The First Birdie

Wednesday, 18th May 2011.

Playing a round of 18 holes at Beckenham Place Park with my usual playing partner Bill Colins.

A scratchy start of 9 (par 5), 8, 9 (both par 4) but then a bit of a recovery with a par, a bogey and two double-bogeys over the next six holes. Total: 60.

A good opening to the back nine with a bogey then three double-bogeys and a par, for 25 shots over five holes. Normal service resumed with an 8 on the par 4 15th (but that hole is officially the most difficult on the course giving my adjusted score of a 6).

Then we came to the par 4 16th. It’s way downhill, which obviously helps with getting a little extra distance but a ditch halfway along makes the decision of how to tee off interesting. Even trying to lay off short of that ditch introduces some risk though as the ball could just roll down the hill and in to it.

As I’d hit five fairways already, including the previous two, I went for my 3 wood to get the ball over. And it worked too. The ball sailed straight and over.

When I got to the ball the green was uphill (as you could guess, since ditches tend to be at the bottom of a valley!) and is raised, with three bunkers guarding the front.

I needed distance AND loft. I chose my 7 iron. I just wanted to get over those bunkers!

Concentrating on not trying to do too much and trust the loft of the club, I remembered to ‘swing smooth’.

Good contact! The ball arced majestically, MAJESTICALLY I say! and straight. Even Bill was impressed. First bounce was on the green. I could hardly believe what I was seeing.

Greedy as all golfers are I then had the gall to be disappointed that the ball seemed to keep on rolling through the green. That disappointment didn’t last too long. I was past and above the bunkers.

On reaching the green I found the ball was still on the green after all. Not by much, perhaps only 2 or 3 inches. I was happy to have a GIR though and lined up my putt to just get it within 2 feet of the hole for a par opportunity. The shot was downhill too so I really wasn’t trying for the ball to drop.

At first I thought I’d mis-hit it (perhaps I had!), thinking that the ball was going to stop short, but the slope kept it going, then right at the end – mercy! – the ball tailed to the left…and in!

I was amazed! Bill, as usual not paying full attention, appreciated the putt then asked what I’d scored. “That was my first birdie, you plank!”.

Bless him.

If I’d just not scored a 12 on the 18th (I think I ran out of steam) I might have broken, or at least got close to, 110. Still, 116 remains my best score.

Should have kept the ball, but what use sentimentalism?!

Anyway, here’s a overhead pic to look at instead (click on it to see it in better detail)…

Beckenham Place Park. 16th Hole

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