The Hacker: I was deep in the mire without my buggy. If only I had some cider


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Like most hackers, I have had more than my fair share of golfing days when everything seems to go wrong. But never before have I managed to inflict my miseries on a professional, even to the extent of costing him a few quid.

When our two major swindles, the Chips and the Crisps, staged their annual competition and dinner last Thursday, I was paired with the club's assistant professional, Peter Hunt.

Either the organisers were taking the mickey out of me or he had upset someone so much that this was his punishment. If the latter was the case, I suggest the punishment was enough to cover his next two misdemeanours.

I know Peter quite well and he is one of the many club pros who have attempted to cure my swing problems over the years. Like all of them, his hardest job when seeing me play is to suppress a wince.

Delighted as I was to see him, I wasn't in a good mood. Because of a sore achilles tendon I hadn't played for a month and the previous day I had played at Royal Porthcawl.

Although the tendon stood up to it, I was tired and had taken the precaution of booking a buggy to transport me around the course.Alas, overnight rain had soaked the place and buggies were banned.

Since I had left my electric trolleyat home, I was forced to hire a pull trolley and in those squelchy conditions I was knackered in no time tramping up our hills.

The competition involved prizes for individual scores, pairs and fours, and we added to it by having a private fourball better-ball with the pair we were playing with, Mike Hennessey and John Reece, for a modest wager of a pound for the first nine holes, a pound for the second nine and a pound for the match.

Peter, who like all professionals plays off scratch, had to give 24 shots to Mike and 18 to John but since I was getting 28 shots I felt fairly confident. Wrong again.

Mike and John dovetailed so well that Peter was having to get a birdie to be sure of winning a hole. All I could manage was a few halves.

We lost the sixth after Peter's second shot landed in front of the green and must have sank into the boggy ground because we never found it and went three down.

We went four down at the next to lose the first pound but we managed to win the next two holes – or rather Peter did – to make us two down at the turn.

The fact that we had both scored a mere 13 points each says it all. I might have managed one half on the back nine but John had a run of pars and bogeys with a shot that Peter couldn't beat and we lost 5&4.

The problem most club pros have is that they don't play enough golf to keep their hand in. Peter finished 18th in the Welsh professionals tournament at Southerndown a month ago but hadn't played since.

He hits the ball a mile and his short game was good but he wasn't at his best and carrying me wouldn't have been a help. We both had to fork out three quid.

They didn't spare his feelings at the dinner, either. Out of more than 60 players there were only three with less than his total of 29 points.

I was one of them. I shared last place on 25 points with Brian Griffiths. But he won the booby prize on a countback. He got two cans of Strongbow.

Later on, while discussing with Mike my shank into the bunker on the 18th, we realised that I'd scored six on that hole and not the five recorded for me. That cider should have been mine. It only confirmed what a lousy day it was.