Archives for 2016 | Kilburnlad | Golf | Diary

Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 22/12/16

A cold day but at least it was dry with a fair amount of sun. Unfortunately people in front were playing a pathetically slow game and we ended up taking 2 hours and 40 minutes to complete 9 holes. Not so bad in the summer, but waiting to take nearly every shot in cold weather is no fun. I started well but whether it was the frustration, or perhaps just the cold, but things went steadily downhill as the round progressed.

On the 1st, I was just off the green for 4, courtesy of four hybrid shots. I putted on, leaving the ball close to the hole, and then single putted in for a nett par 6.
Hole 2 - 22 December 2016
A 160 yards hybrid tee shot on the 2nd set me up for the second hybrid shot onto the green. Two putts for a par, a nett birdie.

I slightly topped the ball on my tee shot on the 3rd, leaving me short but not in any trouble. A 9-iron pitch and two putts for a nett par 4.

So a strong start, but now things started to unravel. My hybrid tee shot on the 4th was long at 160 yards, but it went left onto a bank. I took a 7-iron and chipped back onto the fairway. This left me within range of the lake so I took the 7-iron again with the intention of gaining perhaps 90 yards, much the same as the previous shot. But I shanked the shot and ended up under a conifer to the right. I tapped out with the 7-iron, putting me back on the fairway again, but now on my 5th shot. My 8-iron went left, landing just inside the water hazard, where it was embedded in a mole hill. A free drop (burrowing animal) and I chipped on with my 9-iron for 6. I needed two putts so ended up with a nett double bogey 8.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 19/12/16

More mixed fortunes today but I did come away with one birdie. A misty damp day with almost zero wind and an eerie silence that accompanies that sort of weather.

There was no time for practice swings so I took the hybrid for greater reliability on the 1st tee. It went straight if not exceptionally far. A couple of more mediocre hybrids placed me about 110 yards from the pin but I was short of the green. A nice 8-iron chip left me a single putt for a nett par 6: not too bad.

To avoid danger I went left on the 2nd but the hybrid shot just clipped a tree and dropped at 140 yards. My next one was fluffed and then I put the following shot in the right hand bunker. I got out with the sand wedge and putted on, but was short, needing two more putts for a blobbed 7.

I was a bit unlucky on the 3rd, the tee shot landing to the right of the left hand bunker but then bouncing sideways into it. I again got out and was well on the green but after that achievement three-putted for a nett bogey 5. I really shouldn't have missed the second putt.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 15/12/16

Back to the golf course after a two-week break. Sometimes a break can be good, but I regret to report that my game hasn't changed that much. It was the usual story, some good shots but also many bad ones.

The 3-wood off the tee on the 1st at least went straight on its way to reaching a meagre 120 yards. The next hybrid was thick on the soft ground and only added another 100 yards. The next was better but I then put what should have been a simple 8‑iron pitch onto the bank to the right. My 9-iron then went to the left of the green, rolling through the bunker to rest on the downslope of the bunker edge. The gap wedge was supposed to chip it out of this awkward lie but instead ran it through the bunker, the ball flipping over the bunker lip and coming to rest only a few feet from the hole - lucky. A single putt for 7 and a nett bogey.

A hybrid tee shot on the 2nd went wildly left, to be found under a conifer tree. A 'unplayable' drop allowed me to make a good hybrid shot to within 50 yards of the green. A 9-iron pitch and two putts for a nett bogey 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 01/12/16

Another cold day but not as bad as yesterday, which was well below zero. For some reason they put us on temporary greens, which means smallish areas on the final approach to each green that are definitely not greens. If I had known beforehand I wouldn't have played, as putting becomes a game of chance.

Course photo - 01 December 2016

My Game Golf system is completely confused by the temporary greens, recording a round of 51 with zero putts! My score, however, was actually quite good compared with recent rounds, and I actually took 15 putts, which in the circumstances was very acceptable.

There's not much point in giving a blow by blow account but I persevered with my 3-wood off the tee and except for a fluffed shot on the 8th this club didn't get me into any real trouble. It has certainly pushed up my tee shot distances compared with the hybrid that I was using previously.
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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 28/11/16

The weather forecast was good and so it turned out. It was fresh but we enjoyed bright sunshine and little wind.

With the disaster that was my last outing, today I decided to experiment a bit. I put my 3-wood back in the bag after an absence of more than a year. The driving range was closed meaning that I couldn't practise a bit beforehand. Consequently my drive off the 1st tee was a leap of faith and unsurprisingly it curved right into the ditch. After a drop, three mediocre hybrid shots left me with a gap wedge chip onto the green, with two putts for a nett double bogey 8.

The 2nd was a repeat performance, the drive again going towards the ditch, but this time it was lost. Another penalty drop followed by a decent hybrid and a 7-iron chip on. Two putts and a nett bogey 6.

Having taken my 20 degree hybrid out of the bag I didn't really have a club to reach the 3rd green. My 23 degree club was short, but safe. I pitched on and two-putted for a nett par 4.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 24/11/16

Today was so bad that I'm not even going to report on it! Well, not in detail at least.

It was a welcome dry day after all the rain but with a cold north-easterly wind. The course was heavy but not in bad shape considering how much rain we've had.

My main problem was that I couldn't seem to get loft on any of my shots, which is unusual as I tend normally to get more loft than most. My hybrid shots off the fairway and light rough were rubbish, with most just scooting along the ground. By the time I had reached the 7th I had 4 blobs behind me, so with nothing to lose I decided to start using my 4-iron rather than a hybrid. It was somewhat better, but far from being the grand solution. I went on to blob both the 8th and the 9th.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 17/11/16

Today was not good. The weather forecast threatened rain around 2 pm so we hoped to get 9 holes in beforehand. In fact the rain arrived a bit early and we got rather wet as we came down the 9th. The wind was also very strong, causing some difficulties on a few of the holes. It was another case of starting reasonably well and then everything falling apart; the story of my golf.

On the 1st, three mediocre hybrid shots left me about 120 yards from the green, from where I put my 27 degree hybrid on for four. Two putts for a nett par 6 wasn't a bad start.

The tee shot on the 2nd was better and I followed it with the 27 degree hybrid again, putting the ball just off the back of the green from where I putted on. The next putt wasn't difficult but the ball turned as it approached the hole, and I needed another for a nett par 5.

My tee shot went right on the 3rd and left me with the need to hit a low trajectory iron under overhanging branches. I managed this but the shot was a bit long, coming to rest at the back of the green. It was a long putt and although close, I needed another for a nett par 4. Three nett pars and 6 points from the first three holes.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 14/11/16

Although my total score today was certainly not as bad as in some recent rounds, I didn't feel that it was a performance to feel good about.

We started in rain, causing me to dispense with my usual practice swings and warm up. The result, I miss-hit the ball off the 1st tee, it coming to rest only 36 yards away. The next couple of shots weren't that brilliant either, but the 4th got me to within a pitch to the green, which I put to the left. A chip back on and two putts left me with a nett double bogey 8.

The hybrid tee shot on the 2nd made 150 yards despite clipping trees on the left. The next hybrid put me on the green and I should have parred the hole, but missed a shortish putt for a nett par 5.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 10/11/16

Another chilly morning with a slight threat of rain, although it actually turned out quite nice in the end. As for the golf, I thought that this was going to be The day. The first three holes went extremely well, and although I faltered a bit at the tricky 4th, I was still playing within my handicap. Then, as often is the case, I made hard work of the 5th, very hard work of the 6th, and thereafter it all fell apart.

