Archives for 2018 | Kilburnlad | Golf | Diary

Kilburnlad

Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 29/10/18

I played today but it was so bad that I'm not going to give the normal walk-through. I've been suffering a lot of sciatica lately and I think I'm at the point where I must accept that the golf isn't helping. I really struggled today over the last few holes, feeling that my mobility was gradually reducing. My game certainly deteriorated. Weather wise we are at last experiencing a colder spell, although it was bright and not too cold while you were in the sun. Certainly I can't blame the weather for my performance.

My driving held up and most of my hybrid shots stayed out of trouble although I did manage to pull the ball left into the lake on the 8th. My irons were very patchy, with some good shots but far too many bad ones. Four-putting on the 4th after a reasonably good approach didn't help the final outcome, especially as I followed that with three putts on the 5th.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 25/10/18

Yet another glorious autumn day that started with a bit of a chill in the air but warmed up as the sun did its work while the wind stayed away. Perfect conditions in fact, and a good start for me, but as usual a few mistakes robbed me of that sub-handicap round.

A good clean drive on the 1st made 170 yards and was in the centre of the fairway. Two hybrids and an 8-iron put me on the green where I didn't quite manage a par 5, taking 6 for a nett par. Another safe drive on the 2nd followed by a 7-iron left me just short of the green. A chip on and two putts gave me a 5 for another nett par. I took my driver on the short 3rd and was just off the right of the green. A gap wedge on and two putts for a nett birdie 4. A long drive on the 4th followed by two well-placed 7-irons left me a chip on and one putt for a nett birdie 5.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 18/10/18

The fine weather continues into late October but the areas of longer grass are now heavy and damp, proving much more of a challenge should you need to chip out, especially when close to the greens. I was quite happy up until Hole 8, managing to control my game and not do anything too silly. But a pulled drive on the 8th gave me my first blob, and then I really messed up the 9th.

Autumn colours - Hole 6 - 18 October 2018
Autumn colours on Hole 6

We teed off earlier than I had expected, giving me no time to warm up. I didn't hit my drive off the 1st that well and was lucky it stayed out of the ditch on the right. However, after that I managed a couple of reasonable hybrids and put the ball on the green for 4. Unfortunately three putts left me with a nett bogey 7. The drive on the 2nd was better and although my hybrid didn't make the green, as a result of sending the shot through the outer branches of a tree, I pitched on for three, with two putts for a nett par 5.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 11/10/18

Another day and another disappointing round. The score wasn't outlandish but there were just too many bad shots. My driving is holding up but the mid-fairway shots are unpredictable and the shorter irons frustratingly bad. But the weather was once again amazing for mid October, although the wind did play a part.

The 1st started well, with a safe drive and two reasonable hybrid shots, although the second of those did stray a little too close to the lake on the left. I then was short with what should have been an easy pitch, needing to tap back on with an iron. Two putts a nett bogey 7 that could easily have been a par 5. For once I got the drive right on the 2nd, starting to the left and coming round to mid fairway, making 192 yards in the process. I then pitched on for 2, but three-putted for a nett par 5.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 09/10/18

The beautiful autumn weather continues and today I played with my wife and her friends, teeing off the red tees to be sociable. I actually had quite a good round and if it wasn't for a complete disaster on the 2nd, things would have been even better. My driving was very consistent, and I putted reasonably well, but I again let myself down with some very poor iron shots.

Things couldn't have started better as I was on the green for 3 on the 1st, and two-putted for a par. This made what happened on the 2nd all the more galling. My drive found the ditch because of a combination of my shot and a strongish cross-wind. I dropped but then hit a 7-iron that nearly put me back in the ditch again. It left me with the bunker between me and the green, and my very positive attempt to clear the bunker sent the ball across the green and under a bush, from where I needed to take another drop. I thinned the chip, sending the ball back across the green and off again. I then thinned another chip again sending the ball back across the green. A putt on and one more putt gave me 7 strokes, plus two penalties for a 9!

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 04/10/2018

Yet another beautiful day in what is a superb Indian summer. And we now have winter rules in force, meaning that it's possible to the lift the ball on the fairway if it's sitting on the bald patches remaining from the scorching summer conditions. Unfortunately this additional advantage didn't stop me once again recording a disappointing score.

