EARLIER this year, I got an invitation to play in the Hampshire Masters. Rather stupidly, I accepted.

To be fair, the Hampshire Masters is a rather grand name for what was actually a golfing get-together for a group of eight friends, but my performance would not have been much worse if it had been a professional event worthy of the name.

We decided to play two competitions, one individual and one pairs, with a rather complicated handicapping system cooked up in an attempt to make things fair.

The system attracted its fair share of criticism on Facebook before the ‘event’ got under way, but it worked out pretty well, just not for me.

I was paired up with a guy called Paul in the four-ball competition. He was down to play off scratch, so I thought we might have a good chance.

Sadly, neither of us were able to bring our A game to the course on that fateful Sunday afternoon in February. In fact, I think it’s fair to say we left our B and C games at home as well.

I hacked and duffed my way around the front nine, my only respite coming on a par-three. As the only one of the eight to hit the green (a truly excellent standard), I won the nearest-the-pin competition, only to find out that there wasn’t a prize.

My partner was suffering just as much, but while I am used to making a mess of almost every round I play, Paul has far higher standards, which made it even more galling when he kept smashing his ball deep into the trees.

At the halfway stage, there were only a handful of shots between us, which goes to show just how badly he was playing.

Fortunately for his mood, Paul improved a lot on the back nine. My form remained dreadfully poor, resulting in an appalling round of 110.

That was good enough for seventh place once the handicaps had been factored in, with my friend Russ, who had an even bigger nightmare than me, taking the wooden spoon.

I saw Russ play about five shots over the course of the day as he was in the other group. However, those shots included a slice out of bounds and an air-shot, both from the same tee.

However badly things are going, there’s normally somebody worse off.

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