Autumn photo

Today I experimented with my 23 degree hybrid off the tee. Theoretically 'shorter' than the 20 degree one, it tends to be less inclined to slice. Off the 1st tee I made 163 yards, which is as good as I usually get with the supposedly longer club. I reverted to the 20 degree club for my second shot but it was 'groundy', so I decided to go back to the other club, which put my third shot about 50 yards from the green. I was then a bit short with the 9-iron but the following 7-iron chip-and-run put me a few feet from the hole. One putt for a nett par 6.

My tee shot on the 2nd went left into the edge of the trees but bounced out into the clear. With the 23 degree club I put the next shot just short of the green on this shortish hole. A nice 8-iron chip and one quite longish putt for a nett birdie 4. Read More…

Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 07/11/16

A better day today: only one blob and that was caused by a two-shot escape from a bunker. A cold day with a chilling northerly wind, plus a few squally showers for good measure. But the sun came out towards the end and despite still being very cold it became a lot more pleasurable.

Hole 6 photo - 07 November 2016

The tee shot off the 1st was safe on the fairway and then and I put the next one into the trees on the left. Most unusual, as my hybrid tends more often than not to go right. I was lucky to punch the ball out back onto the fairway, negotiating my way through the trees. A couple of more hybrid shots got me to the right fringe of the green from where I putted on and then single-putted for a nett bogey 7.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 03/11/16

A cold day with a chilling wind but at least it was dry and although the club had imposed winter rules, the course was in fact not that wintery. However, the piles of leaves were still around waiting for a stray ball but other than that there weren't many problems.

I hit the ground before the ball on the 1st, so although the shot was straight it only made just over 100 yards. The second and third were better, leaving me a 100 yard 8-iron shot to the green. I pulled it left and ended up in the bunker. My clearance only just made it, leaving an awkward chip from the very edge of the bunker wall, but it was good enough for a single putt. A nett bogey 7.

On the 2nd three out of four of us ended up in the ditch to the right. At least it is now dry and all the balls were found. My penalty drop rolled almost all the way back to the ditch but a well struck 8-iron got me to the middle of the fairway. My 9-iron was then short and just avoided the right bunker but the following 9-iron chip almost went in, leaving me a gimme for a nett bogey 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 01/11/16

The first day of November and we teed off in drizzle and gloom. Fortunately the drizzle fizzled out by the end of the 1st hole and the sky brightened somewhat. There was also a gusty wind that affected some holes.

The 1st didn't go too badly. My hybrid tee shot was to the left and unfortunately kicked abruptly left on landing, leaving me of the wrong side of the path. The lie wasn't bad and I cleared with a hybrid to just off the right of the fairway. The next shot also kept right but I was able to hit the fourth to the green, albeit a long way from the pin which was at the other end. Despite a firm putt it was well short and I needed another two for a nett bogey 7. Read More…

Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 27/10/16

Hole 8 - 27 October 2016
A remarkably pleasant day for late October so I decided to put in a 9-hole card, which I think fulfils my obligation to the handicap secretary for this year.

My new strategy was to leave all the woods at home and use only my hybrids and irons. Fairway accuracy improved to 71% so the hybrids were certainly more accurate than the woods off the tee, but unfortunately I had a few tee shots where I was high on the ball, resulting in short ground-hugging trajectories.

I was cleanly off the tee on the 1st and two further hybrids left me with a 40 yard pitch to the green. The pin was at the back and I was short with my 8-iron, needing two putts for a nett par 6, which was nonetheless very acceptable.

The hybrid tee shot on the 2nd was long at 151 yards and although it crept right, it stayed away from the path and ditch. My next shot was also good, coming to rest just off the front of the green. Unfortunately I then made a mess of what should have been a simple 7-iron chip, going right and off the back of the green. Another 7-iron on and two putts for a nett bogey 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Manor Course - 24/10/16

The Lodge Course was fully booked up to almost midday so we went up to the Manor Course. I rather like the Manor but my friend Bob never seems to enjoy it that much. It's a narrow course that punishes wayward drives. The good news was that it wasn't busy, so we had nobody holding us up in front and nobody snapping at our heels behind. It's a while since we played it and quite a few trees have gone since then, altering the outlook quite significantly on some holes. The Church Course on the other side of the road , where I did a lot of my learning, is now permanently closed.

The 1st tee has been moved forward to make way for building development and the hole is now only about 120 yards over a lake. I took my 27 degree hybrid and lofted the ball onto the green. Two putts for a nett birdie 3 was a good start.

My hybrid tee shot on the 2nd was a bit right and ended up just over the path in the rough. My 8-iron out wasn't clean and I needed another pitch to the green, which bounced left on landing leaving me a long putt. I ended up needing three putts for a nett bogey 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 20/10/16

With the weather being not at all bad for mid October, I decided to put in a card for 18 holes today. It was windy, and rain threatened at times, but other than a very brief shower we kept dry.

I started well, playing what for me was controlled golf, but a mini disaster on the 5th must have unnerved me, as things then deteriorated. The back nine was even worse!

My 5-wood tee shot on the 1st rolled in the ditch, but two good hybrids from the drop position left me with a 9-iron chip, which was perfect, leaving a short putt for a nett par 6. It would have been a par if I hadn't rolled in the ditch.

The 2nd and 3rd were uneventful, each resulting in nett pars. The 4th wasn't too bad either, although a fluffed chip left me with a nett bogey 7, which so easily could have been another nett par. A good tee shot on the 5th was just short and landed in the bunker, in a hole that somebody had kindly left for me. I was thin with the sand iron and the ball went out of bounds on the far side of the green. I dropped in the bunker, the ball inconveniently sinking in the sand. To cut a sad story short, it took me three to get out, which meant that the bunker had cost me 5 shots. I still needed to chip on and then had two putts for an inglorious 9 !

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 18/10/16

Another day perhaps better forgotten. We arrived in rain with the promise things would brighten up, as they indeed did.
A blue sky with the clouds whisking across in the strong wind. The autumn colours were in evidence.

View of Hole 8 - 18 October 2016

I started well, with a long hybrid off the 1st tee, followed by a couple more and an 8-iron onto the green. Two putts for a nett par 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Coures - 13/10/16

It was just my friend Bob and me today so I decided to experiment a bit. Firstly I consigned the 5-wood to the bag, the Driver and 3-wood already being at home in the garage. I used my 20 degree hybrid off the tee for the longer holes. I had also put a metal 4-iron in the bag for lies that weren't favourable for my 4-iron hybrid equivalent.

It was cold and rain threatened at times, accompanied by a gusty wind, but all in all conditions weren't too bad. After heavy rain in the night the ground was wet and soft but it was only in the longer grass that this caused any issues.

A nice straight hybrid on the 1st set me up in the middle of the fairway, followed by a couple more leaving me with a pitching iron to the green, which was a shade short. I putted on and then two putted for a nett bogey 7. So it wasn't too bad a start.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course -10/10/16

After last Thursday's meltdown I tried again today to put in a card for the handicap secretary. Having found out I could put in a 9-hole card, this is what I did. I could have been doing this throughout the year but thought for handicap purposes I needed to do 18 holes. It appears that this requirement has been relaxed.

Things went a lot better today. It was chilly but when the sun shone through quite pleasant. The wind was light give or take the occasional gust when clouds passed over. In fact the conditions were very good for October.

I took a hybrid of the tee on the 1st, which while only making 120 yards was straight! The next couple of hybrids were each around 160 yards allowing me to pitch on for 4 with my 9-iron. I nearly putted out for a par, but tapped in for a nett par 6. A much better start.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 06/10/16

Yesterday I decided to put in another card towards ensuring that my handicap was maintained by the club, there being a need to submit at least three cards during the year. Having neglected to do this so far, I'm now catching up, having put in a card last Thursday, today was supposed to be number two. However, things went so badly that at about hole 7 I decided not to bother, and instead of doing 18 holes I went in after the 9th.