My driving wasn't quite as accurate today but I managed for the most part to stay out of trouble and achieve respectable distances. This was the case off the first tee, but I then pulled my hybrid shot sending the ball into the trees to the left. I was only on the edge of the trees but my 6-iron out sent the ball through some foliage. I lost sight of it, but a loud 'wood' contact confirmed I had once again pulled the shot, the destination tree being within the lake hazard. We eventually found the ball, which was unplayable, but I had already dropped and played an 8-iron to the right of the green. A pitch on and two putts for a blobbed 8.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 01/10/18

After watching the highlights of the Ryder Cup (we haven't got Sky!) enthusiasm was high. We always think the next game is going to be The One, but this feeling is often magnified after watching the Pros at work. However, as is often the case, one's dreams rarely match reality.

Once again the weather was fine, although a cold wind necessitated a couple of extra layers. Here's the view looking back down the 7th fairway.

Hole 7 - 01 October 2018

I didn't start too badly. My drive and first hybrid shot were almost of equal distance, leaving me about 130 yards from the pin. I then put the next shot over the bank on the right and into the ditch. I tried playing out, but failed, so took a drop, from where I pitched on. I should have immediately taken the drop, as this would have saved a shot. Lesson learned. What was even more annoying was that I putted in, which would have been a 6 without the drop. As it was, it was a net bogey 7.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 27/09/18

Today's effort wasn't much of an improvement on my outing with the women on Tuesday. Once again conditions were good, which is more than I can say for my golf.

I found the right-side ditch with my drive off the 1st tee. A penalty drop was followed by wild hybrid that put me well into the trees on the opposite side of the fairway. A 7-iron out managed to avoid all the trees and put me back on the fairway, from where a 3-wood recovered some ground. I then got on with an 8-iron and two-putted for a blobbed 8. Not a good start. The 2nd was only a minor mishap in comparison. After my drive I went over the ball with my hybrid, moving it hardly any distance. The next attempt was better, allowing me to pitch on, two putts giving me a nett bogey 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 25/09/18

I missed my Monday golf this week because it was a 'French' Monday, when I go to my U3A French group. So I joined Helen and her friends on the Tuesday, playing off the red tee boxes to be social. That should have made things easier, but I managed to make quite a hash of things. No excuses, the weather was good, the only negative being the rock-hard fairways that still have lots of bald spots.

I was in the left-side trees off the 1st tee, clearing poorly, and then hitting a mediocre hybrid. My 8-iron then left the ball precariously balanced on the edge of the bunker, from where I hit across the green, needing another chip back on. Three putts then sealed my fate with an 8. The 2nd was an absolute disaster. I thought I had found the right-side ditch with my drive, but the ball was in fact just on the edge of the slope, well beneath my feet. I had an air shot with my first attempt, and almost another with the next. Third time lucky but still well short of the green, from where I took a chip and run shot. Three putts finished the debacle with a 9!

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Aylesbury Park Golf Club - 17/09/18

We spent a few days at Hartwell House, a very impressive National Trust owned Relais & Chateau hotel, which was only five minutes drive from Aylesbury Vale Golf Course. We had pre-booked but it was very quiet and we enjoyed 18 holes in pleasant weather with nobody holding us up in front, nor pressing us from behind. This is how golf should be.

The 1st hole showed a ditch at 190 yards but it didn't appear anywhere near that far. I took a 7-iron to lay up but soon realised that I should have believed the distance, as I was still a way from the ditch. A weak hybrid shot went left, just missing the ditch but leaving me an 8-iron shot over the edge of trees. I could only hit to the right and the ball ran on, nearly disappearing into the heavy rough. Fortunately it didn't, but my next iron was short, requiring another chip on. Two putts for a 7 gave me a nett bogey, but it was a very shaky start.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course -13/09/18

Perfect conditions, bright sun but not to warm and little wind. Nothing to blame there, although the fairways are still like concrete, which is a problem for me at least. With that introduction you can guess that things didn't go too well.

8th fairway - 13 September 2018

I put my drive in the left-side trees on the 1st but cleared well with a 6-iron. I then put a hybrid shot about 50 yards short of the green and pitched on for 4. But I four-putted to ruin everything with a resounding blob. I found the trees again on the 2nd and managed to hit one playing out, sending my ball about 10 yards further back from where I started. A good hybrid put me within a chip of the green and two putts rescued a nett bogey 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 10/09/18

It was a sort of middling day today. My drives behaved themselves but I wasn't hitting the irons well, whether it be long or short shots. The weather was fine, a bit cooler than of late and some wind, but nothing to complain about. Once again play was slow, which now seems to be a regular occurrence.

