The Hacker: Underground tactics leave me furious as my game goes down the tube

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The Independent Online

Front runners rarely win, and despite taking early leads in our two knock-out competitions over the Bank Holiday weekend I made my usual first-round exits.

All in all, it turned out to be a miserable weekend. I sought solace from my golfing torments with a visit to the Millennium Stadium on Saturday to watch Cardiff Blues get done by Leicester Tigers in the Heineken Cup semi-final after a ludicrous penalty shoot-out.

It would have helped if the weather had been better for the medal on Monday. The forecasters said it would be slightly cooler. The words "bloody freezing" would have been more accurate and might have saved us being caught in a mid-winter gale without our thermals.

My game was suffering accordingly. I was behind at least a dozen trees, and my ball was stuck halfway up one of them. Leylandii are the curse of golf.

I finished with a disgraceful 115 and the fact that it wasn't the worst was a reflection on the conditions.

Tuesday was not so cold but just as windy for my match in the Santa Claus Cup, which is not a Christmas competition but for the over-50s.

My opponent was Steve Clancy, who is a very good 12-handicapper, remarkably so since he took up the game only four years ago.

Prior to that he was a keen bowler and had just won the All Wales Bowls Championship when he decided he'd like a change of sport.

He had not played golf more than a few times before but since he started he hasn't played one game of bowls and has been charging down the handicap list.

He had to give me 14 shots and when I was two up after six holes he confessed to being a little uneasy. But champions at any sport are inevitably great competitors and he won the next eight holes to beat me 6 and 4.

On the previous Friday, I played Chris in the Singles Knockout. Chris commutes from South Wales to work as an electrician on the London Underground and is a new member who hasn't belonged to a club for a few years.

When he joined a month ago he put in three cards of 101, 93 and 88 and was delighted to be given a 26 handicap. That meant we were off level and although I went two up after four he finally won 4 and 3.

He's a very pleasant young man with a very good short game and in no way did I begrudge him his win.

But I spent a long time in the bar that night and when the match captain came in, I'm afraid I took him to task for giving a big, strong man in his thirties who has scored an 88 the same handicap as a poor old sod who has had to hack his way through blood, sweat and tears.

It led to a full and frank exchange of views which I regret because being a match captain is a thankless job.

This weekend 32 of us are on a three-day break in west Wales, playing twice at Cardigan and once at Newport in Pembrokeshire. It is going to be a pleasant, relaxing weekend but, perhaps, not for the match captain. I see from the rooming list that he's sharing with me.