It's days like these that make you wonder why you bother. It went wrong from the start. My hybrid tee shot on the 1st rolled into the ditch on the right. More often than not my tee shot ends up in the trees to the left as I try specifically to avoid this ditch. A penalty drop and clearance was followed by a miss-hit 5-wood, into rough. My hybrid out of there ended up in the ditch to the far right of the approach, somewhere that I can't remember ever being before. Another penalty drop, 8-iron pitch and two putts for an inglorious nett triple bogey 9.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 03/10/16

A new strategy today after the problems I had off the tee on Thursday. I decided to tee off with my 20 degree hybrid. Because of a misunderstanding over our tee time I had a chance to go on the range with 40 balls and the hybrid was working fine, as were my irons after a bit of adjustment to set up.

The usual desire to avoid the ditch on the right caused me to go left on the 1st, ending up just over the path on the edge of the trees. I didn't make good contact with the ball but was back on the fairway. A long 5-wood (178 yards) set me up for an 8-iron pitch to the green. This left me a long putt and in fact I needed three to get down, my only three-putt of the day. So it was a 7 for a nett bogey.

The hybrid didn't work on the 2nd, my first shot going out of bounds to the right. The second stayed on the fairway and a good 27 degree hybrid put me at the back fringe of the green. Two putts for a nett bogey, which wasn't bad after three off the tee.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 29/09/16

I haven't put in any cards this year for the purposes of maintaining my handicap, so as we move into autumn it's time to play a few 18 hole rounds and submit cards. After last Friday's somewhat poor performance at Rushden I thought things must look up. It started well enough with a par on the 1st, but thereafter, give or take a few flashes of brilliance, things didn't go too well. I lost count of the number of bunkers I ended up in, and I also managed quite a few excursions into trees, where on most occasions the lie was awful.

As already mentioned, I parred the 1st. In fact it was the only hole I parred. A reasonable 5-wood off the tee, two good hybrid shots, 7-iron chip and a long single putt.

Hole 1 - 29 September 2016

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Rushden Golf Course - 23/09/16

Today was the Mad Cats outing to Rushden, a new course for me. It wasn't a very satisfying day for a number of reasons, my performance being just one of them. I was in the last group out, which meant a wait of over one and a half hours before teeing off, which is never good. We were a male four-ball following a female four-ball. It was slow, very slow, the round taking just under 5 hours. At least the weather was good, although the wind freshened as we played.

My first problem was that my Garmin device seemed to be showing a different course to the one that I was playing. I later found out that the course had been redesigned, the back nine clearly being very different from the front. When I got home I updated the Garmin over the internet, but it was a bit too late. So I had no distances to work with which resulted in quite a few misjudged shots. Add to that some pretty awful shots and you probably get the picture.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 22/09/16

Back to the course after two weeks holiday. Today was to get myself back into the swing of things prior to a 'Mad Cats Day' tomorrow.

It started well enough. My 5-wood off the tee on the 1st went left and as is often the case ended up under the branches of a tree. I jabbed a 7-iron out then hit a decent 5-wood leaving me about 100 yards from the green. I made the green but was to the right leaving a longish putt. I got down in two for a 6, nett par.

Unfortunately on the 2nd my hybrid tee shot bounced to the right and ended up in the ditch. We couldn't find it so I took a drop from what is a water hazard for a one stroke penalty. The ball almost rolled back in on the sloping ground, leaving me an awkward lie. The 7-iron wasn't clean and only went about 70 yards. From there I over-pitched with an 8-iron to the back of the green. A 7-iron chip and a single longish putt got me a 6, nett bogie.

I miss-hit the hybrid tee shot on the 3rd, which went about 70 yards slightly left. I took an 8-iron from there playing over the bunker and was pin high to the right of the hole. The first putt was close but I needed another for a 4, nett par. Things weren't going to badly.

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Lakeside Lodge - Manor Course - 05/09/16

First outing for a week and the main course was closed for maintenance, so we went on the Manor. I like the Manor but today it caused me a fair bit of grief. We started in very light drizzle, not that wetting, but it made the greens very slow. In fact the Manor greens aren't that good to start with, so today was challenging.

It started reasonably well, the first tee having been recently repositioned, making this par 3 only about 125 yards. My hybrid tee shot bounced before the green and ran on, only to run off the back. A gentle 7-iron chip and two putts for a nett par 4.

On the 2nd my 5-wood tee shot went right, influenced by thick out-of-bounds trees on the immediate left. We found the ball in thick rough and I played a 9-iron to the back of the green, chipped on and only then realised it wasn't my ball! That should have been two penalty shots but as it was only a practice round, and as there wasn't anybody close behind, we went and found my actual ball. My 9-iron this time clipped tree branches and didn't make the green, but another gentle 9-iron got me on for a single putt and a par, nett birdie.

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Wyboston Lakes - 26/08/16

Our August Mad Cats outing was at Wyboston Lakes, a new course for me. As the name suggests, there's plenty of water around. Brilliant sunshine all day with a fresh light breeze which was very welcome.

The 1st plays around a large lake, so you need a drive of 180 yards plus to get to the corner. I made it, just, with my 5-wood, having left my wayward driver at home. A couple of hybrids then got me close to the green, an 8-iron chip and two putts giving me a nett birdie 6 on this par 5. A good start.

I had driven off on a low (red) tee on the 1st with the 5-wood, and it worked well, but on the 2nd I was thin and bizarrely the ball hit one of the ladies' tee point markers, ricocheted off, and ended up in the middle of the 1st fairway. Playing back through the trees wasn't easy and it took me two shots to get back on to the 2nd, and even then I wasn't on the fairway. A hybrid and 7-iron took me to the back of the green, and a putt on and two more putts added up to a nett triple bogie 8. So much for the good start.

Wyboston Lakes holes 1 nad 2 - 26 August 2016

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 25/08/16

Another middling 9 holes today. After a scorching day yesterday and rain overnight, the humidity was high but there wasn't any wind.

I again drove into the left hand trees on the 1st. A creditable 201 yards but in the wrong direction! I tried to loft over the trees with my 8-iron but didn't strike the ball clean and was lucky that it went through the trees and landed off the edge of the fairway. A good 163 yard 5-wood got me back into business but my 8-iron was short and I had to putt onto the green, then needed two putts to finish with a nett bogey 7. Better than the 9 last time but still disappointing.

I pulled my hybrid shot off the 2nd tee, which went violently left, the ball landing on the 8th green, where it would have been set up for a single putt! I free dropped off the green then unwisely took a hybrid to make up for lost distance, only to send the ball into the ditch on the far side of the fairway. I was lucky to find the ball, the ditch now being almost dry. A penalty drop and I put the 9-iron into the right hand bunker. Out in one and two putts for a nett double bogey 7. It was a matter of going from one hazard into another.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 22/08/16

Our Monday practice round. It was very warm and the wind was gusting strongly, causing a few problems along the way. It turned out that I was to have seven reasonable holes, bookended by a bad start and a bad finish on the two par 5s.

I had been watching the women's Olympic golf final day yesterday and taking pointers from their game. One thing I did notice is that they tend to hold the grip lower than I would normally do, so today I tried repositioning my hands. I'm not sure if this made a great deal of difference as I had good shots and bad ones, much the same as usual.

My drive on the 1st just crept into the trees on the left but was quite long. I topped the ball with my 8-iron clearance only managing about 80 yards and then muffed a hybrid shot leaving me about 170 yards from the green after three shots. I took my 5-wood and managed to pull it left, the ball sailing into the lake. I took another shot only to do almost the same thing again, although this time the ball bounced off a fence post, but still managed to find itself behind the fence and unplayable. So a drop and pitch on for 7, and two putts for 9. A nett triple bogey. Read More…

Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 18/08/16

Back to my home course and still feeling a bit under the weather after a virus laid me low with coughing and a temperature. It was a warm muggy day which didn't help as my temperature control mechanism appears to be all out of sorts. Despite my feeling a bit off colour I didn't play badly, two wayward tee shots spoiling what otherwise would have been a memorable 9 holes.