A nice straight drive on the 1st followed by a hybrid of almost the same distance was a good start. My next hybrid was shorter and didn't quite make the green. I then thinned the chip sending me off the far side of the green. The putt on was a bit short but I put the next putt down for a nett per 6. I not only avoided the ditch today on the 2nd but managed a good drive of 182 yards. My 7-iron was then short, needing another chip on. Two putts for a nett par 5, a good start.
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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 06/09/18

Back on track today after Monday's problems. Not perfect by any means, as it involved quite a lot of recovery from poor shots, but barring the 8th, which I messed up after a good approach, things worked out reasonably well. Once again the weather was perfect, warm with little wind. The course is, however, still very dry, with many bald spots on the fairways that are tricky to play off.

My drive on the 1st was good at 182 yards, but the ball came to rest on the path, necessitating a free drop into the rough. I took the hybrid out, which probably wasn't a good choice, as it only made 90 yards. The same club took me forward 144 yards with the next shot, although I was again in the rough. My 8-iron put me on the green and two putts gave me a nett par 6. Not a bad good outcome despite the problems I created along the way. I once again ended up on the path on the 2nd. My drop put me on the sloping bank and the next shot went left, not reaching the green. I messed up the chip and then put the next one long, needing two putts to get down for a nett bogey 6.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 03/09/18

After Friday's victory, today it was down to earth with a bump. Nothing seemed to be working, and although I scrambled some not-too-bad scores on a few holes, overall it was pretty dire. The weather was perfect, so no excuses there, although the ground was very hard, having dried out again as a result of little rain recently. This made the iron shots a bit more tricky, well for me at least.

The 1st went so badly that it probably psychologically affected the rest of the round. The drive went into the left-side trees, from where I aimed to play out through what was a reasonable gap. But the ball struck one of the trees, rebounding to come to rest hard up against the trunk of a low conifer. There was no option other than to take a penalty drop, after which I managed again to catch a tree, causing the ball to remain within the left-side rough. A hybrid out followed by a decent iron shot to the green got me on for 7, and three putts left me with an inglorious 10.

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Mowsbury Park - Bedford - 31/08/18

For a change I can write a report that is a cause for celebration. Today was the Mad Cats Society's monthly outing. The organiser, John, calculates your handicap based on performance with the society, the starting point being your club handicap. As a result, my handicap had previously crept up to 28, but conscious of my inability to play even to that figure, John had upped it to 30 for today's outing. This act of generosity, aimed at giving everybody a chance to win something, coincided with me actually managing to play a very controlled round. The result was a score of 38 points, enough to make me the top man on the day. Something that was far from my expectations when I set off in the morning.

Conditions were perfect. Bright and cloudy to start with, with the sun breaking through later to produce a warm day with very little wind. As for the course, I'm convinced I've played there before, but I can find no record of this in my diary, nor in archived copies of the Mad Cats' programmes. This remains a mystery.

My drive off the 1st tee was good, which is always reassuring on a society day. The second shot, however, needed to clear a lateral ditch, so I played safe and laid up. I put the next iron shot to the right of the green with a bit of a shank, but played a good gap wedge over the banking around the green, allowing two putts for a nett bogey 6. The 2nd was very controlled. A longish drive, hybrid and iron down the middle, with a chip and one putt for a nett birdie 5. A good result on this long par 4 (418 yards) which is a par 5 for the women.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 28/08/18

I went out with the women again yesterday having missed my Monday golf because of a family event. This gave me the opportunity to hand in another card and thus fulfil my obligation to submit three cards to maintain a handicap rating. The previous two cards weren't great. Today was a bit better if one ignores the complete and utter disaster on the 15th. Another interesting outcome was that I had a 6 on each of the outgoing 9 holes, bar the par 3, 3rd, where I had a 4. The back 9 wasn't so good.

A straight drive off the 1st tee followed by two similarly straight hybrids allowed me to put an 8-iron shot on the green. I was a couple of inches short of a par, but the knock-in gave me a nett par 6. On the 2nd my drive arced right and the ball bounced into the ditch, which fortunately is still dry. A drop and a couple of iron shots got me to the green, where two putts gave me a nett bogey 6. Yet again my attempt to lay up on the 3rd didn't quite work out with a very short tee shot. I managed to pitch over the bunker but the ball ran off the back of the green. A chip on and one putt for a nett birdie 4.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 23/08/18

Another frustrating day. The day before I had tried out my 3-wood on the driving range and was pleased with the way it performed. Previous experience with this club was that of unwanted slices, but on the range the balls were going straight and long. So I decided to take the driver out of the bag and go with the 3-wood. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake. Yet again, play was painfully slow, meaning that we had people waiting behind us on a lot of the tees. Just what you need when you're making a hash of things.

