Well, almost. But more of that later. One of the best things about this game of golf is the fact that there is always a positive to take away from any round, however disappointing it might be overall. All it takes is just one sweetly struck shot, just one ball that checks up close to the pin, just one well read putt that drops, to offset all the wild slices off the tee and card-wrecking hacking about in the rough and the bunkers that have constituted the rest of the round.
Perhaps the most reassuring moments are when we actually get it right off the tee, and the shot we have visualised as we stood at the back of the teebox translates for once into reality. I’ve been lucky enough to have had two such moments in the past couple of weeks that have served to restore some semblance of confidence in my abilities as a golfer, albeit an ordinary one.
The first shot in question came on Chilworth’s tough sixth hole, a mere 354 yards but stroke index 1 thanks to a fairway lined with danger either side and an approach to the green across a tree-guarded pond. My well-judged (I like to think) 3 wood soared straight down the middle, coming to rest 257 yards away (yes, I admit I measured it) and leaving an easy gap wedge to the centre of the green. Needless to say, I missed the straightforward birdie putt. No matter, I still had my tee shot to take home.
A week later I stood on the slightly elevated tee of the 3rd hole on the same course, a straightforward affair offering few significant obstacles and measuring no more than 287 yards of the yellows. On the day the tee placement had it nearer the 301 yards of the whites. Finding the sweet spot of the X Hot 3 wood had the desired effect and a slight draw down the right hand side of the fairway seemed to carry for ever. I thought I had finally done it and driven the green, in line with every ordinary golfer’s ambition, and with that in mind I strode confidently down the fairway. Alas, a reality check was required a few minutes later, as my Titleist turned out to be five or six feet short of its destination.
But that’s all it takes to keep us keen despite our inconsistencies and many failings as we struggle to master this trickiest and most wilful of sports. Just one great shot a round. And we come back for more.