Golf in England

 
I finally got to play some golf here; it was definitely a case of “be careful what you wish for”!
 
Background: my colleague and I were invited by a customer to join him at his golf club for their Pro-Am Tournament. Sounded like fun. The customer is an older gent, so I envisioned us riding in power carts, having fun, not taking the golf too seriously, and being treated to a nice, private club course. 
 
Two days before the date, our host called in sick due to gout (!) but said he’d arranged for another member to join us.
 
We when arrived, the course turned out to be “one of the longest in England”, designed by Harry Vardin himself in 1922. Left-to-right sloping narrow fairways, bunkers galore, knee-high rough on all sides, and greens as hard and slick as Masonite. Uh-oh…
 
The tournament works like this: the one Pro in each foursome was competing against the other Pros for the 1,000 Pound prize (serious money). We three amateurs were a team, each playing our own ball but recording the lowest of our scores per hole, competing against the amateurs in other foursomes. This team arrangement, however, means if you lose a ball in the wicked rough or hit it out of bounds, you are done playing for that hole. In regular play, you can add a penalty stroke (or two) to your score then drop a new ball and play on, but this tournament rule made you a spectator for the rest of the hole, which is no fun.
 
Our Pro was a 32-year old (did I mention he was a scratch golfer?) and our substitute host was a 34-year old who carried his bag and plays there twice weekly. Both very nice guys. However, merely asking about the availability of power carts was met with the disdain reserved for WWI veterans, “Nancy-boys”, and the French. So, no power cart for us; my colleague and I pulled our bags on trolleys (pull-carts). We all teed off from the rear-most tees, which were so far back that, literally, in every tee box, you could not stand two feet behind the markers and still be in the tee box!
 
The weather was perfectly English: completely overcast, about 55-degrees, and looking all day like hard rain at any minute (though it never did). There was also a nearly-constant 20mph wind, with hat-removing gusts.
 
Our very late tee time, 2:20pm, in a tourney that started at 8:00am, ensured there were no refreshments left by the time we got to the hospitality tents along the course and the snack cart was also cleaned out.
 
Now, do I really need to go into how badly I played, after 6 months off? How much time I spent fruitlessly looking in the rough for my ball? My best hole: a double-bogey. By Hole #5, I was thinking “Bataan Death March” and wondering if I would make it through all 18 holes. We didn’t finish until 8:00pm!
 
We were not in any danger of being competitive, as our host member had a bad day, too. And, our Pro didn’t do so well, either, so everyone was happy. 
 
The following day, I felt like I’ve been massaged all over with a baseball bat. Muscles I didn’t know I had were hurting and I was so exhausted that night that I couldn’t get to sleep.
 
Golf in England: it can only get better next time.
 
 
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