EVERY golfer has a nemesis. It could be a competitor, a hole, a club or a shot, but every player knows the feeling of failing to get the better of something only too well.
It’s probably not something to be proud of, but I seem to have become something of a nemesis for my friend James.
Danno, as he is known in our golfing circle, only took up the game about a year ago, but I have little hesitation in predicting that he will eventually become a far superior player to me.
At the moment though, I seem to have some sort of hoodoo over him. Danno has beaten all of our other playing partners on at least one occasion but, for some reason, I’m the nut he cannot crack.
Our most recent encounter took place on Sunday, with me nursing a pretty nasty hangover following a stag do the night before.
Whether that meant I was predisposed to slice every single shot I played, I’m not sure, but that’s certainly what happened. My driving was especially poor, with the tone for the day set on the second hole, where I carved two balls way out of bounds.
It was a pattern that continued for the whole of the front nine and while my short game was surprisingly good, I reached the turn in 57, two behind Danno.
My brother-in-law, Steve, was way out in front and went on to claim a comfortable victory, putting him ahead of me in our annual battle.
My real competition was Danno, and things looked bleak as the back nine began in the same way the front nine had ended.
Having seen my ball disappear into the trees on the right from the 11th tee, I made the decision to forgo any club with less loft than a seven-iron for the rest of the round.
By the end of that hole I was five shots adrift of Danno and my new strategy didn’t seem to be paying off as I took an eight at the par-four 12th.
However, I then managed to find a groove and was just five-over-par for the last six holes, consigning Danno to defeat once more. I felt a bit guilty that the safety-first route had beaten him, but it didn’t last long.