With the driver back in the bag on the 1st I drifted a little right but avoided the ditch and got past the end of the tree line. A nice 182 yard 5-wood then set me up to put a hybrid shot pin-high, just off the right of the green. I putted on and single putted for a par 5, a nett birdie.

As is now my practice I took my 23 degree hybrid off the tee on the 2nd, there being a ditch and out-of-bounds to the right that will trap any slice. The hybrid is more controllable and I hit it 150 yards, which was more than acceptable. The same club should then have reached the green but I was heavy on the shot and needed to chip on with my 9-iron, which strayed right, needing another gentle 7-iron chip-and-run and a single putt to finish for a nett par 5.

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Durham City Golf Club - 15/08/16

We took our clubs to Durham and played the Durham City course with Helen's mum, who's recently joined, having only taken up golf a couple of years ago. On a beautiful sunny day we teed off at 13.24 on this picturesque and well-maintained course. What could go wrong?

I took my 5-wood and left the driver at home. On the 1st, a par 5, the tee shot went a little right but the next 5-wood was a corker at 184 yards. Unfortunately I then put a hybrid shot into the trees to the right but managed to play out with a 7-iron, and then chip on with the same club for 5. Two putts gave me a nett bogey 7. Not a bad start.

The second is a par 3 and my 5-wood again went right. I chipped on with the 7-iron but needed three putts to finish for a nett bogey 5.

The 3rd has the River Browny running along the right so I forsook the 5-wood and teed off with my 20 degree hybrid. It went over trees to the left but when I reached the ball it wasn't in trouble. Trees impeded a forward shot so I chipped out to the middle of the fairway. Another good 5-wood got me just short of the green from where I pitched on with the 9-iron and two putted for a nett bogey 6. So far, so good.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 11/08/16

Golf two days running - most unusual. Today was my normal Thursday outing with my friend who's also a Bob. I was still feeling a bit washed out after all the coughing and sneezing of the last week, pushing the trolly being a bit more of an effort than usual.

Today I had the 3-wood and 5-wood in the bag, the driver having been left in the garage. I rushed my shot a bit on the 1st as we had jumped in an apparently vacant tee-time, but having done so a group were seen coming up to the tee. I got under the ball with the 5-wood lofting it into the trees on the left. It wasn't a bad distance, 152 yards, but I had to play out using my 20 degree hybrid to keep the shot low through the trees. This was successful and I then hit a long 5-wood allowing me to put an 8-iron onto the green. After yesterday's under-hit putt, today I got close to the pin and putted in for 6, a nett par. Not bad considering the shaky start.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 10/08/16

I've had a terrible cough and a bit of a raised temperature over the past week and I missed my normal Monday game. Today Helen suggested that I come along with her and although I still felt a bit under the weather I decided to give it a try. It was breezy and a bit chilly to start with but soon warmed up, the wind being a bit troublesome on some holes.

I had 20 balls on the range before teeing off. The driver was occasionally slicing but the 5-wood was going very well. This fact influenced my game after the disastrous 4th.

My drive on the 1st was exemplary, well for me at least - 198 yards down the middle of the fairway. This was followed by an exceptional 5-wood, which added 201 yards. I then put a 9-iron shot on the green for 3 on this par 5 - what a start. Unfortunately the pin was at the back of the green and I was at the front, and my putt was well short as I didn't allow for the slight upslope. It took two more putts for a disappointing 6, although it was a nett par.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 04/08/16

I was one degree under today recovering from a cough and a temperature, but having sat indoors for two days I needed to get out. A warm day but the wind was gusty and problematic on some holes. Cloud was building but rain stayed away.

A good straight drive on the 1st set me off well, and the next 5-wood was also good, allowing me to put the next hybrid to the right of the green. The 7-iron chip on was too strong and put me off the back of the green. I putted on and then two-putted for 7, a nett bogey.

I took my 23 degree hybrid off the 2nd tee for accuracy and was surprised when it went 160 yards. My next hybrid went through the green but a good 8-iron chip set me up for the par putt, a nett birdie.

Unusually I shanked my 20 degree hybrid off the 3rd tee and ended up close to the out of bounds line, almost the identical place to where I put an 8-iron last time out. Like last time I hit a good 8-iron over the trees, which landed within putting distance of the pin. Unfortunately I didn't make the putt, but a 4 was acceptable after the 8-iron recovery shot. A nett par. Read More…

Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 01/08/16

Fresh from relative success at Corby, today I first spent a while on the driving range to try to sort out the dreaded 9-iron shank that possibly cost me a winning score last Friday. I think I made a bit of progress as although I only took 20 balls, by the end I was managing to hit the gap wedge through to the 7-iron reasonably straight. It was a matter of coming through closer to my body, with less of an out-swing on the club. Difficult to describe but I know what I mean.

The 1st started as it often does, with me going left into the trees. I tickled the ball out through the trees gaining very little distance. I then hit a lovely couple of hybrids to get me pin high off the right of the green for 4. A 7-iron chip-and-run went in, giving me a par 5, nett birdie 4. A good start considering the short clearance from the trees.

I took a 23 degree hybrid on the 2nd to ensure accuracy, and it worked. At 157 yards it wasn't much shorter than a drive, but all importantly it was mid fairway. The next hybrid scuttled along the ground, being poorly hit, but nevertheless almost reached the green. A gap wedge chip and two putts for 5, a nett par.

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Corby Priors Hall - 29/07/16

I came close to winning a prize today and it was only a couple of silly mistakes that robbed me of it. This was my second time at Corby and while the 1st tee is memorable, located as it is at the top of a hill, I couldn't remember much about most of the other holes, although I recognised them as we went around. It was drizzling as we started but this cleared quickly and after a mixture of cloud and sun during the morning it became very warm after midday.

People were having trouble off the first tee, but I landed just off the fairway to the right and then put my next hybrid shot just short of the green. A 7-iron chip and one putt for a par was a very good start and a nett birdie for 3 points.

By contrast the 2nd was very sad. A good 180 yard drive was again followed by a good hybrid leaving me 50 yards from the green. I then shanked my 9-iron into the bunker to the right. The bunkers on this course aren't friendly and I proceeded to have three unsuccessful attempts to get out before picking up for a blob. My auspicious start had been immediately nullified.

I recovered with a 6 on the par 5, 3rd, a nett par. I kept out of trouble all the way, with a drive, two 5-woods, a 9-iron, 7-iron and one putt.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 28/07/16

A warm day with light winds although rain was threatened for later. I'm out with the Mad Cats group tomorrow so today was a 9-hole practice session.

My usual playing partner, another Bob, wanted me to try a different approach on the 1st. I have been going into the trees to the left because of the fear of the ditch and out of bounds on the right. He gave me a couple of found balls and suggested I try for a straight drive. This actually worked and I was 160 yards out in the middle of the fairway. The next 5-wood was thin and skimmed along for about 120 yards but the following one was well hit at 157 yards, leaving me a short 7-iron chip-and-run. A putt for a par 5 was definitely on but in the end I needed two for a 6, a nett par.

The 2nd also has a ditch and out of bounds on the right, aggravated by the fact that the ground falls away towards this hazard, meaning anything rightish will probably bounce or roll in. Bob again suggested a more positive approach as I have recently been going into trees to the left on this hole as well. This time it didn't work. I took a hybrid hoping for greater accuracy but this sliced into the ditch. I then took the driver, which hit the fairway but was turning right. The slope of the ground ensured that it also found the ditch. Amazingly we found both balls, so I played the first after a penalty drop. A good hybrid almost got me to the green. A chip on and two putts for a 6, a nett bogey, which wasn't bad after the penalty drop.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 25/07/16

A warm but not excessively hot day with light winds.

