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Corby Priors Hall - 25/08/17

After Thursday's encouraging performance at Lakeside Lodge I was feeling confident as the Mad Cats lined up to tee off at Priors Hall. Last July I almost managed a prize position on this course so hopes were high. The 1st tee is high above the fairway, reflecting that this area was once a large quarry, although all other evidence of this has since been obscured by nature. Conditions were perfect. Warm, with little wind, and if anything a bit too hot later in the day.

On the 1st I drove well but the ball drifted right and rolled towards the tree line after landing. I didn't think that there would be a problem finding it, but our joint efforts failed to do so. Going back to the tee wasn't an option as this would have delayed following groups, so I dropped and took a two point penalty for personal scoring purposes. As far as the Mad Cats' competition was concerned, the lost ball meant the hole was blobbed. Playing out the hole didn't go that well anyway, my hybrid shot after the drop was short and right, landing the in rough. A pitching wedge shot was then equally bad, needing another to get on the green. Two putts gave me an 8. Last year I parred this hole, so my start couldn't have been more discouraging.

Fortunately the 2nd went much better. A good straight drive, that managed to miss both fairway bunkers, was followed a hybrid and pitching wedge, leaving me just off the green. A putt on and two putts for 6 gave me a nett par. Last year I picked up on this hole after three unsuccessful attempts to get out of the green-side bunker. Win some, lose some!

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Rutland Water Golf Club - 28/07/17

As I foretold in my previous report, yesterday I went to Rutland Water with the Mad Cats' society. A day full of promise, having watched the fly-over of the 18-hole championship course on the web site, amusingly narrated by Peter Alliss. The weather forecast was for a bright and breezy day, so I wore a light shirt and a sleeveless pullover. Well, as is often the case of late, the forecast was woefully wrong. It was heavily overcast and at times the 'breeze' made it difficult to maintain ones balance when trying to tee off. And there was a constant threat of light drizzle but fortunately we suffered only one brief shower.



Add to this uninviting ambiance the fact that our round took no less than five and a quarter hours, and you will not be surprised that I got very cold, and about midway through the back nine I think I psychologically gave up. Things had been going wrong and with all the adverse influences of weather and personal comfort I think my concentration just drifted away. The result, a fairly average front nine and an absolutely disastrous return.

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Pavenham Park - 30/06/17

Today was the Mad Cats' outing and we went to Pavenham Park, near Bedford, a course I hadn't played before. The Mad Cats is a group of senior club members that has an away day every month to different courses, with a friendly competition and small prizes, plus the honour of the Mad Cats' trophy for the overall winner. All good fun and there is a meal at the end of play.

Pavenham is a championship grade course and in its publicity it states:

"The final challenge is to master and understand the unique USPGA style greens which offer the golfer a glimpse of the banks and slopes associated with Augusta National."

If you can putt at Pavenham Park, you can putt anywhere!

Well, they weren't kidding. I played probably one of my best games for a Mad Cats' outing in terms of teeing off and approaches to the greens, but the putting was incredibly difficult. I had six 3-putts and one 4-putt, with a total putting score of 40. This meant that there were a number of holes that were blobbed purely because of the putting. I also had some really good iron shots onto the greens, much better than average, but in many cases the ball just ran down the slope of the green and onto the fringe. These greens need wedge play and backspin, the first not currently being in my bag, and the second being beyond my capabilities. Chip-and-run doesn't work!

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Thorpe Wood - 19/05/17

After yesterday's well below par performance at Lakeside Lodge it was with a bit of trepidation that I set off for Thorpe Wood for the monthly Mad Cats' meeting. Although we play for small prizes and the honour of holding the trophy for the month, this is very much a fun affair. But, even so, you don't want to make a complete fool of yourself. The weather gods weren't altogether kind, as it was raining as we teed off, although it moderated on the way round, while always being threatening. This was my first visit to this course in Peterborough. You park on the opposite side of a busy road and crossing with your trolley is hazardous as the ubiquitous fast drivers come round the bends on either side. It really needs some warning signs, not that some drivers would take any notice.

The 1st is a par 3, unusually. This doesn't promote a very quick get away as you really need to wait until the green is clear before teeing off. Not that I needed to worry, my nervy first tee shot striking the ground with the ball only going about 80 yards. The next 9-iron wasn't much better and I wasn't on until the next with a pitching wedge. Two putts for a nett bogey 5. Still, I was away and had scored on the hole, so my nerves settled a bit.

The 2nd started better and after three shots I was just off the green. I putted on and two-putted for a 6, another nett bogey. At least I was scoring.