It started well on the 1st. The 3-wood cracked off making a 170 yard fairway shot. Two middling hybrids followed by a nice 8-iron put me on for 4, my putt stopping no more than an inch from the cup to rob me of a par. Nett par 6. The euphoria didn't last long. On the 2nd I had taken the hybrid out of the bag for the tee shot, fearing I would slice out-of-bounds with the 3-wood. But my confidence got the better of me, and I returned for the 3-wood. Result. A slice out-of-bounds. I took a second off the tee with the hybrid but it wasn't that great, needing a drop off the path. I then sliced again and put a second ball out-of-bounds. Now on 5, my 7-iron made the green but I needed two putts for a blobbed 8.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 20/08/18

After last Friday's embarrassing outing I was hoping that today may go a little bit better and help restore my confidence. I changed my driver from Helen's old Cobra to the one from a PGA set that I bought years ago. With a higher capacity head I was hoping for a bit more distance while retaining the relative good behaviour of the Cobra club. The conditions were perfect, warm with absolutely no wind, if a bit on the humid side. And fortunately while we had to wait a bit from time to time, play was nowhere near as frustratingly slow as last Friday.

Things didn't start too well. I hit a good drive of 180 yards, thus justifying the change of driver, but the ball ran on into the left-side trees and I had to drop from under a conifer. A sideways chip out was followed by a long hybrid shot of 163 yards. The next, unfortunately, was sliced and went out-of-bounds to the right. Another penalty drop and I put the ball off the left of the green. My chip through the long grass was hopeless, needing another to get on. A single putt made my shot tally 7, but with two penalties it was a 9. Not a great start.
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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 17/08/18

I was talked into playing for the third time in a week, another 18 holes and a supplementary card for handicap purposes. It all started so well but quickly deteriorated into probably the worst game of golf I've played since I first picked up a golf club. Embarrassed is an understatement, and on this occasion I certainly shan't be documenting all the finer details. To make matters worse, it was again a painfully slow round with people waiting on every tee. My golf is pretty hopeless but quite frankly some people just shouldn't be on the main course. Both their golf and their golfing etiquette just doesn't merit their presence.

As I've said, things started well with a par on the 1st. My second hybrid shot equalled my drive in length and I was on the green for 4, finishing with a single putt. The euphoria was short-lived. My drive on the 2nd sliced right out-of-bounds. The next drive went into the trees to the left and my first attempt to get out found a tree. Back on the fairway for 5, I put the next shot left into a laurel bush where it was unplayable. A penalty drop for 7, then a pitch to the green and two putts totalled an unbelievable 10. Psychologically I don't think I recovered from this, as on the 3rd I found the bunker and took no less than three shots to get out, giving me an 8 on this par 3. You are probably starting to get the picture.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 14/08/18

Golf two days running, quite unusual for me. The reasons, rain was forecast for my usual Thursday outing, plus I wanted to do 18 holes and complete a supplementary card to go towards maintaining a handicap rating. I played with my wife, Helen, and two of her friends.

Things started well, with me on the green for 4 on the par 5, 1st. I didn't quite manage the par putt, but was down in 6 for a nett par. The 2nd wasn't too bad either. Just short of the green for 2, I overdid the chip, leaving a long putt back off the fringe. Two putts for a nett bogey 6. Taking a hybrid off the 3rd tee left me short and in the bunker. I got out but was only just on the green, leaving a long putt. I needed three in the end for a nett par 5.

Even the tricky 4th went quite well. I was on the green for 4 and two-putted for a nett par 6. Things started to go wrong on the 5th, where I again found a bunker and needed two shots to get out. My chip on was then good but I just missed the putt, leaving me with a blobbed 6. I survived the 6th, where despite a poor second shot I was on for three, two putting for a nett par 5. The 7th was then a mini-disaster. I topped the drive, which made only about 60 yards. Two not-so-good hybrids got me within an 8-iron shot to the green, but I shanked it right. The next one was good, but I was now on 5 and three putts for 8 meant another blob.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course- 13/08/18

Monday is practice day, so today I thought I would use my 6-iron in place of my 23 degree hybrid for fairway shots. I had hit a long 6-iron on a previous outing and I was hoping to reduce the number of bodged shots with this alternative approach. It didn't work. I made as many if not more poor shots with the 6-iron, culminating in high scores on the final three holes after a very promising start.

