Saturday, April 25, 2009

Why I still like Golf

For the first time in a year I dusted down the golf clubs and had a knock around Marple Golf Club yesterday for the Marple Athletic Junior Football Club Golf Day. It remains a frustrating and deeply anxious pursuit for me. And yet I enjoy it's simple democratic beauty. I played with a couple of young men about my age and one of their father's-in-law. There's a wonderful soaring feeling when your drive goes straight - I don't really do distance - or when a putt plops in. But there is no more crushing emotion than topping a tee shot on a par 3, or of over hitting a green after getting there in enough shots to score.

But I come back for more and will do so again this summer. I especially like the way I have learnt new things from much older players and watched them master techniques that match their physical limits. Playing with my pal Joe Dwek at Dunham Forest a few years ago, I learnt the virtue of the long iron for a well hit runner - why chip when a runner will do the job and get you on the green?

I also like the self regulation and gentleman's spirit of the game. Cheats just aren't tolerated, you don't need stewards and referees, you play for enjoyment and the crack.

I'd like our sons to get the basics of this game. I couldn't manage a game of football now, and Matt challenged me to a sprint race this morning and beat me, but I loved a five hour hike with a military pack on my back yesterday. I can still see myself doing this with my sons in 30 years time, though I might have bought a trolley by then.

And my score? Rubbish - 17 Stableford points and three complete blobs involving lost balls in ravines and lakes. But the best bit? We didn't get the wooden spoon in the tournament. That was the honour of Dave Riley's team.

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