The 3rd came with a warning when I spoke to a local player in the car park while unpacking. It's a long par at 448 yards and the River Nene runs along the right hand side while there are trees left. The Nene wasn't my problem on the tee shot, which was topped slightly and ran along the ground, coming to rest in a dry ditch that crosses the fairway about 70 yards out. I managed to get out with my pitching wedge, which was adjudged by my co-players as a good shot! I then hit a long hybrid that kept left, as intended, but perhaps a bit too much so, disappearing behind trees. In the event it was safe and another hybrid got to within a 9-iron of the green, which I managed to achieve. I could have rescued a point with two putts, but needed three for a blobbed 8.

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Rushden Golf Course - 23/09/16

Today was the Mad Cats outing to Rushden, a new course for me. It wasn't a very satisfying day for a number of reasons, my performance being just one of them. I was in the last group out, which meant a wait of over one and a half hours before teeing off, which is never good. We were a male four-ball following a female four-ball. It was slow, very slow, the round taking just under 5 hours. At least the weather was good, although the wind freshened as we played.

My first problem was that my Garmin device seemed to be showing a different course to the one that I was playing. I later found out that the course had been redesigned, the back nine clearly being very different from the front. When I got home I updated the Garmin over the internet, but it was a bit too late. So I had no distances to work with which resulted in quite a few misjudged shots. Add to that some pretty awful shots and you probably get the picture.

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Wyboston Lakes - 26/08/16

Our August Mad Cats outing was at Wyboston Lakes, a new course for me. As the name suggests, there's plenty of water around. Brilliant sunshine all day with a fresh light breeze which was very welcome.

The 1st plays around a large lake, so you need a drive of 180 yards plus to get to the corner. I made it, just, with my 5-wood, having left my wayward driver at home. A couple of hybrids then got me close to the green, an 8-iron chip and two putts giving me a nett birdie 6 on this par 5. A good start.

I had driven off on a low (red) tee on the 1st with the 5-wood, and it worked well, but on the 2nd I was thin and bizarrely the ball hit one of the ladies' tee point markers, ricocheted off, and ended up in the middle of the 1st fairway. Playing back through the trees wasn't easy and it took me two shots to get back on to the 2nd, and even then I wasn't on the fairway. A hybrid and 7-iron took me to the back of the green, and a putt on and two more putts added up to a nett triple bogie 8. So much for the good start.

Wyboston Lakes holes 1 nad 2 - 26 August 2016


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Corby Priors Hall - 29/07/16

I came close to winning a prize today and it was only a couple of silly mistakes that robbed me of it. This was my second time at Corby and while the 1st tee is memorable, located as it is at the top of a hill, I couldn't remember much about most of the other holes, although I recognised them as we went around. It was drizzling as we started but this cleared quickly and after a mixture of cloud and sun during the morning it became very warm after midday.

People were having trouble off the first tee, but I landed just off the fairway to the right and then put my next hybrid shot just short of the green. A 7-iron chip and one putt for a par was a very good start and a nett birdie for 3 points.

By contrast the 2nd was very sad. A good 180 yard drive was again followed by a good hybrid leaving me 50 yards from the green. I then shanked my 9-iron into the bunker to the right. The bunkers on this course aren't friendly and I proceeded to have three unsuccessful attempts to get out before picking up for a blob. My auspicious start had been immediately nullified.

I recovered with a 6 on the par 5, 3rd, a nett par. I kept out of trouble all the way, with a drive, two 5-woods, a 9-iron, 7-iron and one putt.

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Tydd St Giles Golf & Country Club - 01/07/16

The second outing this year for the Mad Cats seniors' group. And a new course for me.

There were nine four-ball groups playing today and the club gave us a good breakfast before we started and a very enjoyable meal after we played. I went out in the second group of two men and two women.

It was a Stableford individual competition for small prizes. Because of this I picked up on holes 6 and 17 and didn't putt out. My Game Golf system doesn't really cater for Stableford, where you occasionally pick up, as it records stroke play. Therefore, for the purposes of completing the Game Golf scorecard I have added shots based on an assumed putting out total, but officially only the Stableford score is valid.

I started brilliantly. Having put my drive a little left I took a hybrid and played over trees to almost reach the 1st green. A perfect 7-iron chip-and-run left me with an easy putt for a par 4, a nett birdie and 3 points. The 2nd was just as good, having reached the green in two, I two-putted for another par 4, and 3 more points.
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Bourn Golf & Leisure Club - 21/04/16

Today was the first outing of the season with the 'Mad Cats', so named because they used to meet in the pub of that name near to the Lakeside Lodge course. It's a seniors' club that plays once a month at different courses, which offers the opportunity to try new challenges.

I hadn't played the Bourn course previously and for me it turned out to be a mixture of success and failure. The weather was kind. Not a lot of sun but it was bright and the wind wasn't too troublesome.

The par 3, 1st sets an immediate challenge with a water-filled ditch in front of the green. I opted for my driver, which unsurprisingly overshot the green but not by much. A chip back on and two putts for a 4 gave me a nett par and two points.

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