If you have been reading my recent posts, you'll be aware that I've recently had some medical issues and I write this with a heavy heart. It seems that there are going to be some ongoing issues, in terms of balance and eyesight, at least in the short term. Given this I'm not going to be able to play as much golf as I'd like or practice as hard as I'd want. I'm only going to be able to golf when my health dictates and will be on a very much as and when basis. This means that while I remain totally convinced that there is a single figure golfer in there, trying to break out, I am calling time, short term at least, on Homer's Odyssey and my pursuit to single figures and just trying to get out and play when I can and enjoy the chance to do so without worrying about the effect it has on my handicap. I am assuming this will start to see a steady rise northwards until I get myself fit and healthy again.
However the good news (or bad if you aren't a fan) is this isn't journey's end and I will still be posting on my trials and tribulations, equipment I've tried, and review gadgets and events I've used or attended.
That brings me nicely to the monthly medal last Sunday, which was also a qualifier for the Royal Ascot Cup a matchplay event where the top eight men, qualify to play the top eight women in the knockout event. To be honest, (and always good to get excuses in early) I felt really unwell in my warm up, going dizzy and feeling very light headed. If it wasn't for the fact that the third member of our group didn't show and I felt compelled to go out and mark the card for my playing partner, I'd have withdrawn.
I actually started reasonably well with a net par on the opening two holes before the round began to unravel with a quadruple bogey at the third and a triple at the next, including and ugly four putt. I was struggling with concentration, balance, tempo and co-ordination and felt totally out of sorts. I managed a couple pars before another ugly double bogey at the shortest hole on the course put the skids on any thought of a comeback with the failure to escape from a bunker being the culprit. I then managed to par the tricky 400 yard ninth. It was a case of one step forward and two backwards.
March 2016 Medal Statistics
I actually started the back nine with a degree of form and three net pars, although I didn't find a fairway or green in regulation and I was working flat out to get anything. My ball striking was solid but I seemed to lack any power and my distance was a long way down on normal. Bad shots were weak slices to the right. I didn't know why and couldn't find a remedy. Sadly, by the fourteenth, I was a spent force and back to feeling very dizzy over the ball and struggling. I was resigned to getting my 0.1 back on the handicap taking me to 12.5 and now playing off 13 and to be honest I was just wanted to get round and get home. A run of double, single, double bogey, killed off any waning enthusiasm and even though I hit the green at the 218 yard penultimate hole, a rare feat in recent times even at full fitness, for a par, I topped my tee shot into the hazard in front of the tee at the last, and struggled to a closing triple bogey. The score was an irrelevance really but it was two nines of 47 for a gross 94, nett 82 (+12) and a 17th place finish in division one.
I'm not sure where my golfing future is going to take me. I simply cannot keep playing feeling as bad as I did last weekend and so I will be picking and choosing when I can play depending on how I feel on any particular day. It has put the skids under my chances to chase down single figures in 2016. I've been told the prognosis going forward is positive, but still have a barrage of tests to get through. However, what it has done in a bizarre sort of way is change the game plan totally.
While I've always enjoyed my golf, good bad or indifferent, and certainly enjoyed the hard work and time I've invested trying to improve all aspects, by parking the pursuit of single figures, at least for now, it has opened up the opportunity to simply go out and play, and swing with perhaps more freedom. The handicap is going up. That I'm afraid is an inevitability, although if I have a good day, then with more shots, I could be very, very dangerous. I still plan to practice when I can, but this is going to be restricted to all things short game. No bad thing in itself.
This isn't some woe is me tale, Crap happens to everyone at some point or another and it's how you deal with it that defines how bad you let things get. I'm back playing over the Easter weekend in our annual bogey even at Royal Ascot Golf Club. This is matchplay against the course in essence, and players must play two round over the four day Easter period, but can choose which days they want to play. I've already played my first round on Good Friday. I am still blighted with a lack of distance, especially off the tee and I played very poorly, but managed to cobble a reasonable score of three down to the course. If I can play that badly and still score reasonably, in relative terms. then there has to be hope going forward once I sort the swing issues out. I'm due to play tomorrow (Easter Sunday) but with gale force winds and very heavy rain showers due throughout, it's going to be a round of attrition.
I have no expectations tomorrow or for the 2016 season going onwards. Is it journey's end? Who knows but I don't think so in the longer term. It simply means I need to work even harder to get the shots off and that after this hiatus I am just starting from a higher point. The intent and the belief remains the same, to get down to single figures. In the meantime, I intend to simply play until I get the clean bill of health and then it's pedal to the metal and flat out to make up for lost time. Who knows, this may even be a weight lifted off my shoulders. There have been many, both at my club and on social media, that have said that my goal has become a burden and in fact has held my golf and progress back. They say I try too hard, work on too many things, have to many swing thoughts and generally get in my own way. Well these unforeseen circumstances and the break in trying to get to single figures will see if they were right.
This is far from journey's end but a short term change of focus and direction. I've become acutely aware that health and family come a long way before trying to get better at golf and while I won't let recent events define me, I have to listen to the medical advice and my body. Getting out for any sort of golf or practice is a bonus at the moment so I plan to seize these with renewed vigour and swing freely, enjoy the surroundings and the company and not worry at all about the score. There's a long way to go with Homer's Odyssey and it isn't over by a long way. Have a great Easter and enjoy your golf.