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Pops is 80 but not for beating
AS I HAVE mentioned before, one of the great advantages of golf is its handicap system.
It ensures a relatively fair fight between somebody like me, a relatively fit 29-year-old, and somebody like my wife’s grandfather, who recently turned 80.
Common sense would tell you that my grandfather in-law, or Pops as he is know in the family, should get some advantage for his ageing years – but that would be failing to recognise my complete lack of talent.
Indeed, if we were to play off full handicaps, Pops would have to give me five shots over the course of nine holes, which says a lot about our respective playing ability.
He may have lost some of the distance that made him a single-figure handicapper in his younger years but Pops still possesses a level of consistency that I can only dream of, while his short game remains incredibly solid.
To save me the embarrassment of having to take shots from a pensioner we do not use handicaps when we have a round together – but I only managed to beat him for the first time when we went out to celebrate his birthday recently.
I got off to a fine start, with an excellent drive leading to a par at the first that put me a hole up, while a bogey four at the second put me into unchartered territory, two up after two holes.
Of course, this didn’t last. The par-five third was a hole where I really should have made my ability to hit the ball further count but a series of duffs saw Pops’ consistency earn him a half.
I made a total mess of the next, hooking two balls wildly out of bounds to take a 10, while my two-hole advantage was wiped out as it took me two attempts to escape a bunker on the fifth.
I somehow managed to recover my composure to win the par-five sixth with a bogey, while a decent putt earned me a par at the next and I was suddenly two up with two to play.
A testy five footer was sunk at the penultimate hole to close out the match – but the victory was deemed somewhat hollow by the fact that Pops had taken two fewer shots over the course of the round.
I’m starting to think that I’ll never beat him.
Follow me on Twitter @JBoymanGazette