The 3rd Green at Harleyford and new view through to the 14th and the first rays of sunshine.
There is something about seeing the dawn. Whatever it is you do the first light of the day is always special. This day was no different. This day was to be a day of firsts.
The first out on the course with a 08:21 tee time.
The first to play to re-opened 7th hole at Harleyford.
My first handicap - 4.1
Pleased doesn't even come close.
I was once told that learning to drive only really starts once you've passed your test. The golf handicap in many ways is the same. The handicap is a numerical accolade where low figures are held in high regard yet are often not played to*. With 4.1 on the clubhouse wall (actually an App) the fairway schooling has only just begun as I now need to prove myself, continuously. I'm certain the course will keep me honest and deliver generous helpings of humble pie. The swing still isn't at the 'unconscious competence' stage so the bad shots are out there. And were out there during the round. See below.....
The round was a tale of two halves. The best golf I have ever played and level par through 9 holes was followed by a butchering of the stretch coming home and a +6 total on my card. Once again, after the elation of finishing in single figures my thoughts turned to the 10th and where I'm told the wheels started to wobble. I could blame the 15kt head-wind but if I'm honest the mental game left me after a woeful double bogey that should have been a Par. In the space of 4 poor shots I relapsed to the me of 2021 and the game of perfect (#43) . I never really recovered. I three putted a trio of greens hit in regulation which looking back is more disappointing than the 10th. It is now also the focus of February's practice schedule and Operation Flat-Stick.
I created neverlayup.com to chronicle my journey to level par. I'm not quite there yet but I'm close and I've achieved a life goal registering 4.1 with the R&A and perhaps more so with myself. It turns out I am a golfer after all. It feels great.
*USGA research has shown a 20-25% success rate of golfers playing to their published handicap.