I managed to redeem myself a bit after last Thursday's meltdown. In fact things started off similarly, with my first drive going left into the trees. This time, though, I had space to loft an 8-iron over the trees back onto the fairway, from where I hit a good 5-wood to within 50 yards of the green. The following 9-iron shanked right of the green, and my 7-iron chip was feeble, but with two putts for a 7, I managed a nett bogie. If I had made a decent 9-iron it could have easily been a par 5.

On the 2nd, again like last Thursday, I put my hybrid tee shot into the left side trees. The clearance was poor but a good hybrid took me to the right of the green. The 7-iron chip was again weak and I needed two putts for a nett bogie 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 21/07/16

Over two weeks since I played and it showed. A somewhat cooler day after a few days of suffocating heat, but it was still very warm. The wind was light and the course in good shape, so no excuses other than bad play. I forgot to take my Game Golf device, and my Garmin distance finder, but given my performance that was probably a good thing.

I took 20 balls on the range to get my hand back in, but worryingly I was tending to slice my drives, something that carried over to the course. Conscious of the possibility of a slice, I erred to the left on the 1st, anything right being out-of-bounds. Left it went, into the trees. I got out with a somewhat lucky shot that was thinned but scooted along a fair distance forward. The next 5-wood was again thin, but the following hybrid put me to the right of the green just past the pin for 4. A putt on bumped over a blanked-off hole, which slowed it, and I needed two more putts for a 7, nett bogie.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 04/07/16

Our Monday morning practice round. A beautiful warm day with mainly light winds, although it gusted at times as the cloud cover started to build during the round.

My drive and two 5-woods on the 1st set me up to pitch on the green, but the 9-iron was a bit thin and went off the back. I chipped back on with the 7-iron but needed two putts to finish with a 7, a nett bogey for one point.

The drive was too far left on the 2nd and I had to play out of rough in the trees. I thinned the 8-iron but it was one of those lucky shots where the mistake didn't affect the outcome that much. The ball went low and ran to within 20 yards of the green. A gap wedge chip and one putt for a par, nett birdie and 3 points.

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Tydd St Giles Golf & Country Club - 01/07/16

The second outing this year for the Mad Cats seniors' group. And a new course for me.

There were nine four-ball groups playing today and the club gave us a good breakfast before we started and a very enjoyable meal after we played. I went out in the second group of two men and two women.

It was a Stableford individual competition for small prizes. Because of this I picked up on holes 6 and 17 and didn't putt out. My Game Golf system doesn't really cater for Stableford, where you occasionally pick up, as it records stroke play. Therefore, for the purposes of completing the Game Golf scorecard I have added shots based on an assumed putting out total, but officially only the Stableford score is valid.

I started brilliantly. Having put my drive a little left I took a hybrid and played over trees to almost reach the 1st green. A perfect 7-iron chip-and-run left me with an easy putt for a par 4, a nett birdie and 3 points. The 2nd was just as good, having reached the green in two, I two-putted for another par 4, and 3 more points.
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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 30/06/16

Back to mediocrity!

After what has been a quite good run of games today went badly. The weather forecast had said 19C but in fact it turned out to be very warm with a light wind. Having donned a long-sleeved shirt I soon became too hot. Whether that was a factor in my poor play who can say.

It started well. On the green in 4 on the 1st and two putts for 6, a nett par.

The 2nd also played out nigh-on perfectly. On the green in 2 and two putts for 4, a nett birdie.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 23/06/16

It seems that the worse thing possible with golf is to assume that you're getting better. Whether this causes you not to concentrate quite as hard, or whether it's just the randomness of the game, but as soon as you feel that you may have your golf under control, it all seems to fall apart again.

I've had a few good rounds recently but this morning I couldn't seem to do anything right. My drive on the 1st drifted right and just failed to clear the tree line. I took a provisional, which I ended up playing as the first had indeed gone into the trees, which are out of bounds. The provisional had landed on the path, so I dropped and played a good hybrid followed by a good 5-wood to put myself about 30 yards from the green. The pitch was short and I needed three putts to finish, giving me a 9 for a nett triple bogey.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 21/06/16

I missed my usual Monday golf yesterday because of the rain, so today Helen and I went out for 9 holes. After yesterday's rain, today was warm and bright, with plenty of sunshine and very little wind. Other than the bunkers, the effects of yesterday's heavy rain were minimal.

I have had a good run of games recently and I started the 1st confidently with a good drive 175 yard onto the fairway. I then ruined everything by pulling my 5-wood shot, which hit a small tree on the left of the path and dropped immediately beneath it. A back-flipped 7-iron was all I could do to get it out. The next 5-wood was good but then I put a hybrid shot into the deep bunker to the left of the green. I got out but needed another chip to get on the green and two putts to finish with a 9 - nett triple bogey. Not a good start.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 16/06/16

I seem to be on a bit of a roll. Rain had been threatened but the forecast changed and we were treated to a warm largely overcast morning with hardly a breath of wind. Whether it was these benign conditions, or the fact that I'm actually starting to get a grip on this game, I can't say, but I managed my best 9-hole round to date.

The drive on the 1st went left but the lie in the rough was good, from where I hit my hybrid 153 yards, setting me up for a 5-wood to the green. I was, however, still about 180 yards out so I didn't expect to reach it. In fact I nearly did, and a 7-iron chip-and-run set me up for a par putt, which I made. A very good start.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 09/06/16

There are usually two groups of us who play on Thursdays, one men and the other women. My usual playing partners were away today so I played with the women. After a slightly chilly start the sun broke through and it was a very warm day with little wind. Also, quite unusually, we were on our own for nearly the whole round, with the nearest group a couple of holes in front and no sign of anybody behind. This made for a very calm and tranquil day, only punctuated by bird calls, including a very persistent cuckoo.

On the 1st a drive and two 5-woods, each of around 145 yards, got me to pitching distance of the green, which I reached, only to spoil things with three putts for a nett bogey 7. My drive on the second strayed too close to the sloping bank on the right and the ball rolled into the water-filled ditch. I took a drop but didn't hit the next shot very well, leaving me a lot to do to pitch on. In fact I needed two shots to get to the green and two-putted for another 7, but this time a blob.

It gets better - read on!

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 06/06/16

Well, summer seems to have arrived. After last Thursday's very cold game today the sun shone, it was very warm and there was hardly any wind. Perfect conditions in fact.

My friend Bob put his drive in the right hand trees on the 1st, and I then did exactly the same. But by a stroke of good luck mine hit a tree and bounced back out onto the fairway. A couple of decent 5-woods got me within range of the green and then a second stroke of luck steered a badly hit 8-iron along the ground and onto the green. Two putts and a nett par 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 02/06/16

June 2nd, cold, cutting north-easterly wind, at times drizzly, what a start to summer. Nine holes were more than enough today.

A really good start to what wasn't a bad nine holes, considering the strong wind. A long straight drive off the first tee to 190 yards, followed by a 154 yard 5-wood. The next hybrid shot was one club short, needing a 7-iron chip-and-run onto the green, and two putts for a nett par 6. The 2nd was also good, my drive again being down the middle, and the subsequent 5-wood putting me on the green. Two putts again but this time for a nett birdie 4.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 30/05/16

Back from holiday and my first time on the golf course for nearly a month to play in a charity friendly competition. We were playing as a four-ball, me and three women. It was a full handicap competition with two scores counting on the par 5s, three on the par 4s and all four on the par 3s.

