putted for a nett bogey 7. But it was a surprisingly good start.

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Golf in the doldrums

If indeed anybody reads this diary, they may have wondered why there have been no reports since 5 February. The reason, pure and simple, is that I've hardly played since then, and when I have it's been so dire as not to warrant a report. I did in fact play, badly, on 15 February, but that was the last time until this Monday, 19 March.

So why? Well, there's the poor play, obviously, but there's also the fact that my body, or to be more precise my back, seems to be suffering much more lately after playing golf. My lay-off since February brought with it the disappearance of my sciatica, which immediately re-appeared when I played again this week. And, of course, there's been the appalling weather this winter, with the course being very wet and muddy.

Monday's game wasn't great. My drives weren't bad, if a bit misdirected at times, but I seemed to have lost the ability to hit irons. The upshot was a round of 60, including two nines and an eight. I played again today (Thursday), and far from improving, things seemed to get worse. Only one nine, but two eights and far too many muffed iron shots. Perversely I did manage a par 3 out of the bunker on the 3rd, which was decidedly against the run of play. And my sciatica was severe, with my left leg almost giving way a couple of times. I came in with a 62 for the nine holes, feeling absolutely dejected.

The due date for next year's subs is 6 April and I am now seriously considering whether to reduce my membership to Associate, and to play perhaps only once or twice a month. I feel that I have been going backwards for quite a while now in terms of play, and to be honest I'm not sure that I will reverse that trend. Better players than me are declining with age, so as a relative novice to the game, perhaps I can hardly expect to be improving having celebrated my 70th birthday in January.

So if anybody does read this diary, there may be a few sporadic reports going forward, but I fear the regular weekly stories are unlikely to continue. However, I have a Texas scramble next week, long since arranged, and I have been asked to play in another scramble Easter Monday, which I shall try to do. After that, who knows?

Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 05/02/18

It was really cold today. After five minutes warm up on the putting green my hands were frozen. But it was bright, and the wind was much lighter, if bitterly cold.

My hopes of improved iron shots after last Thursday's deliberations did not materialise. After a reasonable drive off the first tee I topped the 4-iron, sending the ball left and less than 20 yards. The next was better, and I was nearly on the green with my fourth shot. A chip on and two putts for a nett bogey 7. We were playing off mats again and on the 2nd I floored the driver, causing the ball to go right and run into the ditch, where it was lost. A penalty drop was followed by a poor 5-iron that left me well short. The pitching wedge got me on but three putts left me with a blobbed 7.

My driver shot on the short 3rd only avoided the 'seasonal' lake to the right because it bounced back off a tree. A low 7-iron got me on the green and two putts gave me a nett birdie 4. Having just avoided the bunker with my drive on the 4th my 6-iron was poor, leaving me on a raised bank. I took my 5-iron to go for the green, but again the shot wasn't clean, leaving me well short. Then I muffed the pitch, needing another to get on for 5. Two putts for a nett bogey 7.
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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 01/02/18

Today offered up a brief respite from the seemingly endless rain this winter, the temperature having dropped accentuated by a 20 mph cold wind. Hardly ideal, especially as the ground was still pretty soft. Thankfully the greens were open but we did have to play off mats, positioned forward of the normal tee boxes. Making the right tee peg choice was sometimes difficult, with the rubber inserts positioned at different depths in the mats, thus either decreasing or increasing the height of whatever tee you would normally use.

A good drive on the 1st was promptly wasted as I was high on the ball with my 4-iron, gaining me less than 60 yards. I then pulled the next 4-iron shot sending the ball through the trees to the left. It fortunately found its way through without impact, leaving me an awkward shot to the green that was obstructed by a high tree. I opted to steer right of the tree, meaning that the ball dropped to the right and short of of the green, and it was plugged. I took a free drop and pitched on, then put in a long putt for a nett par 6. Quite amazing considering the chequered approach.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 18/01/18

It's been a long time since my last report. In fact I haven't played much golf. A combination of aches and pains, Christmas, appalling weather, a virus, and a general apathy to going out on a course that has been subjected to day after day of rain. I did in fact play after my last report in November, but I forgot my Game Golf device, and played very badly, so I didn't bother to report the day. I also played in a Texas scramble at the beginning of December, but again played badly. So, how did things go this time? Well, it started not too badly, but then went downhill.