Conditions were good. The ground is now a bit softer after recent rain and there was virtually no wind. We had a bit of light rain but it only lasted about 15 minutes. So no excuses!

After a safe if short drive on the1st, I took a hybrid but hit a poor shot. This was the moment I decided to switch to the 6-iron, and the next shot with this club was certainly better. I was then a bit thin on my 8-iron but the result was good, putting me on the green with a possible par putt. I needed two, but it was still a nett par 6. Another safe drive on the 2nd was again followed by a poor 6-iron, but I then reached the green on this short par 4 with my 8-iron. Two putts for a net par 5.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 09/08/18

After the long hot dry spell, today rain was forecast. The right decision would have been to watch the rain out of the window and feel good about its beneficial effect on our very sad looking garden. But we took a gamble and went to play golf. It was already raining lightly as we teed off, although it felt quite refreshing after weeks of blistering temperatures. But on the 7th the promised heavy rain arrived, and the 8th and 9th proved to be a struggle. I should have walked in!

My clean drive on the 1st was followed by a terrible hybrid shot that put me into the trees on the left. I managed to get out through the trees with a low 6-iron and then put my next hybrid shot onto the green. Two putts for a nett par was a welcome recovery from a shaky start. But on the 2nd my drive hit the conifer on the left and dropped under it, close to the trunk. All I could do was knock the ball out a few yards with the putter. To avoid the ditch to the right I then put a low 6-iron along the tree line, a shot that exceeded my expectations. All I then needed to do was pitch about 50 yards to the green, but I managed to go left into the bunker. I got out but still needed a chip on, followed by two putts for a blobbed 8.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 06/08/18

Another blistering hot day, my car showing 32℃ after we finished the round. To make matters worse there was a society in front, and at our designated tee time of 11.16 the last group from the society hadn't yet teed off. So we had the 11.08 pair waiting on the tee, us, and another group behind us. Things didn't improve as we made our way around, nearly every shot involving a wait. It was a matter of trying to find shade while things sorted themselves out.

I had a lucky start, my drive going left into the trees but bouncing off one back onto the fairway. A good hybrid on the way to the green gave me a nett par 6. I just clipped a left-side tree on the 2nd but the drive still made 170 yards. My next shot was a bit short and after chipping on I two-putted for a net par 5. On the 3rd I drove just short of the green. A 6-iron 'putt' to keep under the willow branches got me on the green, where two putts secured a net birdie 4.

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Rutland Water Golf Club - 03/08/18

I played at Rutland Water last July and didn't have a particularly good experience, the back nine being somewhat of a disaster. So for my first Mad Cats' outing this year perhaps Rutland wasn't the best choice. At least this time I didn't freeze, the seemingly never ending hot weather making sure of that. It was, in fact, quite gruelling. The course played well considering the long dry period although the rock-hard fairways didn't help some of my ground shots. And the greens were difficult to hold. On a few occasions what appeared to be good shots, pitching well before the green, ran on and then promptly ran off again. Very frustrating.

On the plus side this time I managed a fairly controlled front nine, coming in on 54, just one better than last year, and again only blobbing one hole. The highlight was on the par 3, 4th, which I parred and also won the nearest-the-hole competition with my hybrid tee shot. My first ever 'win' at the Mad Cats. A box of three golf balls, which almost compensated for the four balls lost over the day. Read More…

Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 30/07/18

The good rounds of a few weeks ago are certainly becoming distant memories as I lapse back into mediocrity. After a week off, when I went on a French course, I was hoping for a return to form today. Unfortunately this didn't happen, with far too many bad strikes leading to recovery situations and the attendant additional shots.

I didn't start too bad. The drive on the 1st was short and the second poorly hit, but the following hybrid was good and I then pitched to the green for 4. Two putts for a nett par 6. On the 2nd the drive was longer but the ball rolled into the right-side ditch. But because of the lack of rain the ditch is now dry and I played out. My pitch was then long and I needed to putt on from the back of the green. I just missed with my first putt on the green, taking two for a net bogey 5.
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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 19/07/18

Well, it seems my rounds of 45 and 47 were indeed blessed with a fair amount of luck, since it appears that I've now reverted to my usual error-ridden performance. Today was almost a carbon-copy of Monday. Same total and only one less putt. However, I think that at times I was a bit unfortunate, no more so than on the 5th, where what seemed to be a perfect tee shot bounced violently right off the rock-hard ground, straight into a bunker.

