Saturday, 24 December 2011

Dear Santa

I played in the usual Saturday roll up this morning. Numbers were depleted with people doing last minute shopping or under strict orders from "the boss" at home. I thought I'd try a different approach today and foresaked my usual warm up hitting a few balls on the practise ground to limber up and enjoyed a nice coffee in the clubhouse instead. Well, if I'm honest the work I've been doing down the range has been going reasonably well and I thought as long as I stretch and have a few swings all will be good. WRONG!

I stood on the first tee and felt very under prepared. The opening drive sharp right hardly set the right tone and the resulting "nil points" was probably no more than I deserved. I played the second and third okay but had another horror down the fourth. To be honest the swing was well out of kilter. I had no timing, no feel and no idea.

I made rare back to back pars on the seventh and eighth which lightened the mood. I made another par at the tenth too, hitting a perfect six iron from 152 yards into a fresh breeze and deposited the ball some six foot from the flag. The putt for birdie never scared the hole and to be honest the putter was colder than the temperature on the course and I never looked like making anything all day. That was to prove the last hurrah as the last remnants of a good swing and timing disappeared in a puff of pantomime smoke. There were the odd good drive or crisp iron to warm the soul but the mind had already wandered back into the sanctuary of the 19th.

As I wandered, nay trudged my way around the last few holes I wondered if it was too late to contact the big fella with the white beard and change my order.

"Dear Santa

My name is Martin aged 45 1/2 and I've been a very good boy this year. For Christmas I would like:
A golf swing I can rely on. I'm not greedy and eye pleasing or technically correct isn't essential
A putting stroke that is smooth and gets those damned fiddly three footers in once in a while
A short game. Please help as I can't chip at all and I'm getting desperate. I'll even throw in an extra mince pie.
A copy of "Bunker shots for Dummies". Any more time on the beach and I'm sending for deckchairs and a parasol.
Natalie Gulbis, Paula Creamer or Melissa Reid to help me with my game, ideally somewhere warm
My teaching professional Rhys ap Iolo to be on call 24/7 and for you to give him super-human powers to help him get me to single figures. It could be too much for a mere mortal.
The trees at Royal Ascot on the edge of each fairway to grow that bit quicker to add definition. I know we're only seven years old but I'd love the place to come on a bit.
Sophie Horn to help me unwrap my presents.

I hope this won't be too difficult for the elves to arrange and that Rudolph and the others will be able to carry the gifts to me. I've left the mince pie in the normal spot and my wife has asked me to say the mistletoe is where it usually is. I'm not sure what she means but she said you'd understand!!"

If I'm honest I'm not overly fussed. The new chilled, reticent Homer can easily shrug off such a set back. I wasn't in the mood mentally, hadn't warmed up and cranked started the swing and it was only the second round on the course with the nucleus of a new swing anyway. I need to trust the work I'm doing on the range, follow the feedback and help Rhys is giving me and believe that 2012 will be a good year. I'm starting from a reasonable position with my handicap standing at 12.8 (13 in proper money) and one cut gets me straight back to 12. Rhys is going to do a lot of work on "preparing to succeed" next season and if he can exorcise the short game woes and we can really get that area to rock and roll then that is where I'll shave some more shots off.

Still that is all for next year. I hope that what remains of 2011 is good to you and your families and that you have a wonderful Christmas. If you get some golf in over the festive break I trust the new golfing toys Santa is bringing work well and that you look resplendent in your new attire. Have fun, stay safe and enjoy.

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