The Hacker: I keep the faith and gain one pound while eating all the pies

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There was a sad lack of self-belief in those who took part in our Captain's Day last week. Even I put money on myself to win but most others didn't bother to back themselves.

This proved very costly to the winning pair. They collected some nice glassware but missed out on £50. Someone had enough faith to put a fiver on them and he won £107.

There were plenty of others who were cursing their low confidence – five of the first 10 pairs lost good money by not even braving a pound on themselves.

Captain's Days differ in format from club to club. Ours dates back to the early days of the club's 120-year history and aims to improve harmony and fellowship.

Sometimes it does the exact opposite. The random pairing of men with different backgrounds and golfing skills in foursomes often leads to strained relationships.

We had 250 entries this year. Handicaps under 16 went into one hat and the higher ones into another. When the pairs were drawn some would know each other but most would not, and playing alternate shots with someone you are not used to playing with can be very nervy.

It is a great competition for a gamble, and for many years the club used to stage a rowdy auction with the fancied pairs attracting enormous bids. This led to such a rush of prize money that some pairs went out quaking in their boots.

It became so bad that the club cancelled the auction and decreed that each player could invest up to £10 on his own or other pairs. That still means that there could be up to £2,500 in prize money but, probably due to the credit crunch, there was only about £1,000 in the pot this year.

I was lucky in my pairing. I drew Steve, whom I had played in the singles knockout last month. I was two up after six holes and he won the next nine to beat me 4 and 3.

Remarkably, he didn't take up golf until four years ago when he won the All-Wales Bowls Championship. He decided he wanted a change of sport and hasn't bowled a bowl since.

He has been too busy getting down to a 12 handicap. Could he carry the pair of us, I wondered, and decided that it was worth investing £2 of my allocation.

When we met just before teeing off, he almost made me blush when he confidently declared: "I've had £5 on us." Unfortunately, it did not take me long to send that fiver, plus my two pounds, hurtling into the land of bad bets.

I put him in a bunker on the first and the second, then single-handedly cocked up the fourth. Steve had challenged our playing partners, Steve and Nev, to a quid side-bet on the cards. After nine we had 12 points and they had 17.

"Let's at least try to win something," suggested Steve, whose competitive spirit I hadn't completely crushed.

And we did. We scored 16 points on the back nine while they scored only 10, so we took the quid.

It was a very enjoyable day. The captain had arranged for Clark's pies, a local delicacy, to be available on several tees and I didn't go home cursing my lack of faith.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

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