I didn't start well. I usually select a slightly higher tee on the 1st to allow for any initial body stiffness, changing to a lower tee when I've warmed up. This time I went straight to the lower tee and topped the ball, sending it an unimpressive 37 yards. I recovered well with a hybrid and was on the green for 5 (effectively 4 after the wasted drive), but I then three-putted for a blobbed 8. After a long drive and a good hybrid I was on the 2nd green for 2, quite a rarity. I was, however, right at the back of the green and having underplayed my first putt on the 1st, promptly overplayed it on the 2nd. With a long putt back it wasn't surprising that I again three-putted.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 16/07/18

After a couple of respectable rounds recently, on Monday I reverted to my usual frustrating play. Too many mistakes and some pretty awful putting stats.

It was yet again extremely hot, pushing 30℃. That didn't help. Also the course is like concrete and any misjudgement on ground shots can have unpredictable consequences.

I didn't start too badly on the 1st, being just off the green for 3. However, a poor chip and three putts resulted in a nett bogey 7. I went well into the left side trees on the 2nd. I knocked out sideways and then proceeded to put the next shot in the right side bunker. I got out but it left me a long putt and I was probably lucky to get down in two for a 6, another nett bogey.

On the 3rd I went well right and had to make a ground-hugging shot to avoid the low hanging willow branches. The ball just made the green and I managed to putt out in two for a nett birdie 4. Having played the 4th brilliantly a couple of times recently, today was payback. I sliced my second shot into the trees and, once more playing a low shot out, I got the direction wrong. Result, the ball was lost in the lake. I dropped, then didn't reach the green with the pitch, putted on and two-putted for a blobbed 7.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 12/07/18

I don't want to say this too loudly, but things seem to be looking up a bit for my golf. After a 45 on 2 July, I almost repeated it today, but my poor par 3 scores made it a 47. Still, by my standards this was exceptional. I've started carrying with a reduced club set, mainly to save having to get a trolly and trolly bag in my small car. But perhaps using fewer clubs allows me to become more familiar with each of them, and think a bit more about each shot. Who knows?

A good drive off the 1st was followed by a less than good hybrid. Playing after a drop from the path I hit a good 6-iron and followed this with an 8-iron that ran off the back right of the green. The pin was, however, towards the back of the green, and an 8-iron 'putt' dropped in, giving me an unexpected par and nett birdie. I managed not to make too much of a mess of the 2nd. My second shot went right and left me with a pitch over the bunker, a shot that went badly wrong on Tuesday. This time it was more controlled and with two putts I had a nett par 5.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 10/07/18

I joined Helen and her friend Lorna today and played off the red tee boxes. It was more of a practice than anything serious. After weeks of blistering heat the temperature had dropped significantly, showing 17 ℃ when we got out of the car, compared to 28 ℃ yesterday. And there was a bit of a fresh breeze. But it did warm up a bit as we made our way around.

I started well, the 160 yard second shot with my hybrid leaving me a pitch to the green. I put the ball on the green but it rolled off to the left, fortunately coming to rest before having the chance to roll further down the slope into the bunker. A decent chip and a putt for a par 5, but off the red tee box of course.

Things went completely awry on the 2nd. The drive came dangerously close to rolling into the ditch on the right. From there I hit a very poor 6-iron and followed it with an equally poor 8-iron. I then had to chip over the bunker and completely over-played the shot, ending up off the far side of the green. The chip on was short, needing two putts for a 7. The red tee box on the 3rd makes it a very short hole and I put the ball on the green. My first putt was left short and I ended up needing two more for a 4.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 05/07/18

After Monday's remarkable round I had a lot to live up to, but I knew that it was unlikely I would repeat the performance. And I was right. In fact, not only did I not play well, but the lucky breaks also deserted me. I'm not going to give a blow by blow account as the end result doesn't warrant it. It was again very hot, this time with the added discomfort of higher humidity and hardly a breath of wind.

