From about 2001 I was playing a lot of golf with my son Jonathan. He had started one day on a school sports development programme and liked it so much that within a few weeks we were playing twice a week, buying golf magazines and constantly upgrading our equipment in the mistaken belief that this would improve our game.
Within a couple of years we had improved sufficiently to play for club membership at the local golf course and we were taking annual holidays to France and Spain to play golf in the sun.
Now, playing golf with Jonathan was one thing but playing with my daughter Sally was an altogether different experience. In 2004 she announced that she too was taking up the game and declared an intention to join me on the golf course. Sally is left handed so the first problem was getting a set of clubs because these are hard to come by I can tell you.
So, we found some second hand clubs, bought some cheap shoes and put together an acceptable set of clothing appropriate for a golf course rather than a nightclub and on 18th June we stood together on the first tee without any prior instruction or lessons and set off on an eighteen hole adventure.
To be fair she wasn’t too bad and she managed to advance the ball about fifty yards or so off the tee and that was better than some of my efforts I have to admit. There was no one behind so there was no pressure and we progressed through the early holes without incident.
But then at the sixth a couple of lads caught us up and with some big hitters behind nerves started to get the better of her. She started to swing and miss, take great divots, and push the ball an embarrassing few yards with any shot where the club happened to make contact with the ball.
We kept ahead of them and teed off at the ninth but had only managed a hundred yards or so before they were on the tee behind us. Sally swung and missed, then swung and missed again and I heard some groans from behind us. And so did Sally so she gave them a glare and then decided to change her club to see if this would help. Not from a 7 iron to an 8, or an 8 iron to a 9 however but something much more dramatic and she searched through my bag and selected a right handed club
‘Oh no, she’s going to play right-handed now’ exclaimed one of the lads in disbelief and I have to say that I was a bit surprised myself because Sally really is chronically left-handed with a right hand that is only any real use for the simplest of tasks. I watched on, fearing the worst, as she addressed the ball but then she took a perfect swing, connected with the middle of the ball and sent it over a hundred yards straight towards the green. I looked around proudly to the lads on the tee but they were doubled up in laughter and could hardly believe what they had seen and it took them a while to catch us up again after that.
Sally played a good round of golf playing intermittently left and right handed and we finished the eighteen holes with an acceptable card for a first time on the course.
We played a couple of times after that but she never caught the golf bug in the same way that Jonathan and I had and after a couple of more rounds that summer the clubs went into the garage and have never been used again!