The 1st started very well, with a reasonable drive and two 4-irons getting me pin high. But, unfortunately, I had drifted left and was in the bunker. I got out but was short of the green. A chip on and two putts gave me a nett bogey 7, which was a disappointment. On the 2nd I drove the right-side ditch and lost my ball. A reasonable recovery after a drop left me just short of the green, but my pitch was long and I needed two putts for a nett bogey 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 23/11/17

Today was a story of poor play around the greens and terrible putting. Add to that a few not-so-good ground strokes and the result wasn't very impressive. The wind was partly a factor, a squall passing over while we were on the 7th with very strong gusts but fortunately only a few drops of rain. We were on the edge of it. Somebody else got the full treatment!

The 1st wasn't too bad. Certainly better than some recent happenings on this hole. I had a good drive followed by a reasonable 4-iron, only to be thick on the next 4-iron, hitting more mud than ball. The next shot was far better putting me just short of the green in rough to the left. A pathetic gap wedge (I slowed up on the swing!) left me still off the green, although I could putt on. Two more putts for a nett bogey 7.

A longish drive on the 2nd should have allowed me to reach the green for two, but my 8-iron again took too much divot leaving me short. A pitching wedge shot was also just short needing a putt on. I then missed a short putt, the second giving me a nett bogey 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 20/11/17

Back to mediocracy and yet again the 1st and 9th cost me dear. After rain it was damp and the course was soft but the day brightened with the occasional fresh wind that felt a bit chilly and affected a couple of holes.

View looking back from Hole 8

My tee shot on the 1st was fine; 155 yards and dead straight. Then I pulled my 4-iron shot left into the trees, where the ball inconveniently came to rest against a trunk, the only shot playable being a back-flip with my 7-iron. This didn't quite clear the trees leaving me with the need to loft my 8-iron, which I managed just clipping the upper branches. A 7-iron shot to the green then went nowhere as the iron dug into the soft ground. My pitching wedge shot then bounced left off the green and at first I thought it had rolled into the sunken bunker. It hadn't, but was resting in light rough right on the edge. My gap wedge was thin but the ball fortunately hit the pin. I then missed the first putt, the second giving me a severely blobbed 9.

Te 2nd was just the opposite. A drive of 173 yards was followed by an 8-iron to the green. Two putts for a par and a nett birdie. Weird game this golf! Read More…

Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 16/11/17

After last Thursday's not-so-bad performance, today was a bit of a let down. A damp but mild day with little wind, but the fairways had been spiked for drainage, making the playing surface a little unpredictable at times. But the biggest problem was me. My driving wasn't too bad, give or take a couple of holes, but my trusty 4-iron wasn't behaving itself, and I missed too many gettable putts. Once again terrible scores on the 1st and 9th bookended a not-so-bad performance on the other holes.

My drive went left on the 1st, which wouldn't have been too much of a problem if the ball hadn't hit the trunk of a conifer and bounced further from the fairway. When I got to the ball there was only a sideways shot available, which I left a bit short and had to drop clear of the path. I then completely miss-hit my 4-iron, sending the ball left back into the trees. I had a clear path out but the 7-iron shot lofted a bit too much, the ball just catching the lowest branch of a tree, and dropping dead. The next 4-iron was also hopeless, making only 70 yards and leaving me once again in the rough. A 5-iron from there was short, requiring a pitch to the green, where I then three-putted to round off a thoroughly dispiriting hole. A 10 wasn't a good start and rendered any chance of a good round impossible.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 09/11/17

I'm a bit late with this report because I've been a bit tied up with other things since I went out last Thursday. It was a chilly day but with hardly any wind, making conditions quite favourable. The spiked greens had settled down a bit, and while still somewhat unpredictable, they weren't as bad as on previous occasions. I managed to avoid high scores on both the 1st and the 9th, which have been my nemesis recently. This made for a much more consistent round but interestingly my score was identical to that on the previous Monday, even though my game 'felt' better.

A longish drive on the 1st left me in the rough just off the fairway. My 4-iron out wasn't bad, but the next 4-iron was enormous at just under 160 yards, leaving me a 25 yard pitch to the green for 4. The putt was longish and I needed a second for a nett par 6.

Another good drive on the 2nd stayed out of trouble. My 7-iron wasn't so good, skewing left and stopping short of the bunker. It should have made the green. I then pitched badly and needed to putt on from the front of the green, followed by two more putts for a nett bogey 6. It should have been two shots better than that.

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