The 1st went well, with no mistakes and a nett par 6. On the 2nd I found the trees on the left and because of the lie had to play into a 'between fairways' area and back on again. This I did quite well but then fluffed the short chip, finally getting a bogey 7. On the 3rd I found the first of the four bunkers that I would get in today. I crossed the green with my clearance, needing to chip back and two-putt for a nett par 5.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 02/07/18

The hot dry weather continues with the car external temperature gauge recording 30℃ when I got back after the round. The fairways are predominantly yellow and like concrete, but the greens and tee boxes benefit from watering so are still refreshingly green. I'm still carrying, with a reduced club set, and I am still using Helen's cast-off driver, which I repaired after the top of the shaft was snapped by an uncaring buggy driver. And today everything seemed to come together, a bit of luck here and there serving me up my best 9-hole score to date.

A 140 yard drive off the 1st tee was followed by two hybrid shots, each also around 140 yards. This put me about 30 yards out and a pitch on left me a putt for a par. I needed two, but it was still a nett par. Not a bad start. I aimed left off the 2nd tee but overdid it, the ball entering the upper branches of a high tree, and then dropping back into the rough below. But it was safe. My hybrid shot hit ground before the ball, sending the ball right towards the ditch. Fortunately it didn't reach and I was able to play an 8-iron onto the green. Two putts for a nett par 5, giving me two nett pars in succession.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 26/06/18

I went out with Helen today and we played the back nine. I played off the red tee boxes with her to be sociable, which also of course reduced the difficulty somewhat. Notwithstanding this, I felt that I played quite well. It was scorching hot, the car showing 27 ℃ when we returned from the round. I'm still using Helen's old driver and must say that it is behaving itself far better than my Ping, as shown by an 88% fairway accuracy today.

After a fair drive off the 10th tee I put my second hybrid shot into the bunker that straddles the fairway, one of the disadvantages of gaining a bit of distance from the red tee box. I was against the lip so couldn't get much distance out. I then put the ball on the green with my 8-iron but three-putted for a 7. On the 11th the drive was shorter but I then hit a very respectable hybrid leaving me about 50 yards to the green. I overplayed the pitching wedge and had to chip back on, but single-putted for a 5.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 21/06/18

Today I took my Game Golf device so I could check out distances having changed my driver, plus it also helps me remember what happened when writing up these reviews. The problem was that it's so long since I used the thing, I kept forgetting to register the club before the shot. Fortunately it's sophisticated enough to sense the shot, leaving me to fill in the club details back at home.

Things started absolutely brilliantly. A good drive off the 1st followed by two well hit hybrid shots put me just short of the left hand green bunker. A well-judged chip set me up with a putt for par 5, which I made, a nett birdie. The drive on the 2nd was a bit over lofted, and the following hybrid shot again stopped short of a bunker, this time to the right of the green. Another good chip and one putt for another par, and another nett birdie.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 18/06/18

After another longish break I returned to the course on Monday for 9 holes. I didn't take my Game Golf device or Garmin range finder, as I decided not to get too serious about how I played. I also adopted a new strategy, reverting to my carry bag with a reduced club set. And, to complete the transformation, I took my wife, Helen's discarded driver, she having bought herself a new one. The little story behind this is that the shaft of her driver was broken by an idiot who tried to take a buggy through the narrow passage behind our putting green, sending Helen's golf bag flying. The shaft was snapped a few inches from the top and the golf shop wrote it off. But using a short section of an old shaft as an insert, and some resin glue, I fixed it, and we had a new grip fitted. It's a much lighter club than my Ping G30 driver, with a smaller head and a slightly shorter shaft. I find it more like a hybrid, and as such easier to use.

Having said this, on the 1st tee I took a shorter (white) tee and promptly went over the top of the ball, sending it only about 20 yards. Not a good start. The next hybrid shot wasn't great either, and the following one went right into trees way off the fairway. My time away from the game was showing. I hit well out of the trees with a 6-iron and then put a hybrid shot about 15 yards short of the green for 5. I made a reasonable chip on and could have putted for a nett bogey 7, but needed two for a blobbed 8; not bad, though, considering the start.

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Ryder Cup! - 22/05/2018

You may be intrigued by the title of this post. In fact it was the latest instalment of a friendly match series initiated on the occasion of one of the team's 70th birthday. To date all the matches have been Texas Scrambles, allowing one to shelter behind other's superior ability. But this time they decided on match play, thus the Ryder Cup monika.

I was drawn against a 14 handicapper. This meant I was given 13 shots, as I currently play off 27. However, these were allocated as one shot on each of the first 13 indexed holes. This may sound good but I normally get two shots on holes indexed 1 to 9. By only giving me one shot on these 13 holes, I needed score no more than one over his score just to half the hole. On the other 5 holes I needed to match his score to half the hole. That was never going to happen.