It was a split start with some of us teeing off on hole 10. I didn't mind this as this hole is far more forgiving than the 1st. However, the tee shot was a feeble miss-hit that went just over 70 yards into the rough and trees on the left. My 8-iron attempt to get out managed under 40 yards but then I hit my 5-wood 125 yards to get back in contention. The next 5-wood wasn't so good, clipping trees and making only 55 yards. Now on four, I needed to get down in three more shots to save a point. A good hybrid shot got me just off the green followed by a sweet 7-iron chip-and-run giving me a simple putt for nett-bogey 7.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 02/05/16

Today I played an Irish 4 ball club competition. In case you don't know what that is, as I didn't, a 4-person team plays to their normal Stableford handicaps and the scoring is as follows:

Holes 1-6: score of a player with highest Stableford points.
Holes 7-11: scores of two highest scoring players.
Holes 12-15: scores of three highest scoring players.
Holes 16-17: all four scores.

Needless to say, for the later holes we didn't always have enough scoring players to contribute!

The weather forecast had been threatening but we managed to complete the course before the rain arrived, although play was terribly slow with us having to wait on nearly every hole before teeing off or playing to the green. The wind freshened considerably throughout the game and was a factor on a number of holes.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 28/04/16

Today could have been the day that I played nine holes without messing up, but it wasn't to be. A beautiful sunny morning and despite a somewhat wet course after heavy rain yesterday, the conditions were generally good.

A sensible drive on the 1st set me off, but I then miss-hit my 5-wood into the trees on the left. After a safety shot out I put a hybrid shot about 90 yards from the green and pitched on with my 8-iron. Two putts gave me a gross 7, nett bogey, which wasn't bad after the earlier mistake.

I had a bit of luck on the 2nd where my drive went left into trees but rolled back out onto the fairway. Unfortunately my hybrid shot found the right hand bunker, but I played out and two-putted for a gross 5, nett par.

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Bourn Golf & Leisure Club - 21/04/16

Today was the first outing of the season with the 'Mad Cats', so named because they used to meet in the pub of that name near to the Lakeside Lodge course. It's a seniors' club that plays once a month at different courses, which offers the opportunity to try new challenges.

I hadn't played the Bourn course previously and for me it turned out to be a mixture of success and failure. The weather was kind. Not a lot of sun but it was bright and the wind wasn't too troublesome.

The par 3, 1st sets an immediate challenge with a water-filled ditch in front of the green. I opted for my driver, which unsurprisingly overshot the green but not by much. A chip back on and two putts for a 4 gave me a nett par and two points.

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Lakeside Lodge - Church Course - 18/04/16

The main course was busy today. We had no problem playing on it over the winter but now the weather has improved slightly a new cohort of golfers are out and about. We decided, therefore, to play the Church Course, a 6-hole course that's due to close later this year. In the past I've used this course as a practice area, as it's not all that popular with the 'serious' golfers.

Today, however, our decision was a mistake. With all the rain we've had recently the course was effectively waterlogged. The rough was impossible and the fairway grass was ridiculously long, making any kind of shot a bit of a lottery. And the greens were more like the surrounding aprons, needing a fairly bold putt to get anywhere. In such conditions practice is almost pointless, as you're playing in conditions that you would hope never to meet in a normal game.

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Lakeside Lodge- Manor Course - 11/04/16

The Lodge Course was closed for maintenance this Monday so we went on the Manor Course. We haven't played it at all over the winter as it's been closed.

The 1st hole has been shortened and the men and women now play off the same tee, situated between two lakes about 110 yards from the pin. Previously the men played from further back and had to play across both lakes. My tee shot was length perfect but the right to left wind drifted it to the left of the green, where it plugged in very muddy ground. There followed a comedy of errors as I took three attempts to cover less than 15 yards and then two-putted for a poor gross 6 on what is a par 3.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 09/04/16

On Saturday I played in a friendly club competition. It was mixed pairs and my playing partner was one of Helen's friends who had wanted to play but didn't have a partner, so I obliged. It was Stableford better-ball, meaning that we took the score of the player in the pair who recorded the highest Stableford points for each hole. Unfortunately we were required to play to 90% of our normal handicap, and as I play off an entirely unrealistic 24, which I've never managed to play to, this meant I was reduced to 22. In other words there were only four holes where I benefitted from two additional strokes, the remainder only giving me one. This meant that to score I was limited to a maximum of two over par on most holes. Much easier said than done. My partner, Wendy, was playing off 35, this having been reduced to 33. You won't be surprised to hear, therefore, that she did most of the scoring. Out of our total of 35 I only contributed 4, these being holes that she blobbed.

Early rain had cleared and after a grey period it turned out really nice. It was in fact a very pleasant day.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 07/04/16

I had a better day today. We teed off at 09.22, a bit earlier than normal, as the course was busy. There was a chilly wind and the threat of rain later in the day. I arrived with only a little time in hand so there wasn't much chance to warm up or practise.

On the 1st I managed not to go as far left as I have been doing, ending up on the path, from where I dropped. My next shot was slightly obstructed by a conifer but I managed a decent hybrid down the fairway, from where I hit another longer hybrid putting me about 100 yards from the green. I pitched on and two-putted for a 6, which is highly respectable for me on this par 5.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 04/04/16

Another day, another struggle on the golf course. I sometimes wonder why I bother. Conditions were generally good, with a very light wind that only freshened slightly when we had a bit of rain on holes 7 and 8. So what went well? I continue to hit some solid drives but am still going left. Not a draw, but straight drives in the wrong direction. I watched a video this week where the pro was talking about hitting the ball on the upstroke for greater length, but he cautioned that this would make the drive go left. He suggested setting up with a stance aiming slightly right. I tried this today on holes where actually going right wouldn't have been a disaster, and it seems to have promise. It also indicates, perhaps, that I'm hitting on the upstroke.

I also experimented using my 20 degree hybrid for fairway shots in place of my 5-wood, the latter having been a bit random lately. The wood is a longer club but not by much, as demonstrated on the 2nd today when I hit the hybrid 151 yards to the green. Bar one slightly wild shot on the 4th the hybrid certainly behaved more predictably than the wood. I managed to miss-hit the 5-wood off the tee on both the 3rd and 5th par threes, which further reduced my confidence in it, although I think perhaps I set the tee too low on both occasions.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 31/03/16

A glorious day with bright sunshine and hardly any wind, so it's not possible to blame the weather for anything. If blame is to be apportioned, it must go to the sticky fertiliser that had been spread over the greens. It certainly slowed the ball and left it sticky to touch. My putting wasn't good.

The 1st started well with a drive of around 170 yards down the middle. Pity, therefore, that I totally miss-hit the next 5-wood, pushing it into the trees on the left. A somewhat lucky clearance set me up to put the next shot on the green for 4. I then ruined everything by three-putting. A strong drive on the 2nd clipped the tall tree on the left, which is becoming a habit. Luckily it was playable but it needed a lofted shot over other trees and my attempt to loft and get distance with a 7-iron only succeeded in hitting a tree again. I played a safety shot out and then proceeded to put the next 9-iron shot in the right hand bunker. A decent bunker shot got me on the green for 5 and a single putt gave me a nett bogey, which wasn't bad considering I'd hit two trees and got out of a bunker.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 24/03/16

Yet another day of hope that ended with the now familiar story of mistakes and missed opportunities. Such is golf.

Rain was forecast for 1pm so the decision was made to play only 9 holes, which proved to be a good decision as the rain arrived precisely as predicted.

The tee shot on the 1st was a bit leftish and settled in light rough, but at just under 180 yards it was long for me. The next hybrid shot was also long taking me to the 150 yard marker, but it settled on a small hill in long grass. Unfortunately I muffed my attempt to hit a long hybrid shot out of this lie, and also left the next shot short of the green. I was finally on the green for 5 and two-putted for a gross 7.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 21/03/16

Sometimes nothing seems to go right, and today was one of those days. In fact I debated even writing up the diary as there wasn't very much positive to report. But I suppose that you have to take the rough with the smooth, although in my case for smooth read 'not so rough'.

