Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lost Balls - Mountrath collapse

Have you ever counted how many golf balls you lose in a year? I know that the likes of the Condrens (Eddie, Alan and Kevin from Greystones Golf Club) are unlikely to lose a ball a year with their low, low handicaps, and that 18 handicappers will lose a few, but isn’t it so satisfying to walk off the 18th with the ball you started with? I find it very difficult to do. I managed it at Athy yesterday, but I lost one at Kilkea Castle in the morning and one today at Mountrath. It was a shame too as I was playing quite well – but then came the 14th: a long par three with water on the right, and didn’t my ball hear it calling. Straight in, and I didn’t even have the pleasure of seeing the splash. I was so upset I didn't even take a photograph [Photo: Par 3 10th]

Then again, I decided to go searching on the riverbank. 7 balls later I came up for air. And how valuable those balls might be. I reckon I’m playing 360 courses, and I estimate that I lose a ball a round… that’s a lot of golf balls, so every find is valuable. My most productive round of golf from that point of view was Bright Castle, up North, where I found close to 20 balls. There are distinct advantages to playing very early in the morning when there’s no one putting pressure on you from behind. I spent about 15 minutes in the bushes and that was just one hole. My worst round, on the other hand, was at The Heritage. I was playing with my dad and I lost two balls off the 1st tee, one off the 2nd and two more off the 18th. I forget what came in between, but I found the acres of water at least once. Coincidentally, I wrote a lot of copy for the golf resort when it first opened, and I was taken on a tour of the course as it was ‘settling in’. It all looked glorious, so I was hoping to play well when I finally made it back. Never works that way though, does it! It’s worth mentioning that The Heritage has one of the best changing rooms I’ve ever seen. When you play that badly you need a little bit of comfort.

These were all tales I was telling the young pro, Jamie, at Navan golf club. I said I was hoping a sponsor would come along and fork out a few quid to support my golfing habit. He stepped over to the rack of golf balls and handed me two dozen spanking new balls. Ta very much, Jamie. I haven’t lost one yet (they’re still in the boxes).

[Photo: Mountrath par 4 15th]

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