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#43 - The Innocence of Youth and Integrity

This past weekend Archie joined me for both outings to Harleyford. Saturday saw us empty a basket of balls followed by a mini-match on Sunday. The latter by far his happy place. Blessed with unseasonably good January weather we returned to the course where we met a lovely couple who've become good friends over the past year.

On the way to the first tee Archie stopped at the club welcome sign that included the standard winter ruling known as "Preferred Lies". He hit me with a wonderfully innocent brace of questions; "Why would they want us to lie? Why not just tell the truth?"

What a legend. The life lessons are being listened to, and heard.

Post fatherly head-lock hug I briefly explained the Royal and Ancient allowance to find relief during the muddier months. His questions however left me pondering just how much I, and other golfers, are perhaps economical with the truth when it comes to our own game when playing alone. Dropping a second ball, preferred lies in the rough and gimmes measured in yards not inches - it's fair to say integrity starts from within. In short, don't cheat yourself.

So to honour this moment of realization the following is a 'what happened next' diary entry from Sunday, January 16th. Factually (and painfully) accurate nothing has been left out. I'll say it now, we've got some work to do but in the words of Dr. Bob Rotella; "Golf is not a game of perfect" (see below).

The First: Hooked the drive and hit a tree, punched an ugly 1/2 swing 7 iron to make yards, sculled a wedge 25 yards through the green and picked up - somehow justifying the early finish on catching up with Paul and Sarah who were the pairing ahead. The Second: having thrown a ball down on the fairway to make up our impromptu foursome I looked up at 230 (ish) yards to the pin. 'All thrust, no vector' would be a sound descriptor of what happened next as the ball sailed back in to the trees up the right hand side - just a bit crap on all fronts really. To compound the misery I then thinned the Provisional ball 30 yards past the pin. An embarrassing repeat of the first hole. Redemption came as I stumbled over the first "fairly crap" ball which thankfully was sent to heart of the green for a one putt and pick-up. The 3rd: Poor 7 iron short and left, flopped a delicate wedge onto the green and sunk the 15 footer for Par - happy days. The 4th: Great drive, great wedge pin-high, missed the 10 footer for birdie but was pleased with the kick-in Par to finish.

To summarize; The good, the bad and the ugly. In equal measure. The lesson; warm up first! Most importantly though it was fun for us all. Golf with my son and friends on a windless sunny January afternoon. It doesn't get much better.

Sincere thanks to Paul, Sarah and Archie for their company and for the recommendation below.

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