Yesterday, I played my first serious round of golf.
Nothing much to be blogging about, one might think, until one takes into account that it was I who was playing.
My dad, who enjoys his golf and is a member at a course in Co. Kildare, has been encouraging me to go with him for a round for some time, but until now I've been reluctant to accept knowing my lack of coordination would be an embarrassment to both of us.
But he has been patient with me as I practiced at the local driving range, to the point where he felt that the only way to get any better was to bite the bullet and go out on a course.
So yesterday I went with him to Castlewarden and walked out onto the first tee box.
The day began warm but overcast, which I'm told is ideal. Rain was not expected, though we had driven through a brief shower on our way to the course. Booked to tee off at 10:03, we were early so went out straight away.
The first tee is a difficult one for the novice - a water hazard sits in front of it. Dad's advice was to aim wide to the right, which I did, and sliced my shot sharply left, losing my ball on the first shot.
I was under no illusions as to my abilities but ploughed ahead anyway, discovering, in spite of my embarrassment, that I was Having A Good Time.
It was good to watch my dad play, as well. He's genuinely good, to my eye, but given that he's been playing for thirty years or so, I'm not surprised. He hit some excellent shots and made them look easy, so I was pleased when he praised some of my efforts.
I hit four bunkers, but got out of three and onto the green with single shots; on one occasion the ball rebounded off the edge of the bunker and rolled back down. A second shot took care of that.
Putting wasn't bad either; I managed a couple of eight-to-ten foot putts that impressed my dad (and surprised the hell out of me) but my accuracy diminished as we progressed.
My best performance was on a par three hole that I finished in five shots, which, if I had been playing with a handicap, would have counted as a par. There isn't, however, a term in golf to describe the bogey multiplier to be applied on the other 17 holes, to the point where I stopped counting shots early in the round. Suffice to say that if I broke 100, I was doing very well...
So (now that I can move again) what have I learnt?
1. I can't use a driver;
2. I can barely use an iron;
3. My long game needs a lot of work;
4. So does my short game; and
5. It's worth the effort.
Back to the driving range...