The game was going so well. Elsternwick Golf Course, first nine holes. The sun was glinting from behind the clouds, my partner had just got his third ever birdie on the second hole and I was driving well. My short game was a bit sketchy but since this was our first game back after playing the Apollo Bay Golf Course, I wasn't too fazed.
Suddenly my scorecard showed consecutive bogeys. I was quite content. Another bogey on the seventh. Happy days.
We began the second nine with a relaxed and easy game.
And then it happened.
Before I go into the event in detail, I would like to make it clear that I am a normally well-adjusted person. I have been described as "even-tempered". Perhaps even "bubbly" at times.
Until my ball landed in the right side bunker at the 17th.
For some reason I had a feeling of dread as I approached the cavernous bunker. The lip seemed taller than me and for some reason I found this daunting.
"Remember the Jack Nicklaus book" A soothing voice said inside my head. I relaxed again. Then I seized up again. I couldn't remember. Whatever precious nuggets of genius Jack had imbued in my brain had somehow leaked out the other end, leaving a void of panic and terror.
I tried to remember as best I could - open the clubface, hit the sand behind the ball...
So far so good.
Then I struck the shot. My ball flew upwards, upwards and upwards.
Then it just stopped, cruelly wedging itself just below the lip of the bunker.
Something inside me snapped.
"Yaargh!" I ran up the side of the bunker and grunted, striking the ball hard enough to make it dribble back down into the position it had first landed.
"F@&#* ing sand!"
The ball repeated its journey back down to my feet, leaving a rather pretty little bubble-pattern behind it.
For some reason this really offended me.
In my mad fury of swinging and thwacking I realised that at least two of these particular shots were nowhere near the ball. They were aimed squarely at the sand for the sole purpose of revenge.
"Yiggh! Ack!! Raargh!!"
I could tell that my partner wanted to say something at this point but thought better of it.
Finally the ball came popping up out of the bunker and landed on the green, quite close to the pin. A lovely shot.
I took this as the final insult. I stormed out of the mangled bunker (apologies to the greenskeepers and other staff) and stood on the lip, panting maniacally.
I threw my cap down in disgust and stormed off to get my putter.
On this rather lonely walk back to my bag I was thinking "Wow... people actually do throw their hats down when they do a bad shot. Then I realised that I had done exactly fifteen bad shots and got mad again. I finished my putt and as we were walking to the next hole I muttered "What did you get?"
"A par." My partner replied. "You?"
I was almost immediately calm again. For some reason the sand was out of reach and so was my fury.
My partner sensed this was a good time to speak.
"Er, you know that thing... in the bunker?"
"Your left arm was bent."
Unfortunately I had managed to forget the most basic rule. "Keep your left arm as straight as you can". I must have looked like a deranged woodcutter.
I have learned so much from this experience. I have realised that you can't, simply can't lose your cool at any time on a golf course.
Not even to take out your revenge on an inanimate object.
Thursday, September 25, 2008