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Monday, April 28, 2008

Bogey Surprise

I played my fourth game of golf this year over the weekend. I would like to say it was easy, that I hit every shot like Tiger Woods and chipped around the greens like Seve Ballesteros. It was one of those days when I almost felt like golf was conspiring against me to make me quit. There were a number of factors contributing to my experience:

1. Public Holidays = Golf

It was a public holiday. My partner and I assumed everyone would be at the Dawn Service, then the ANZAC Day marches and barbeques and two-up.


Everyone and their dog was playing golf. Not literally, because dogs aren't allowed on the course.

2. Slow Play

The people in front of us were S-L-O-W. Unfortunately, the people in front of them were even slower. Which made for quite an interesting bottleneck.

I don't know about you but when the people in front are slow it really irritates me. If they are genuinely trying to hit the ball I don't mind so much but these particular individuals chatted, paused, changed clubs, walked back to their bags, paused and generally fluffed around. GRRRRR!!

3. Bad Etiquette

The people behind us (a group of 4) hit up on us constantly. My partner and I are fast players, always keeping up with the group in front. Walking after my first shot, I looked up to see a ball whizzing less than a metre from me. I turned back to look at the offenders. My reward was to get another ball whizzing even closer. "Fore" would have been nice.

Later, on the next tee one of the guys yelled out. "Sorry about that before." and I said "no worries."

I was, however thinking if you were actually sorry you would have yelled 'fore' so I didn't get hit.

They continued to pummel people with balls and crowd around the tee while other groups were playing. When I went to tee off the bastards were talking and laughing in my backswing. I was 10 etiquette rules away from swinging the other way and hitting the ball into the centre of their ill-mannered gaggle.

4. Stress

When I get faced with these situations I get uptight and find it hard to relax properly. I think I handled it pretty well but it was only on the 8th tee I realised how beautiful the course is and how I haven't been noticing it at all.

5. Reality Check

It was only when I got to the nineteenth hole that I realised I had got my first bogey. Ever. I remember it happening at the time, congrats from my partner, but we had to hurry off the green and whiz along to the next one.

I also realised that I had hit my longest ever drive on the third hole, leaving just a short chip to the green.

And then I realised the 8th tee had been the staging point for my most spectacular 5-iron shot ever. And my longest.

It's amazing how golf can creep up on you like that. You think you played a certain way (I thought I had played terribly) but the further away you get from the round, the more you realise how well you actually did. I went away thinking I had lost the plot and my partner thought I had played the best game of my life. I just couldn't see it at the time. Which is funny because he thought he had played terribly as well but got a score similar to his average round.

This is an important lesson. Don't ever walk off the course in disgust (I saw two people do this during our round). Don't throw clubs or deliberately mess up because you don't care anymore. Just play the hole and go on to the next one. It is very difficult to judge your own performance while you are in the midst of a round. Trust you are doing okay and just keep going. Luckily, that's what we did on this day and that's why I have my first bogey on my scorecard. :-)

BOGEY: One over par for the hole. The word orginates from a mythical golfer, Colonel Bogey, who was said to play every hole in the standard stroke score.

It was originally used to describe the target score which a good amateur should achieve, in the same way "par" became associated with professionals.

The two terms were interchangeable at one stage, until "par" became the standard term.

- source BBC Sport

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