THE good news is that my wrist has finally recovered enough for me to resume golfing activities. The bad news is that my enforced break from the game has not miraculously made me into a better player.
In fact, my first round back after a five-week absence was little more than an unmitigated disaster.
Things got off to an inauspicious start, with a dramatic slice off the first tee leading to a triple-bogey seven. Slicing with the driver became a feature of the front nine, with the aforementioned shot leading to another seven at the sixth and an eight at the seventh, not helped by some errant putting.
By the time we got to the ninth, I had begun subconsciously making the cardinal sin of any habitual slicer. Expecting to impart plenty of side-spin on my drive, I lined up aiming down the left – and duly made perfect contact, sending the ball straight into the undergrowth.
I somehow recovered to secure a fourth successive double bogey, progress considering what had gone before, but having taken 55 shots to reach the turn, my round was in tatters.
You’ll be unsurprised to hear that things did not improve much on the back nine. My driving improved, but my ball-striking was decidedly hit and miss and my putting dreadful.
Strangely, my wrist was causing me few problems when playing full shots, but I was feeling pain while attempting to putt. Whether this really played a part as I continuously smashed putts miles past the hole, I’m not sure, but it’s worth mentioning by way of mitigation.
Even when I played good shots, I managed to waste them. A fine tee-shot at the short par-four 16th left me with less than 100 yards to the green, but I took more turf than ball with my second shot and wound up in a bunker 30 yards short.
It was a similar story on the last hole. Another good tee shot left me with a nine-iron into the green, but I found a deep bunker.
Tight to the face, I swung my lob wedge as hard as possible and prayed. For once, my prayers were answered as the ball popped out perfectly, ending up five feet from the hole.
Of course, I missed the putt, which would have given me my only par of the day, resulting in a round of 110. At least I have an excuse this time.
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