Thursday, March 05, 2009

Il y a du monde

That's what Marie says to me on the phone when I try to book a depart for lunch time today.

The earliest she can fit us in is 3pm - a bit of a shock given I was aiming for 11am! No good reason for this sudden influx of people, other than - presumably- a strong desire to get out there and play after all the crappy weather we have been having.

Anyhow, 3pm is not much use to us, not really giving us time to do more than 9 holes, so we decide to divide and conquer. Lynne has something else to do this morning, so I try for a slot on my own. Success.

Except, when I arrive around 11am, I find 20 people waiting at the first tee. This is going to be painful. Jean-Marc the starter works his magic, juggling parties and tee times to get everyone grouped into foursomes and tee'd off as smoothly as possible. I end up playing with Morgan Freeman, Three-Fingered Man and Lionel.

It's not the real Morgan Freeman, of course, but he has a very Morgan Freeman-ish thing going on - Morgan Freeman if he was a foot shorter and French. Three-fingered man has three fingers on one hand. Lionel is....well....Lionel, and was the only name I caught during the introductions. Very nice men, none of whom snigger as I screw up my first tee shot.

Naturally, with 16 people standing behind me watching I manage to hook the first tee shot out of bounds on the left. As I hang my head in shame, Jean-Marc suggests I re-take it - probably more to do with the fact that if I can manage a decent second shot it will aid in getting our party off the first fairway as quickly as possible rather than leaving me hacking out of the vicious rough.

While on the first tee I am chatting with the guys who I played behind on Tuesday, where I get to find out why we progressed so slowly. One of them tells me about the party in front of them on the par 3 7th hole - the best of the group shot 8, the worst was on her 15th stroke when she gave up. There was nobody in front of them and a whole queue of groups behind them, and yet they refused to let anyone past. Pretty poor show, and one of the failings of our club that they don't have someone patrolling the course and shooting people who cannot hit a ball past the ladies tee.

Amazingly, given the numbers waiting today, every party plays well and we don't have to wait at any tee. Just shows how smoothly things could run even with a crowded course as long as people keep it moving along.

My best game for weeks as I shoot 97 (first time I have played under my course handicap in ages), including a couple of pars, couple of greens in regulation, average drive of 190 and average putts of 1.8. Big confidence booster. Given that I bogey most of the holes, it just goes to show how two bad holes can wreck your score card - in my case a couple of triple bogeys (one of them on the aforementioned par 3 - d'oh!) spoil an otherwise excellent round.

Quick question for other amateur golfers. When it comes to recording your greens in regulation, do you count them with or without your handicap? For example, on a typical par 4, GIR is 2, but if you have an 18 handicap your par for that same hole would be 5. So now, is your personal GIR 2 or 3?

Lynne manages 9 holes with her friends in the afternoon, so we both finish about the same time. We are so tired, we ditch dance class and opt for pizza and wine instead. I know, I know....

We also watch "In Bruges" for the third time (Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes). Farrell and Gleeson play hit men sent to Bruges to lie low after a botched assassination attempt. Ralph Fiennes plays a superbly over the top gangster, with a performance ripped off from Ben Kingsley's in "Sexy Beast", but that's no bad thing. There is lots of dark humour and violence, though none of it gratuitous, and a glorious ending.

I might only be able to watch this another three times before I have to wait a while before watching it some more. If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend you give it a go. If you don't like it, let me know on

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