Last time, you will recall, I had lost my glasses in a leylandii hedge, which abutted the 10th green… Well, I spent a further ten minutes looking for them and gave up after a rationalising process, which went: they were old and were always falling off; I needed a new pair… Some anxiety about whether Mrs Bamber would see it that way but I’d work that out later…
On to the 11th hole – a tricky 130 yard downhill par* three where you have to hit the ball over a beck to a narrow raised green. I took a 7 iron* and made a good connection but couldn’t see where the ball had gone. One of the things you are supposed to do when playing a shot is to keep your head as still as possible and focus on the ball. The disadvantage of this approach particularly if you are short-sighted and have lost your glasses in a leylandii hedge is there is every likelihood that you won’t have a clue where your ball has got to. Hitting it straight is not my strong point which only encourages the hide and seek factor… On this occasion only 2 or 3 minutes had passed before I found it; in the beck on the edge of the green some way left of where it should have been.
Now I like the 12th hole. It is a par 4 with a very wide expanse of fairway* to work with providing you avoid going right. So it was out with the driver and although I say so myself I made excellent contact with the ball. I then spent ten minutes looking for it… By the rules of golf, I think I should have given up after five minutes but the combined thoughts of having hit (I was sure) a good shot, a 35p ball’s disappearance and total frustration as to how can a ball have vaporized made my prolong a fruitless search. The only explanation is that a sparrow hawk had zoomed down and carried it off. I hope the ball gave it stomach-ache.
The rest of the round passed pretty uneventfully until I got to the 16th which is another short par 3. I missed the green on the left but was reasonably close to the green with a bunker not quite in my line to the hole. I took careful aim to miss the bunker… So, naturally, my third shot is from the sand in the middle of the bunker. I think my golf balls have some sort of homing device, which makes them attracted to sand. For reasons I don’t fully understand, when in a bunker you are supposed to hit the sand behind the ball… anyway it’s expletive-deleted difficult. I hit a wonder shot and the ball ended 5 feet from the hole. At this point I am afraid I engaged in some theatrics and gently tossed my sand iron* behind me, raised my hand in acknowledgement to the non existent crowd of spectators, generally milked the silent applause and raced on to the green and missed the putt.
The 17th is along par four with out of bounds – a river running all the way down the right hand side. I managed to get my ball down towards the green without visiting the 17th fairway at all, which I thought was some achievement: zigzagging between the 12th fairway on my left and the river bank on my right. I say ‘towards the green’ because my ball was actually in the bunker. More fatal sand attraction. “Ahh…” I thought, time for another miracle shot and this time I’ll hole the putt… I went through my golf bag only to find my sand iron missing. It is guaranteed that if you have mislaid a club then you will face a long walk to recover it – in this case nearly 400 yards. After I was re-united with my sand iron let’s just say there was no repeated miracle shot… And the putting was no better either.
Glossary of technical terms
Par – The number of shots a (very) competent golfer should take on any particular hole – it relates to the hole’s total distance; generally of absolutely no relevance to the hack golfer
7 iron – a metal club (hence, ‘iron’, although actually steel) with a more lofted head than a 6 iron but less than an 8 iron
Sand iron – another metal club with a very lofted head specially designed for (making a mess of) bunker shots
Fairway – the nice bit of grass (hence ‘fair way’) between where you start each hole (tee) and where you end (green). You are supposed to make sure your ball stays on the fairway