I had 20 balls on the range before starting and to be honest things weren't going to well at that stage. My drives were drifting right, which may have been due in part to the crosswind, and the 5-wood off the mat wasn't too encouraging either.

The tee shot off the 1st was actually good, 150 yards onto the fairway, but I then came down on top of the ball with my 5-wood, trickling the ball some 25 yards. The following 5-wood at 158 yards was more like it, but it drifted right into long rough. The hybrid shot out was short, followed by a 7-iron that was long, requiring another back onto the green for 6, and then two putts for a gross 8.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 17/03/16

A terrible start today but after that things settled down to what was an average round. Four holes blobbed, eight nett pars, five nett bogeys, and one true par. The weather was fine with plenty of sun although the north-easterly wind still had a chill to it. The course has dried out quite a bit and the temporary cordons around the greens have been removed, allowing push-trollies to approach.

The 1st was a disaster. My first drive sliced into the trees to the right. I took a provisional that went straight and long, but we found the first ball in the bank of the ditch that runs along the front of the trees. I dropped and played a hybrid that unfortunately ran into the trees on the left, ending up in an almost unplayable position. I managed to get out by back-flipping my 7-iron. A decent 5-wood then drifted right into the rough, from where I pitched on with my 8-iron, but I was already on 6. Two putts gave me a gross 8 and a blob.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 10/03/16

We shouldn't have played today. After yesterday's monsoon the course was saturated, with large areas of standing water. And even where it appeared drier the ground was soft and unforgiving of any slightly thick shots. It was, however, a bit warmer and there was hardly any wind.

I put my drive left on the 1st, which is becoming the standard opening. My shot out of the rough was clean but went too far across the fairway and it took a while to find the ball in the long wet grass. I played out with an 8-iron and then put a hybrid about 50 yards short of the green. An iron and two putts gave me a gross 7 for one point. Not too bad a start considering the haphazard approach.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 07/03/16

Mondays are for practice but today I felt that I was practising to play badly. Having over the past couple of weeks got the driver back into play, and reasonably under control, today my fairway shots went to pieces. The course had dried out a bit since Friday's boggy conditions but the ground was still very soft. There was also a cold wind and towards the end of the nine holes my hands were starting to get numb. I've stopped carrying my clubs because the carry-bag strap was aggravating a shoulder problem. I am now pushing a trolly, meaning that I can't keep my hands in my gilet pockets between shots.

It started to go wrong after my first drive, which was itself long but ran across the path on the left and into the rough. An attempt to use my 5-wood failed miserably, the ball going only 25 yards. The next 5-wood shot was long but went to the right of the fairway, again into the rough. My hybrid shot out was slightly sliced and ended up on the top of the right-hand bank, where the ground conditions resembled a ploughed field. The iron shot from there crossed the green, requiring a long chip back, and then two putts for a gross 8 and a blobbed hole.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 04/03/16

Golf two days on the trot! The reason being that after yesterday's game the seniors' captain asked if I would stand in for somebody in the Seniors' Pairs Match. I was a bit unsure but in the end agreed. Two pairs play together and each pair scores by adding their handicap-adjusted Stableford points. It's a high-low handicap pairing and I was paired with a 10 handicapper.

After yet more heavy overnight rain the course was extremely wet and difficult. But the weather was glorious, if a little nippy.

The first drive in any competition is stressful, well it is for me at least. I hit a good shot but it went left towards the path. Unfortunately when I got to the ball it was in an unplayable position nestling up against a tree. So a penalty drop after only one shot! Not a good start, particularly as I ended up with a gross 8, and needed no more than a 7 to score.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 03/03/16

Golf is a crazy game. Last week I thought I was well on the way to upping my game, and today I came back down to earth. Things just weren't working.

It was a cold bright day, becoming noticeably colder later in the afternoon, to the extent that I became chilled. Heavy rain and sleet over the previous day and night had made many of the fairways squelchy, with standing water in many places. I think this impacted my 5-wood shots as I messed up more than I normally would during the course of a game. We were back on the proper tee boxes and my driving wasn't bad although a few went left, which in a couple of cases left me in tricky lies. So that's the excuses out of the way.

It all started so well, a long putt giving me an unusual par on the 1st. A gross 5 (nett par) on the second was then followed by a gross 4 (nett par) on the 3rd. Given the first three holes can be game breakers this was a perfect start for me. The 4th is often my nemesis, and so it was today. I put a long drive left onto the bank, from where I had to play a safe little chip back onto the fairway. I then had two poor hybrid shots, followed by an under-hit chip, requiring a long putt from off the green and two more to sink the ball. All adding up to a gross 9!

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 29/02/16

After last Thursday's encouraging round I thought that it had all gone pear-shaped again today. We did the Par 3 course while we were waiting for our tee time. Now the weather has improved the course is busier, so having just turned up and played during the less clement weather we now have to wait our turn - or book a tee! The Par 3 didn't go all that well, which was I suppose a bit of an omen.

My friend Bob persuaded me to use my driver on the 1st, against my better judgement, but I got away with it, albeit that the shot didn't go much further than I have been getting with my more accurate hybrid. The next two 5-woods each screamed along the ground as I failed to get any loft, although between them they added about 220 yards. An 8-iron got me on the green for 4, but three putts meant I got a gross 7 (nett bogey). Not a brilliant start.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 25/02/16

At one point today I thought that I was going to manage to complete a round without a blob, but I'm afraid I dropped one hole. That said, it was perhaps my best round ever. Certainly my 47 on the front nine beats my previous best of 49.

I mentioned recently that I had modified my swing by trying to keep my right upper arm tight to my body, thus avoiding loose arms that invariably cause the downswing to suffer. On Monday I took my driver to the range to see if this technique would correct the dreaded slice that had caused me to take the driver out of the bag. I only tried 20 balls but the results were encouraging. I tried again on Tuesday, but this time took the driver, 5-wood and 8-iron to the range, playing them repeatedly in sequence to emulate a tee shot, fairway wood and then an iron. Again this went well.

So today the driver was put into action, but not until the 4th, as I'm still wary of the right-hand hazards on both the 1st and 2nd holes.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 19/02/16

I joined Helen and two of her friends today for the front nine. I wanted to have another try with my modified swing, as mentioned yesterday, involving keeping the right arm tight to my body. This limits the backswing, which actually is no bad thing, as an extended backswing in my case (and for many people) involves the right arm lifting and this can mess up the downswing.

Another beautiful morning, a bit chilly but bright and the wind was light, but it freshened considerably later in the round. We're still playing off the mats, unfortunately.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 17/02/16

Helen, my wife, had a golf lesson today and I went along. As with a large percentage of high handicap golfers, her problem, like mine, is one of coming round on the ball, or coming from the outside on the downstroke. This, of course, creates the infamous slice as well as introducing a host of other problems. One tip the pro gave her was to keep the right arm close to the body on the backswing, as this helps to discourage the 'outside-to-in' action. I thought that I should give this a try.

Keeping the arm close to the body in this way limits my backswing because my rotational flexibility is itself limited by age and a history of back problems. So while disassociating the arm from the body allowed me to artificially increase the length of the backswing, by swinging the arms further than a simple body turn would permit, this brought with it the problem of the arms adopting an outside to inside downswing. A few swings on the practice range with the 5-wood using the revised approach seemed to produce good results, with the drives going straight and the dreaded slice absent.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 16/02/16

Another valiant attempt to do better that came to nowt. I can't blame the weather, which was fine for February, and the course is in fair shape considering what it has had to endure this winter. We are, however, still playing off mats, which can be problematic in terms of getting the tee height right.

