We would be just coming to the end of the front 9 today and what an up and down round it has been!!!
Hole 1 – Monday 23rd March.
A brand new course for us to play (seems quite quiet out here, no one else is playing!!) A 3 ball of Sophie, James and I confidently approach the tee after being entered into a competition that we know nothing about! Our 4th player has had to stay back in the clubhouse (work!) but may join us mid round for a hole or 2. Feeling slightly overwhelmed by the enormity of the competition and the course ahead of us (we have made a LOT of plans, been sent LOTS of plans and seen LOTS of reviews online) so are not quite sure how to approach everything. I decide that we will take things nice and slowly to begin because I feel this will be a tricky competition on a LONG golf course (more of a marathon than a sprint) It is going to be very interesting how relationships grow over the coming round! Before we start our round 2 of the group take part in a great warm up (PE with Joe) and feel raring to go, our other member of the group decided to come up with her own plan for the hole, playing independently. Feeling calm and ready to go we all smashed off the 1st tee, easy approach shots onto the green and all 2 putted for steady pars. Who said this course was going to be tricky!! We (I!!!) smugly move onto hole number 2…
Hole 2 – Tuesday 24th March
The second hole looked slightly easier as we knew a little more about what was ahead of us after LOTS more info being available on the 2nd tee. Everyone was still in good spirits after a great 1st hole, all seemed like we were still on our practice round. We began to see (virtually and on the phone!) a few more people who were in the same competition on a different course. Everyone seemed to have a very different perspective on things (it would seem that your experience would very much depend on your playing partners!!!) A little stretch on the tee for 2 of us before we started again (PE with Joe, this is becoming a bit of a habit) our other playing partners has continued to map her plan and this working for her so far! All confidently hit solid shots off the tee into the fairway followed by shots on and around the green. A few different skills were needed to get the ball near the flag for our par putts but all were executed well and everyone finished with solid pars. Confidence was riding high at the end of this hole. We felt well prepared to play this course well and compete.
Hole 3 – Wednesday 25th March
This course is beginning to get a bit boring, hole 3 is very similar to the first 2 holes!! All 3 players took part in a little stretch and exercise on this tee (more PE with Joe) although we did discover we were running low on food! Would we last the hole? Would the buggy that sells food have any left? Would it be able to find us on the course? Situations were beginning to crop up that we had never experienced before! Everyone stuck to their routines on the hole playing the same shots that they had hit on the first 2 holes and finished with steady and boring pars. Messages were coming out that the holes ahead may be slightly tougher and that this competition may go on for longer than we had expected!
Hole 4 – Thursday 26th March
A MASSIVE uphill climb to get to the 4th tee, we looked to try and see the flag on the green and couldn’t see it, this was going to be a LONG hole! The confidence we had gained over the first 3 holes seemed to evaporate on the tee. Only one of us was able to get any exercises in on the tee and morale was low. Not helped with all of us hitting shots into the long grass, miles away from the fairway! We were now in uncharted territory! Things were not looking good! We were still receiving an overwhelming amount of info from different sources on how to play this hole, people who we were in contact with with having similar issues on their courses also! It was time to be patient with each other and focus on our own games. We all had to play a number of recovery shots and use strategies that were new to us. All of us hacked our way up the hole and eventually got on the green, finishing the hole in double bogeys!!! At the end of the hole we all spoke about how we need show patience with each other and our own games, and their are number of skills that we all need to develop to play this course. The next hole could only get better?!?
Hole 5 – Friday 27th March
This golf course is now becoming a real challenge! The course ahead looks long and troublesome, all of us are going to need to learn and develop new skills. 2 of us continued with our exercises as we could really feel the benefit as we played the hole, our other member of the group kept to their own plan. Tee shots were kept on the fairway and all started off well. Hunger was starting to kick in so special arrangements needed to be made. We still had not seen the buggy with food on so one of the team trekked to a shop just on the edge of the course for some supplies. A slightly restricted shop but all were pleased with the food! Maybe this would keep spirits up through the hole?!? The team had played very similar shots through the first 4 holes but everyone seemed to fall apart at about the same time after solid tee shots! We decided to finish this hole quickly, ignoring the score and where we stood in the competition, and then take a break at the end to get some food and take a rest. A bench at the end of this hole where we could take stock was a welcome sight! It was now important that we started to ignore what we were seeing other people do on other courses and focus on our own game! The next couple of holes were going to see a different dynamic as an extra playing partner joined us.
Hole 6 – Saturday 28th March
3’s company, 4’s a crowd! Very different dynamics as we stood on this tee. We didn’t bother with any exercises! This hole looked simple as we had less work to do, much shorter than the other 5 holes we had played but with some challenges that we could not see from the tee. Our extra player was slow to get started from the tee and that affected everyone’s games. One of the group took the opportunity to spend a little extra time in the rough on their own, catching up on their thoughts, and trying to find their game again. A short hole from the tee, but goodness me, it gave us some real surprises and challenges along the way. We all looked forward to the next hole, that can only be better!
Hole 7 – Sunday 29th March
THE FOOD BUGGY APPEARED 🙂 thank goodness! This gave the group a real boost and allowed us to make some plans on how we could keep our energy up over the coming holes. No exercises on the tee but a little group walk to stretch our legs. Our extra member of the group settled in and everyone walked off the tee having hit solid tee shots. This was an easy looking hole with very little trouble ahead, no bunkers, very little rough, there was a quiet calm as we walked down the fairway. Each of us found some subtle challenges as we played our approach shots to the green, all going in different directions, giving us all some time alone to consider what to do next. We all ended the hole on a high with good putts and a nice feast!
Hole 8 – Monday 30th March
We are back to 3, as our other player goes back to the clubhouse. We are back to the routines that we had practiced and ingrained on the first 5 holes and that paid dividends as we got to the tee. Exercises for 2 of us (PE with Joe was back!) and our 3rd player kept to their individual routine. Excellent tee shots all onto the fairway set us up nicely for the rest of the hole. The advice that we are seeing from other sources now seems to be slowing down slightly as people are finding their own competitions and courses tricky. Again, it looks like this competition may be more than 18 holes. We feel we know what we are doing, know each strengths and weaknesses and can develop our own individual skills to tackle this course. We smoothly completed the hole with some great shots.
Hole 9 – Tuesday 31st March
This hole looks exactly like hole 8! We decided as we walked up to this tee that we all play this hole individually. Over the previous holes we have begun to learn more about ourselves and each other, we all seem to be confident we know what we are doing. Only one of us did the exercises on the tee, one having having a little time on their own and the other continuing to follow their own plan. Everybody seemed patient with each other as we hit our tee shots and continued down the hole. All used our own individual skills to navigate the hole and all finished nicely. We are beginning to learn more about this competition, this golf course and our own games. Not sure we need to be looking too much at other people’s games and courses. Although we can obviously continue to connect with these people, sharing experiences and learning as we go.
So at the end of the front 9 of this competition I reckon we about level par. Some great holes and some disasters!! We continue to learn about ourselves and each other that can only pay dividends as we enter the back 9 of the competition. We just wonder how many holes the competition will go on for?!?