Golf on fire

This morning I left early (before breakfast) for the local golf course, for my first game in exactly two months. I haven’t played through the heart of the current COVID lockdown in Sydney – even though golf has always been an allowed exercise activity. But today I decided it was a good day to hit the course again. Normally I go there early and the course isn’t busy – I can just rock up whenever and pay and go tee off without waiting. But this morning the woman behind the counter asked what time I had booked – I’ve never been asked that before! She said that recently they’ve been very busy and requiring bookings, even this early. I said I hadn’t been for a couple of months, and usually just showed up. She gave me a wink and let me pay and said I could sneak into the roster.

So I went down to the first tee, and yeah, there was a queue of people waiting to tee off. I just sort of took a place in the queue, and sidestepped questions from other players on what my booked tee time was. It turned out to be a very slow round, taking almost an hour longer than I’d expected for nine holes, but I didn’t mind, as I take a relaxed approach to golf – unlike some people who get really frustrated when behind slow players. I enjoyed my time outdoors and I ended up having a really good game.

I started consistently, with scores of 6, 6, 5, 5, 5 on the first five holes (pars 3, 4, 3, 3, 4). This is not objectively great, but for me this was equal to my best start ever on this course. Normally I end up blowing out at least one hole, with a score of 8 or 9 strokes, so I was very happy, while hoping that I wouldn’t end up screwing up on one of the last four holes. Then on hole 6 I scored a par of 3. The last three holes are par 4s. I scored 6 on hole 7, not great, but no disaster. If I could just stay consistent on the last two holes, I could do a personal best round.

On hole 8, I hit a nice long drive, though a little of course. But I had a clear shot at the green from 9 iron distance. I hit the shot straight, but too long, I watched it fly over the green and disappear into the little gully behind the green. Disappointed, I turned back to my cart and started trudging towards the hole, expecting to have to hit another shot from the gully up onto the green, giving me a big opportunity to mess up and end up with a nasty score.

But then I got to the green and saw this:

Second shot, par 4 hole 8

Surely the previous players wouldn’t have left a ball on the green? Was that my ball? I checked… it was my ball! It must have bounced off the sandstone outcrop that you can see behind the flag, and bounced back on to the green! Nice! Unfortunately that putt was a little too long for me to sink, but I downed it in two, for a par.

One hole to go, and I hadn’t messed up yet. And my fortune would last onto the 9th and final hole of my round. I parred that too. My previous best total on this course was 49. Today I scored 44. I was really on fire! That was easily my best and most satisfying day on a golf course. The only thing is it’s going to be difficult to equal or better that performance any time soon, until I improve my game some more. But… wow… I felt really accomplished, and it really made my day.

When I got home I worked on today’s new ethics lesson, and this evening I taught three classes in a row. It was incredibly interesting, but I’ll go into that later in the week, as it’s quite late now after all of that.

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