The 1st hole didn't go too badly, marred by a three-putt finish, although the spiked green played a part in that, leaving me three over for a gross 8. With the exception of the 8th, the remainder of the front nine wasn't too bad - two bogeys and five double bogeys. The usually tricky 4th was accomplished in 6 (nett par), with me being just off the green for 3. At the 8th a couple of lacklustre approach shots meant I didn't get on the green until my sixth shot, giving me a four-over 8 after two putts.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 11/02/16

A glorious day, sun shining, almost like spring, but it didn't make me play any better. Yet again there were a handful of holes where I managed to run up high scores, while the remaining holes were acceptable for my standard of play.

I had a fairly clean approach to the 1st, but my final shot to the green didn't make it, and the next one ran off to the left into rough. A chip and 2 putts left me with an 8.

The 2nd and 3rd were nett pars but once again things fell apart on the 4th. My approach was fine but the third shot landed on a bank on the right, just inside the tree line. I was only about 70 yards from the green and should have been on for 4, but I shanked the shot and pushed the ball over the bank, requiring a penalty drop, the next shot landing just off the green for 6. A putt onto the green and two more putts gave me a 9.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 09/02/16

Yet another erratic round of golf. A disastrous start, after which I settled down a bit, only to fall apart again on the last two holes of the front nine. The back nine was a lot better, not brilliant, but better. After yesterday's tempest the weather was very kind. There were long spells of sunshine that were quite warming, although the breeze was still there, and it was freshening as we played the back nine.

My tee shot on the 1st was an inelegant miss-hit that sent the ball almost directly to the right into the trees, and out of bounds. So 3 off the tee and the second attempt went into the trees on the left, but at least it covered some distance before so doing. Trying to keep the ball low with my 7-iron, I completely fluffed the shot, although the ball ended up in a better position from where I played out of the trees and up the fairway, but I was now on 5. I got on the green for 7 but three-putted for 10. As I said, a disastrous start.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 04/02/16

Another potentially good 9 holes spoiled by what were for the most part avoidable mistakes, although the spiked 9th green didn't do me any favours.

We're still playing off mats, which can make setting up the tee a bit tricky. Fortunately this only caused me a problem on the 6th, when I knew the tee was too high but played the ball anyway. This was the only bad tee shot, going only about 50 yards.

The wind had abated compared to recent outings although was still gusty in places. Fortunately a bit of drizzle didn't come to anything and we survive the round dry.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 01/02/16

Another round spoiled by silly mistakes, although the weather didn't help. The wind was gusting and towards the end of the round became consistently strong, requiring that shots needed to be played with allowance for wind drift. I got all the tee shots away, not always quite how I would have liked, but there were no complete failures. This is more than can be said for some of the approach shots, the worst being a fairway hybrid shot that I attempted to drive into the ground, but which actually ended up a couple of feet behind where it started!

The 1st hole wasn't bad until I four-putted for a gross 9. The heavily spiked green was a lot faster than I had allowed for, although having sailed past the pin with my chip and run, I really shouldn't have gone so far past on the return putt.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 28/01/16

Things did not go well today. The weather was fine, which makes a change lately, although the wind was a bit fresh. The greens are open again but we're still off temporary tees. However, the muddy patches that were the temporary tees have now been replaced by mats. The only problem with this is setting up tees on these mats, as it is sometimes difficult to get the right height.

I'm not going to bore you with a blow by blow account as there isn't much to rejoice about. The first three holes didn't go too badly, a nett bogey followed by two nett pars. On the 4th I put my third shot in the lake, thus picking up a penalty, and finished the hole with a gross 8. The 5th wasn't much better as I put the first tee shot out of bounds to the right, but managed a nett bogey. The 6th was a mini disaster; a wayward tee shot and an unlucky bounce on the spiked green, followed by three putts, led to another gross 8. There was slight redemption with a nett par on the 7th, and a nett bogey on the 8th, only to screw up the 9th with a gross 9.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 21/01/16

I was in two minds whether to play today as in addition to the need to play off temporary tees, the greens have now also been closed. Temporary holes are never much fun and so it was to prove today.

We played off the red tees again as at least some of them were still open. The 1st didn't start well. It was very cold and I had been waiting to tee off for about 20 minutes, my shot going into the trees on the left. A good clearance (117 yards) put me in the rough on the right. The next shot was poor but the fourth got me to within a pitch of the temporary hole. In fact it took me two pitches, the rough rock-solid ground not helping. Then came the putting, which was a joke. On other holes they had created the temporary greens within the run-up apron onto the green proper. But on the first there is no such apron, so we were literally putting through the rough! Totally pointless, as nothing in one's previous putting experience prepares you for that. The end result was a 9.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 18/01/16

Another good start today but it quickly went downhill. My spirits were, however, lifted by a good spell in the middle of the 9-hole round, only to be demolished by a terrible performance on the 9th.

The dry weather continues but the temperature is now more characteristic of January. It was nevertheless a pleasant day that would have been even better without the chilling wind.

We were a three-ball today and once more played off the red tees, for reasons already mentioned when reporting previous rounds, and also because Claire, a friend, joined us today.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 15/01/16

We didn't play yesterday because of the rain, but today the sun was shining, although it was necessary to wrap up against the cold wind. My friend Bob and I played 9 holes on the Lodge Course. Having told him I had been playing off the ladies tees while our tee boxes were closed, he said he would like to give it a try.

I started very well. The tee shot was to the right of the fairway, and my second shot added nearly 150 yards, allowing me to put the third on the green, a single putt giving me a true birdie on this par 5. The cold weather had firmed up the ground a bit, but there were still a lot of soft areas.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 12/01/16

Another Tuesday game today, this time as a nine-hole two-ball with Helen. The course is still very wet and the men are playing off temporary tees, some of which are not much better than muddy patches. I played off the red tees with Helen. In these conditions we are only practising so the advantage I get isn't really an issue, and it's largely offset by the ground conditions.

I was really quite pleased with my game today. I parred three holes, the 3rd and 5th (par 3s) and the par 4, 6th. However, the 1st didn't start off too well as I put my tee shot into the trees on the left. Having dropped clear of standing water, a poorly hit 8-iron put me back on the fairway, but with little added distance. The next two shots were good, taking me on to the green, but three putts for a gross 7 wasn't a good finish.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 05/01/16

I don't usually play on Tuesdays but yesterday I joined Helen with some of her friends to play the Lodge Course. An acquaintance of Helen, Paul, joined us: he plays off 7 and offered some helpful tips during the round.

Because of a bit of a mix up we ended up playing as a five-ball, which strictly speaking isn't allowed. But there wasn't anybody behind us. We let a two-ball through at the 10th, and it wasn't until the 16th that anybody else came up behind. So no real harm done.

Although the weather was extremely kind for a January day, no wind, occasional sunshine and not too cold, the ground conditions were as bad as I've ever seen them. It's a wonder that the course is still open. All the men's tee boxes were closed with temporary tee points to the front, often in long grass. However, many of the women's tees were still playable, and where not, they had been combined with the men's temporary tees. So Paul and I decided to play off the women's tees, which also sped things up as we were a five-ball.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 31/12/15

Yesterday was try out day for my new Game Golf device. We usually play the Lodge Course on a Thursday and we have been playing nine holes during winter. It's a bit of a trudge in the heavy conditions and I carry during the winter, so 18 holes can be a bit exhausting.

It was a lovely bright day, a bit chillier than of late, very windy but dry! However, the course wasn't dry, far from it. Some areas were quite waterlogged and we had to play off uncut grass in front of the tee boxes in a few cases, as the ground staff were obviously trying to protect heavily used patches. The approaches to the greens were roped off to divert trollies but by carrying you can step over, part of the reason for doing it. Areas of long grass were very 'heavy' and it was best to avoid them if at all possible.

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