So there I was. Striding down the lush green fairways of a swanky Kent golf course overlooking London’s glorious skyline. My mind wondering off as I gazed into the distance at the sleek Shard of Glass towering over the capital. The 80-story skyscraper continuing its heavenly climb. From its summit the views stretch for 50 miles in every direction. An extraordinary feat of engineering and on reflection, perhaps, in part to blame for my temporary blip in concentration.
My golf partner & I were taking on a couple preppy gals from a neighbouring course in a county foresomes match. We started off positively enough until my swing developed an undeserving personality of its own. Like a fiery racehorse, the ball shot off in every direction but straight leaving my bemused partner in a series of adventurous settings.
It was my intrepid yet unfortunate effort at a Mickelson style flop shot over an insidious greenside bunker that plunged our match into a dramatic three down three to go dormie drama. A flock of wood pigeons looked on inquisitively as my golf ball lurched into the sand trap but even they could take no more and fled north for the spring. No one is exempt from fowl vilification. My mood descended into one of despair buoyed only by a burst of self-abnegation.
My partner hit a Tiger-like drive splitting the 16th fairway with ocular precision. The ball came to rest on a fertile patch of turf a mere 70 yards from the front of the green. Dammit, now I had to reciprocate. So much for self-abnegation. There’s no denying our situation was desperate. I needed a miracle shot to keep the game alive yet in light of my recent golf performance, I was hovering dangerously close to the hopeless level.
As I walked up to the ball, I hummed an Obama type: ‘Yes I can, yes I can, yes I can’ chant. I may have also had a quiet word with the Big Man himself, ‘Hi, it’s me. If you’re watching you’ll know we’re in a bit of pickle here. In return for good behaviour any chance you might pull one out the bag please?’ And finally a stern chat with myself: ‘Get a grip and just knock it stone dead.’
The girls looked on with expressions of amusement and curiously. Twitching nervously like a beer-swilling Brit, I addressed the ball. A perfectly punched sand wedge sent the ball lofting through the air towards the pin. Had this been the Masters, a Yank would have screeched: “Get in hole” as the ball pitched a foot from the flag and rolled up beside the cup. I did not see that one coming.
With a birdie under our belts we strutted our stuff to the 17th tee. Two down, two to go. Same problem, same process. By now Obama’s chant had taken on anthemic levels in my head as I slotted in a nasty downhill six-footer to win the hole.
Wouldn’t it be great if I said this story ended well? Alas, it was not to be. At one down with one hole to go, even God’s own intervention couldn’t avert the tragic and untimely duck hook which saw my ball disappearing into the forest of doom off the 18th fairway. We may have lost the battle but I’m fairly sure there’s a priceless lesson to be learnt on the perils of a wondering mind and the power of positive thinking.
Either way, I took home a note.