ONE of the biggest frustrations about being a high-handicap golfer is never being able to persuade every element of your game to work well at the same time.

If you are hitting your driver well, there’s every chance that you are wasting excellent tee shots by making a total mess of your irons. If you’re putting well, you can never expect to have a good chipping day as well.

I have been struggling badly over the last couple of months, unable to hit any club with any consistency, but my short game had started saving my scorecard, with several rounds where I dipped close to 30 putts.

Thankfully, I seem to have sorted things out, and during a big match against brother-in-law and chief rival, Steve, I was hitting the ball really well.

My drives were finding the fairway, while my iron shots were actually going close to the place I was aiming. It sounds perfect, but sadly, my putting was dreadful.

The greens were quick, and I couldn’t get a feel for the pace. One putt would fly miles past the hole, with the next stopping well short, while I also struggled to make putts from short distance.

Fortunately, this didn’t really matter in the early stages of the round, because Steve was having a nightmare and I didn’t have to play that well to lead by six shots after just four holes.

The tide soon turned though, and with me struggling on the greens, Steve played some solid stuff to lead by a shot after 13 holes, while I survived a near-death experience.

On the 13th, the third member of our three-ball, Steve’s friend James did his best to take me out of the competition with a horrible thinned slice that followed me as I attempted to get out of its path. I just about escaped, but I’m pretty sure he was under instructions from Steve.

Spurred on by my brush with death, I managed to win the next hole, while the three after were halved to leave Steve and I level going up the 18th.

Steve went first, and I was delighted to see his tee shot fly straight up into the air and land behind a tree. I was even happier when I hit two excellent iron shots that resulted in a tap-in par, my first of the day, for a score of 98 and a four-shot victory, putting me 6-3 up over the course of the year.

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