Archive for November, 2010

Back packing at the Belfry

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

With all the equipment and gadgets available these days, it’s easy to take a leisurely game of golf for granted, however, having recently experienced a short break at the Belfry I was given a sharp reminder of mean and lean golfing and the importance of planning ahead. 


My first game was played in glorious sunshine on the Derby course but when heavy showers and severe gusts of wind arrived on the second day I was surprised and horrified to learn no trolleys were allowed on the Brabazon course and carry we must!   Now, when you’re an aging, 5’ 3” female with a dodgy back, hacking round 18 holes with a HUGE golf bag is simply a no-no but luckily we managed to persuade the Pro to rummage in the back for a lightweight bag rather than pack the bulky hire specimens left in the shop.

Lightweight it may have started off as, but by the time I added clubs (a treasured selection), balls, tees, spare gloves, brolly, food, drink, jumper, purse, mobile phone, lip salve and other bibs and bobs, it morphed into a full blown backpack and in the soggy, gale force conditions, made it more of a survival course than a golf course.

Being flustered and disorganised prior to a game is not conducive to a good score but luckily the delightful Starter thankfully spotted a lost soul and generously topped me up with tees then calmly chaperoned me to my first hole, which happened to be the challenging 10th tee - whoops, there goes my first ball to a watery death

The Brabazon is a stunning, sculptured, four times Ryder Cup course with more water features than any other course in the UK and probably why team America only won once.  So in hindsight, why I thought I was going to conquer it with only 7 golf balls in my bag, particular with the rough FULL of autumn leaves, is a complete mystery!  

So, on the basis I moaned and groaned my way round 18 holes, would I play the Brabazon again?    Well, if I could persuade the refreshment van to carry my extra golf balls plus half of my kit and meet me on every third hole then I would consider returning at this time of the year, the next best alternative is probably a caddy! Now a caddy may sound extravagant but the thought of strolling up on the first tee with a clean set of golf clubs and everything ready packed sounds very appealing plus I wouldn’t be doubled-over for the next 4 to 5 hours trying to support and balance my whole life on my shoulders as well as multi task with a brolly.

As someone who has honed the art of justifying many expensive purchases over the years, I could easily defend my decision on the basis I wouldn’t have to fork out for numerous visits to my physio to reconstruct my spine!

Meanwhile, here’s hoping they just build a buggy path for the more fragile golfers like me! 

Good golfing, Claire      ©Ladies4Golf – November 2010                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

                   

                    

 

Where do golf balls go?

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

As I cleared my garden ready for the winter I realised golf and gardening have something in common.    We can spend a lot of time and effort to sow seeds and put plants in the perfect place to achieve good growth, however, even the best garden programme can fail because of the wrong soil or location, yet Nature can successfully sow plants in the most peculiar places.  

For instance my lawn this year became bare and patchy because of the hot, dry weather yet the minute cracks in my block paving drive was full of thriving tuffs of grass and other plants, despite being in a wasteland environment.

Golf balls following a similar pattern.   We take great effort to keep the balls on the fairways and greens yet they frustratingly end up all over the course, lost in leaves and long grass, tripping off trees, drowning in ditches, lunging into lakes, bombing into bunkers and hiding in the heather.   

Over the years I have seen balls hit cable lines, wooden stakes, ropes, sprinkler heads and other completely bizarre objects, defying all the odds and proving impossible to repeat. One such example happened when I played golf the other day and my playing partner mishit the ball.  Luckily I was watching so I saw the ball hurtling towards me and managed to duck and quickly turn my body.   Nevertheless, it still managed to hit me on the top of my shoulder and I ended up being stunned and hopping around in pain.   

With nothing broken, we resumed the game after a few minutes and started to look for the offending ball.   I didn’t have a clue where it had gone as it all happened too quickly and nobody else saw where it went either, so after looking in the obvious places we gave up the search and a new ball was to be played.  
 

At that point I bent down to pick up my clubs and suddenly realised the missing ball was in my gillet!   It must have ricochet off my shoulder and popped in at great speed with nobody noticing.   It became even funnier as we tried to fathom out how we should play the ball as we were in a club competition - do we play it as it lies, could I run 100 yards up the fairway and drop it on the green.

Anyway, we ended up crying with laughter and it’s one missing ball I will always remember. 

Good golfing, Claire

©Ladies4Golf 2010                                  

             

      

   

 

Courses and Conveniences

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

We golfing gals are made of hardy stuff but with an average round taking roughly four hours the delicate subject of bodily functions and particularly the call of nature is important – crossing your legs for hours on a fairway and still playing decent golf can prove very tricky. Okay, golf’s an outdoor activity, so limited loos go with the terrain but the average age of lady golfers probably necessitate more strategically placed toilets, or at least dense foliage at regular intervals otherwise the alternative could be Tena Lady.

Course conveniences vary from musty old sheds tucked away in trees, converted farm buildings, trips back to the clubhouse and finally there’s the dreadful plastic urinal, Port-A-Loos.  Port-A-Loo survival techniques should include NASA training to function in a confined space, using your wet wipes wisely (the alternative is sturdy thighs) holding on tight to the toilet roll and your glove (not necessarily in that order) and learning how to operate the pump and open the door using your elbows.  

If the toilet facilities are limited and you have to nip behind the bushes here’s my best survival tips:
      
       

 

  • Avoid playing on links courses as there is limited opportunity to ‘bobby down’        

      

 

  • Avoid gorse, hawthorn bushes and stinging nettles – the thought of the Club Secretary completing an H&S incident report could make interesting reading        

      

 

  • Always look behind you – you never know who could appear from another fairway at a crucial moment        

      

 

  • Work those pelvic floor muscles but please don’t attempt to practice them whilst addressing the ball as it takes multi-tasking into a completely different league        

      

 

  • Watch out for swampy areas as explaining how mosquitoes managed to sneak into your knickers could be awkward        

      

 

  • Warm golfing gear may keep you snug in the winter months but is likely to be a nightmare when it comes to peeling off layers and negotiating buttons and zips.  Avoid ‘all in ones’ at all cost        

      

 

  • Don’t bother packing one of those ladies weeing devices as there’s no way  you’ll be able to discretely slip away or have time to read the instructions        

On a more serious note, whilst ‘nipping behind the bushes is considered normal on our golf courses, if you were to do the same in a Park (also a cultivated environment) it would  be thought quite unacceptable.  It’s also interesting that Selfridges opened their department store in 1909 as one of the first shops to offer ladies restroom facilities to encourage women to shop.   The idea proved extremely successful and profitable, so maybe our golf clubs could use this example as part of their recruitment policy to attract more females into the game, although having said that I very much doubt whether an advert stating how many loo stops on a course would carry much influence.

Finally, if you’re playing in a mixed game and your partner has disappeared behind the bush during the round, then remember to pucker up on the 18th hole and avoid shaking hands at all costs!    

Good Golfing, Claire   ©Ladies4Golf 2010