A Life in a Year – 27th May, Golf in France

In May 2006 I went to France with my brother Richard and our sons’ Jonathan and Scott for some golf.  On the first morning we had the standard Ibis breakfast at the hotel and filled up on ham and cheese and bread rolls to keep us going until lunchtime and afterwards we set off for the golf course for the first of the dads v. lads challenge matches.

It was a lovely morning and although there was some cloud it was mostly sunny and we arrived at the course and presented ourselves for our appointed tee-time.  Surprisingly the course wasn’t at all busy so we made our way to the tee and after we had made sure no-one was watching we took it in turns to tee off down the par 5 first.  The green looked a mile away but first Jon and then Scot made easy work of it with impressive long drives that split the fairway.  Needless to say we didn’t follow their example and all of a sudden the challenge looked rash!  The lads stormed to an early lead that they managed to retain through the first few holes.

From very early on I kept making the mistake of walking ahead whilst Richard was still to take his next shot.  This was a silly thing to do and everyone kept reminding me of the last time I was foolish enough to do such a thing and he had put a Titliest ProV in my face and sent me to hospital for a mouthful of stitches.   It was my own fault and I only actually went to hospital after the round was finished when it became clear that I couldn’t drink a pint of beer without spilling it through the holes in my lips that shouldn’t have been there.  We now have a firm ‘stand behind Richard routine’ that is most sensible to observe.

We negotiated the first part of the course and although the lads were out-driving us and achieving impressive distances down the fairways we managed to stay in touch with some astute approach play and skilful putting and by the turn they were only slightly ahead and Richard and I were confident of taking the lead some time soon.  The course was in really good shape and we were pleased to be able to play at a pleasant pace with hardly any one about to put us off of our game.  No-one in front and no-one behind, we were playing millionaire’s golf!

So none of us had a proper explanation for just what happened to Scot when he suddenly developed a two-off-the-tee habit of sending his first shot everywhere but down the middle of the fairway.   Needing all the help we could get we took unsportsmanlike advantage of this and teased him constantly about his waywardness.  All that mockery did the trick and on the last nine holes he lost nine balls, he was hitting it a long way but he was hopelessly inaccurate and suddenly things were looking up for the dads!  Only a few holes to go and the lead was beginning to shrink.

But Jon kept his steady head on and continued to play consistently well and then the wheels came off of Richard’s game as well. As his head went down the lads scented victory and moved in for the kill and with a strong finish made sure of the win.  The beer and the lunch was on the dads.  It had been a good game and in the end it was a thoroughly deserved victory for the two boys.  And as we looked at it there was always tomorrow’s rematch where we could get our just revenge.  Unfortunately the club-house restaurant was closed for the day but they managed to find us some baguettes so we had those and reflected on the game with a couple of beers.

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