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Back on the course

After a fairly long break I ventured out yesterday. My back is still a bit suspect so I decided to take a less ambitious approach to my game. With the weather now looking much better, and the fairways firming up, I reverted to a hybrid for my fairway shots, occasionally opting for my 3-wood where space allowed for a wayward shot. Both these clubs are less demanding on my body than the irons, which I tend to swing a lot faster. So, that was the strategy.

It started well on the 1st. My drive wasn't long, and drifted a bit right, but it didn't reach the ditch. Two hybrids later I was about 90 yards from the green (I didn't take my Garmin or the Game Golf device). I then surprised myself by putting the ball on the green for 4 on this par 5. Unfortunately I then three-putted for a nett bogey 7. But it was a surprisingly good start.

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Golf in the doldrums

If indeed anybody reads this diary, they may have wondered why there have been no reports since 5 February. The reason, pure and simple, is that I've hardly played since then, and when I have it's been so dire as not to warrant a report. I did in fact play, badly, on 15 February, but that was the last time until this Monday, 19 March.

So why? Well, there's the poor play, obviously, but there's also the fact that my body, or to be more precise my back, seems to be suffering much more lately after playing golf. My lay-off since February brought with it the disappearance of my sciatica, which immediately re-appeared when I played again this week. And, of course, there's been the appalling weather this winter, with the course being very wet and muddy.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 05/02/18

It was really cold today. After five minutes warm up on the putting green my hands were frozen. But it was bright, and the wind was much lighter, if bitterly cold.

My hopes of improved iron shots after last Thursday's deliberations did not materialise. After a reasonable drive off the first tee I topped the 4-iron, sending the ball left and less than 20 yards. The next was better, and I was nearly on the green with my fourth shot. A chip on and two putts for a nett bogey 7. We were playing off mats again and on the 2nd I floored the driver, causing the ball to go right and run into the ditch, where it was lost. A penalty drop was followed by a poor 5-iron that left me well short. The pitching wedge got me on but three putts left me with a blobbed 7.

My driver shot on the short 3rd only avoided the 'seasonal' lake to the right because it bounced back off a tree. A low 7-iron got me on the green and two putts gave me a nett birdie 4. Having just avoided the bunker with my drive on the 4th my 6-iron was poor, leaving me on a raised bank. I took my 5-iron to go for the green, but again the shot wasn't clean, leaving me well short. Then I muffed the pitch, needing another to get on for 5. Two putts for a nett bogey 7.
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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 01/02/18

Today offered up a brief respite from the seemingly endless rain this winter, the temperature having dropped accentuated by a 20 mph cold wind. Hardly ideal, especially as the ground was still pretty soft. Thankfully the greens were open but we did have to play off mats, positioned forward of the normal tee boxes. Making the right tee peg choice was sometimes difficult, with the rubber inserts positioned at different depths in the mats, thus either decreasing or increasing the height of whatever tee you would normally use.

A good drive on the 1st was promptly wasted as I was high on the ball with my 4-iron, gaining me less than 60 yards. I then pulled the next 4-iron shot sending the ball through the trees to the left. It fortunately found its way through without impact, leaving me an awkward shot to the green that was obstructed by a high tree. I opted to steer right of the tree, meaning that the ball dropped to the right and short of of the green, and it was plugged. I took a free drop and pitched on, then put in a long putt for a nett par 6. Quite amazing considering the chequered approach.

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Lakeside Lodge - Lodge Course - 18/01/18

It's been a long time since my last report. In fact I haven't played much golf. A combination of aches and pains, Christmas, appalling weather, a virus, and a general apathy to going out on a course that has been subjected to day after day of rain. I did in fact play after my last report in November, but I forgot my Game Golf device, and played very badly, so I didn't bother to report the day. I also played in a Texas scramble at the beginning of December, but again played badly. So, how did things go this time? Well, it started not too badly, but then went downhill.

The 1st started very well, with a reasonable drive and two 4-irons getting me pin high. But, unfortunately, I had drifted left and was in the bunker. I got out but was short of the green. A chip on and two putts gave me a nett bogey 7, which was a disappointment. On the 2nd I drove the right-side ditch and lost my ball. A reasonable recovery after a drop left me just short of the green, but my pitch was long and I needed two putts for a nett bogey 6.

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