Gaining a single figure handicap..Done. (well almost)

In June 2011, when the RiG and I were the only hackers around the Shey & Maybury courses, I chanced upon a posting on the Hoebridge notice board. This was for the monthly 9-hole Improvers competition. I snapped a pic and sent it to RiG to check his appetite for participating. Shey is a 9-hole, par 33 course. RiG was not very keen as he thought we would be rubbish at it and would end up embarassing ourselves. While there was merit in the argument, I prevailed over RiG and as they say the rest is history.

The picture that started it all…

In the first competition (16th July 2011), RiG & I were in the same group. It would be fair to say that neither of us knew the rules or had much clue on the proceeding. RiG was a much better golfer than me. We also had the advantage/disadvantage of playing with someone who knew all the rules, and who took a dim to RiGs flexible interpretation of rules. As it was the first time we were playing, neither of us had a handicap. I am not sure what RiG scored that day, but he played better than me. I think I shot a 54 and stood last that day. The only thing I remember as we were getting into our cars to go home is RiG’s banter around me getting the wooden spoon. It was funny and I laughed it off, but it also ignited something in me.

I was starting to like the game, and I wanted to get better. So that day, I set my first golf goal: Gain a handicap and half it in 18 months. In my mind, it was a very realistic goal, as it would give me two full seasons to achieve it. It was also a bit of a stretch goal, since it would need significant investments in time & money to attain the goals.

The next game was in August and I played off 18 (translated to 36 for a 18 hole course). So the target was set to bring this down to 9. Imagine my delight and relief when I turned up to play this this Saturday and I looked at my scorecard. The HC section stated 9!!!!  Yippee, I have achieved my goal with about 5 months to spare. Along the way, the Shey improver competition has yielded some prizes: 2x Gloves, 1x Towel, 4x Ball Sleeves. I have won something in every category – except the ‘longest drive’. Someday I will nail that too. My best aggregate score was 39 i.e. +6 and a far cry from the +18 that I shot that 15 months ago. In the coming comps, I hope to have bogie round or better; with the aim to stay under 40. I do have occasional blow out rounds, which is the nature of the game and I dont worry about them.

What a few weeks, I have achieved both my golf goals. I have won the Rob Holman Pot and got my HC down to single figures for the Shey comp. I think I will raise a toast tonight and sleep like a baby.

PS: The handicap awarded on Shey is not a real handicap. I still play off 24 on a normal course – though someday I play like a 18 while on others like a 28 🙂


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