Followers of my twitter feed (@shumpty77) will be aware of my plan to play golf every morning over my holiday break both from the perspective of improving my fitness and to improve my short game.
This morning was my first round on my proposed two week golf odyssey so at 5:30am I stepped onto the first hole of Victoria Park Golf Course. 79 off the stick my score card read by the end of my round but as is always the case there were good parts of my round mixed with bad parts and some down right ugly moments.
First the good: have I mentioned that I love golf? It has all of the elements of an outing that appeals to me and this morning was nothing different: the sun was shinning, the birds were chirping and my swing was smooth. My best hole of the day was the short par 4 12th hole. A 3 wood down the middle, chip with my 60 degree wedge and one putt and a birdie was mine. It is holes like those that keep hacks like me coming back to the game most weekends.
Also good this morning was a renewed appreciation for the set up at Victoria Park. For readers that do not know it, Victoria Park is 3 kilometres away from the centre of Brisbane and has, obviously, very limited space. To counter balance this the course designer has used the many hills and valleys around the course to make holes much longer than their yardage. The 289 metre par 4 13th is a great example of this: it is straight up hill and I needed every bit of my driver to get within 60 metres of the hole for my second which was a blind shot to a smallish green. If I had to be critical the closing 4 holes are all short par 3s which left me a little bit flat so play the front 9 if you have the option.
Now for the bad: setting aside the foibles of a golf course that finishes with 4 Par 3s and the fact that I had at least four 3 putts (which are always bad) the main bad part of my game today was the lack of courtesy shown by other golfers on the course. This started on the first hole as I was putting when the second shot of a player behind me whizzed past my left ankle and continued with three near misses from nearby fairways during my round without the usual call of “four”. I love golf but this lack of courtesy is more than an irritation: it is down right dangerous. To be clear: I am 6ft 4in, 120kgs and was in clear site of the hitter of the ball: they had to have seen me and simply deign it necessary to warm me of the incoming danger.
Finally the ugly: I concede that point that Victoria Park is a public golf course without members and I concede that I have been spoilt with some of the course I have played on in the past. That said, seeing a group of six run around the course in their golf carts trying to play “dodgem cars” and generally being unruly at 6am in the morning is not my idea of fun and certainly put more than just me out. I know I might sound like the Christmas grinch with this but for me to play more regularly (aside from the next two weeks) at Victoria Park they will need to improve on stuff like this. Having four guys in the pro shop and no one monitoring the course is a farce and it will push golfers away whilst encouraging the hooligan set. I did note when I saw them that they were trying to emulate Ricky Fowler with their flat brimmed hats (assuming they know who Ricky Fowler is) and that should have been enough of an indication of the douchbaggery that was going to follow.
But for all of the bad and the ugly, I still enjoyed my morning and now as I sit here watching one of my favourite TV shows “the Newsroom” and I am already getting ready to hit the course again tomorrow. That is the fun thing about golf: there is always tomorrow, there is always a golf club open and there is always the prospect of a birdie or two to get the hacks like me back again for another round!