On the 31st of December, 2012, I was introduced to the idea of making a list of things you want to do for the upcoming new year. In a similar vain to making resolutions, this list requires the same number of things to do for the age you are. So if you’re 33, you need to write a list of 33 things you’d really like to do, during that upcoming year. They aren’t written in any particular order and they can vary from their complexity and effort required. And the best part? That whatever doesn’t get completed in that year, gets rolled over onto the following year’s list.
One of the things that has been on my original list of 30 things to do, was play a round of golf. As explained in previous posts, I struggle with sports that require me to use a racquet/stick/bat to make contact with a ball in order to move it. Get me to throw the ball and I’m all good. But expect me to manage my hand-eye coordination to hit a tiny object with a skinny stick…. Now you can understand why this task is still on my list, four years later.
Yet I can now proudly put a line through this little sucker, after having my first attempt at a round of golf earlier this week. Admittedly it was only a 9-hole round, but I figure there’s room for compromise on this list. On a glorious weeknight afternoon, I ventured out to the Murray Downs Resort to take on their renowned golf course. Opened in 1991, the course has been voted as one of the top 20 resort courses in the country and is a par 72.
Playing with three mates, one of whom actually plays in golfing tournaments, I set out with a healthy dose of optimism. This was short-lived as my first drive scooted waaaaay right into the scrub, along the ground. Sensing that I wasn’t going to be any good, our golfer-in-resident (who was my golfing coach for the night) had opted that we play the ‘Ambrose’ format of the game, which is played in pairs.
“The Ambrose format is very popular as it allows all standards of golfers to mix and play together with equal enjoyment irrespective of ability. It also helps to promote teamwork as one score is recorded per hole and generally minimises the amount of time looking for lost balls*” (sourced from Golf Select)
Each partner has a shot, but the next shot is played from the best of the two. I think perhaps three of my shots for the whole round were considered to be the best one to play from… So hopefully you are getting a sense of my golfing ability… or lack of. My best executed shot landed straight in the water. I had 3 of my 9 initial drives as a swing and a miss. I landed a ball in a tree- and it didn’t come down. I managed to nearly take out my golf coach and his partner on the putting green with a wayward chip from the bunker. It took me three goes to putt a ball that was less than a metre away from the final hole. I was on the verge of having a Happy Gilmore-style break down.
But I loved every moment of it. As frustrating as it was, it was actually quite humbling to be rubbish at a sport. The professionals on the television make it look a hell of a lot easier than what it actually is. It’s fair to say that my game was inconsistent- much like when I play pool, I never knew when I was going to hit a good shot or an absolute stinker. I’m still yet to work out what I did correctly on my awesome drive (that unfortunately landed in the water), compared to the drives that were a swing and a miss. But that is one of the appealing challenges of golf. It’s a sport that requires mastery and determination. Something that actually takes time to improve.
Never having a partner or family member who is obsessed with the sport, I don’t truly understand the pain that loved ones go through when their partner/husband/father spends whole weekends playing the sport. But I now understand why the partner/husband/father spends whole weekends playing the sport- apart from providing multiple laughs if you’re playing with a spud like myself, and it being a great chance to socialise, it’s actually a really rewarding feeling when you start to master the game. When your ball actually ends up landing where you are hoping it to. It is a sport that is generally dominated by men but there is absolutely no reason why younger females shouldn’t be getting involved in the game as well. So whilst I’ve been able to cross ‘Playing a round of golf’ off my list, I’ll be adding ‘Master a drive from the tee’ to next year’s list. I wonder what you’ll be adding to your list for 2017?
*You don’t have to look for them when you know they’ve landed in the water or up a tree either
Murray Downs Resort is located approximately five kilometres from Swan Hill and offers a range of golfing lessons, packages and equipment.
If you’re wanting a golfer’s take on the holes, I recommend George Beggs’s write up.