Would our handicaps be more reflective of our abilities if we always had to mark a card? Or is social, informal ‘friendly’ golf still too important a part of our enjoyment of the game to let go?
It is a question that has been put into sharper focus by the move towards a World Handicap System. On a golfing vacation in Dubai last year, I was surprised to learn that our resident hosts had to register every score they returned. A similar system operates in the USA. It seems to be heading our way.
My own club has recently increased the number of qualifiers to include all roll-ups but there is still an opt-out choice on the first tee. Some complain that the initiative has slowed play with everyone forced to putt out, others simply prefer the stick-or-twist challenge of the kind of go-for-it golf that is encouraged by a matchplay duel against good mates for a precious fiver.
I know the range is the correct place to practise swing changes but I also like to experiment a little on the course when time and company allow. A good ‘mulligan’ can teach you a lot. I enjoy the nervous buzz of a ‘counting’ round, I find a different mindset and intensity when my card is in someone else’s back pocket.
Handicaps are one of the great wonders of golf. They promote a unique kind of competition between young and old, men and women, good and erratic. No golfer worth their salt doesn’t want to get their handicap down. A cut is both the kindest and unkindest cut of all. I prefer to keep qualifiers as special occasions, ‘our’ tournament rounds.
Read my post on www.golf-
Today is the day! We fly to Cape Town for a feast of golf. Before January is out I will have played a dozen sun-kissed golf courses in this most beautiful part of the world. I just can’t wait.
Golf without layers!! Being wrapped up in 6 layers surely can’t do your golf much good. At last it’s time to get the sleeveless tops and skorts out. I am mad enough about golf to have ventured out in horizontal rain and winds strong enough to blow my bag over but sunshine golf is my kind of golf. It’s only 6,000 miles away.
Exactly two years ago, I followed the Garden Route to play 9 of the top 25-ranked courses in all of South Africa. In the coming 2 weeks, I will tick off 3 more of them. It’s a return trip to Cape Town. I enjoyed a fabulous fortnight in the shadow of Table Mountain ‘BG’ (before golf). Six years ago, I took in all the sights from Cape Point to Stellenbosch… strolled on Noordhoek Beach, dined at La Colombe and tasted the vine in Franschhoek. This time it’s golf, golf, golf!
There are 13 rounds in 13 days, all booked and paid for… so don’t go trying to change my mind on any of them! Local knowledge and advice would be very welcome, though. The GolfPeach tour of the Western Cape takes in…
Pearl Valley again!
If I am honest, I’m not expecting quite the same level of Championship tracks that I took on at Humewood, St Francis Bay, Knysna and Fancourt in 2016, but as long as I can feel the rays on my legs you won’t hear, see or read a word of complaint.
Sunny golf is ‘no excuses’ golf. No thermal layers to restrict the shoulder turn, no brollies to blow away, no numbing fingers to warm. There will be ocean breezes to contend with but even they will be welcome to blow away the hangovers from mellow evenings at Paranga, Roca, the Roundhouse, the Foodbarn and (of course) La Colombe. All table reservations are made… just need some of my very favourite big, bold (and er affordable) reds recommending now. I loved the Vergelegen Cab at Fancourt.
In my four years as a golfer, I have been truly privileged to have been able to tread in the historic footsteps of the great players on some of Britain’s finest tests. Still a relative rookie and yet I’ve already played St Andrews, Birkdale, Sunningdale, Old Head, Porthcawl, Celtic Manor, Sandwich, Hoylake, Swinley, Kingsbarns, St Enodoc, Woodhall and (whisper it) Trump. Lucky girl.
But maybe the biggest highlights of all have been the sheer release and luxury of escaping British winters for a weekend or longer to play in Tenerife, Thailand, Dubai, Mauritius and South Africa. Sunshine golf in January feels positively wicked and I do have that self-indulgent side to me! So, if you don’t want to see this grinning golf girl strutting the sun-soaked fairways with bare legs and arms in full, flaunted view… look away until February!
I know that I am now a golfer… not because I have made a birdie on the Old Course at St Andrews, not because my name is on the honours board at my local club, not because I bought my husband a romantic ball marker on our last anniversary. I am a golfer because I have talked out loud to a golf ball, because I have found myself practising my wrist cock in a supermarket queue, because I have cried on a golf course. Read my article on the 10 things they dont tell you about golf on Lady Golfer.com