Why competition play can sometimes make you hate golf

There’s only one thing that occasionally makes me actually hate golf and that just happens to be playing the bloody game. Or, more specifically, trying to play it with a card and pencil in hand.

Golf can often be a good walk spoiled, especially when club golfers have a card in pencil in their hand.

For some reason, I’ve always disliked competition golf, which is probably due to the fact it turns me into an even more pathetic performer than is often the case in pressure-free golf.

Thanks to work intervening, I had to pull out of my first three planned midweek medals this year before feeling pretty pleased with myself in carding an 80 less 10 - don’t get me started on that again - in a recent Wednesday whack.

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Having then been pretty woeful in a Seniors Texas Scramble at West Lothian, I wouldn’t say I found myself heading for the tee with boundless enthusiasm for another crack on the competition front at my beloved Aberdour.

However, what unfolded over 18 holes was akin to self torture and, as a consequence, it could be a long time before I feel brave enough to put myself back in that position again.

The tone was set by three-putting from eight feet - I might even be generous with that length - to start with a double-bogey 5 then three-stabbing again at the next, this time from 15 feet and the first attempt was truly pathetic.

To be honest, I should have jacked it in there and then because, as I have proven to myself time and time again over the years, I have shocking days with a flatstick in my hand when any hope of feeling confident on the greens is drained straight away.

By the time I’d finished on this particular day, I’d used my putter 45 times - yes, you read that right - and taken 92 painful blows in total. It was a shocker.

Having had time to reflect, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not just not cut out for competition golf because a) my game is a technical disaster and b) I don’t have the level of concentration required to compile a score over 18 holes.

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My head always feels full of something other than simply trying to get a white ball in a tiny hole and this day was no different.

Will the R&A be coming out with a statement on the arrangement for fans for The Open? What will Rory McIlroy have to say in his pre-US Open conference? How are the Scots faring in the Amateur Championship at Nairn?

Just a few of the things that were running through my mind last Wednesday and that, I’m afraid, is just a recipe for disaster.

When you are having that sort of shocker, you worry about dragging your playing partners down. One of the guys in the group was going along nicely until he topped one off the 16th tee into the thick stuff then made a hash of the next hole as well.

The other bloke in the three-ball started in majestic fashion but ended up impersonating me by the end with his putter in hand, the pair of us having to show great restraint not to do something stupid before we were done and dusted.

That’s the thing about golf. It really can provide so much pleasure, and nothing will stop me from playing our great game for as long as I possibly can, but it can also push you to the limit when it comes to testing patience.

Happily without a card in hand, I was back out for a bounce game on Saturday and, though it was not exactly an overnight transformation, it felt enjoyable again and that’s what has to matter most, no matter what level you play at.

On this occasion, we were joined by a four-handicapper with a swing to die for and I’ve had that pictured in my mind ever since. If only….

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