Four Rounds, Four Courses - One Day
A view from the Green
Two businessmen have completed a charity golfing challenge of 4 courses in one day.
Philip Slater reviews their experience:
James has just started a new job, I run a small business, both of which (along with a touch of complacency/laziness) prevented us from starting the fitness work which months ago we'd promised ourselves we would do in the lead up to the event. Then a couple of weeks prior to the challenge I learned that my company, Geneity, had been shortlisted to win an award, the ceremony being the night before our challenge! Unfortunately we didn't win and so whilst James was tucked up in bed I was sipping champagne and trying not to be seen constantly checking my watch. I managed to slip away from the awards ceremony just after midnight, feeling a little tipsy.
4.45am and with alarms ringing and a slightly fuzzy head I dragged myself out of bed, excited but slightly nervous that we might actually fail. So many people had supported our challenge and we simply couldn't fail. James arrived at my house at 5.15am looking far too chirpy for my liking, but a swift espresso later and I was feeling slightly more human. James had done a sterling job of organising sandwiches and snacks for the day, so we tucked into some fruit before our first round at Ealing GC.
We soon realised what was probably our biggest mistake of the day - we thought it would be a good idea to play the hardest course first to get it out of the way. Ealing, whilst having some of the finest fairways and greens I've ever played on, is also very tight, unforgiving and also has the River Brent running seemingly across each and every hole - a river which quickly developed a taste for our balls. The setting was certainly idyllic, not another person in sight, only the morning chorus for company and a couple of errant sprinklers to dodge, we strolled out onto the first tee feeling on top of the world. Three holes down and two lost balls and we were ready to head to the bar to drown our sorrows, fortunately for our challenge it wasn't open at 6.15am. Persist we must.
T-72 and counting...
We continued on and the course finally seemed to grasp what it was doing to our mental state and began to play a little easier. By 8.30am we were heading down the 18th in beautiful morning sunshine, James quickly totted up scores and whilst not our best round, we knew it should become easier from here on. A very quick drive on to West Middx GC amongst the morning rush hour of people on their way to work again raised our spirits. West Middx is a less challenging course but has some very interesting holes and the morning 'Seniors' competitors were only too happy to let us fly through them. Both of us felt now that we were making some inroads into the 72 and so rediscovered a spring in our step and as a result played some much better quality golf. We both chalked a decent scorecard around West Middx and tucked into some sandwiches en route to Wyke Green.
We hoped to see new members Ant and Dec out supporting us on arrival at Wyke Green, but alas they must have been caught out by the fact we were at this stage almost 90 mins ahead of schedule. We took heart from reaching the halfway point and with only minor aches and pains we set out on Round 3. By now the temperature was reaching the predicted early 20's, but a cooling breeze kept us fresh. Wyke Green is another very well kept course, less water than others meant more room for error, but still challenging when you found yourself straying into the mighty trees running alongside each fairway. However again we scored relatively well and felt we had truly exorcised our early morning demons. A final drive on to Airlinks and we rewarded ourselves with a beer prior to starting the final round of the day.
Airlinks is a course we know quite well, relatively young and open but still challenging and fun. We were really starting to feel the pace now and each step came with a grimace as the blisters on my feet grew and multiplied. The last 18 was a struggle but as we neared the conclusion of our challenge we were spurred on by lots of messages of support. Dragging ourselves down the psychological killer of an 18th was a real struggle - a dead straight par 5 stretching practically as far as the eye can see. James however was playing the round of his life, I wasn't. He seemed to bounce between shots, I dragged my battered feet every step of the way.
Finally we mounted the raised green and drained a long putt each to finish what had been a real challenge but a very satisfying feat. I shot 333 for the four rounds to James' 339, neither playing consistently well, but immediately the adrenaline rush of having succeeded in our challenge turned our thoughts towards what we could do next year, who wouldn't fancy going for 90!
June 17th, 2010