OKAY so I wasn’t in the shake-up for a Ryder Cup spot but it doesn’t matter that I wasn’t one of Monty’s wild cards – I made a team even Padraig Harrington couldn’t scramble onto.
And while strictly speaking we’re not a team –we don’t know each other and we’re unlikely to ever even play with each other – this is a team that everyone wants to be on. As of last Wednesday, I was one of the most improved golfers in the country. And I’ll take that over a trip to Celtic Manor any day of the week.
A score of 43 points at Castleknock the week before last was good enough for another two-shot cut to my handicap (1.8 to be exact), as I came in six shots below the Competition Scratch. In 12 days, from 7 August to 18 August, I’ve dropped five (4.4) shots, from 17 (16.7) to 12 (12.3).
And last week’s effort was good enough for the number 8 spot (category 3) in the Irish Independent’s weekly competition to find the most improved amateur golfer in the country.
So what’s the secret?
In Castleknock I was two under par after three holes. I drove the first hole, a short par four, and had my first ever putt for an eagle. On the third, a par three, I chipped in from a bunker. Things went south after that with a three putt double bogey but when my second shot from the fairway skimmed the water on the par-five sixth and ended up on dry land, I kind of guessed my luck was in.
The only frustrating thing was, I should have done better. I nearly chipped in for an eagle on the 10th, only to miss a birdie putt from four feet. I now realise that my vocabulary has extended beyond a world of bogeys and pars. At times this feels easy but just when that thought comes to mind the game bites back and takes a chunk out of your round. After three holes in Castleknock I was dreaming about a level par round; and by the turn I was two over.
Good golf is playing without thinking.
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