Me and my golf bag: Celtic Manor February 8th 2016

IMG_6937This is the first post in my series of ‘Me and my golf bag’ blogs. After every round of golf I play this year I am going to write a post about it. The blogs are not only going look at my own performance and hopefully how it is improving but also review the courses I play.

Today was my first round of 2016 but it was very much a friendly round with mates, a pre-season warm up if you like, rather than a round I would be counting towards my handicap. My golf ‘season’ starts on March 5th and that is when I will be getting serious and trying to reduce my handicap down to 24.

Although today was a friendly round between mates I don’t think we could have chosen a more difficult course to play on. We played the 2010 Ryder Cup course at Celtic Manor and I can guarantee that I won’t have a windier or wetter round for the rest of the year. According to weather reports the wind was reaching speeds of 35mph and the rain came down for nearly the entire round. However despite getting soaked I really enjoy the five hours I spent in the Welsh countryside. I didn’t record a particularly good score, to be honest I wasn’t expecting too, but on the whole the round was good fun and I will definitely be going back to play the 2010 course again.

After every round I am going to identify three positives and one area to work on. Below are the three encouraging things I am going to take away from today’s performance and one a thing I need to work on:

Positive one – Parring the 537yrd par 5

It took four clean strikes and a ten-foot putt but on the 11th hole I was able to make my one par for the day. Before the round began I thought it was very unlikely that I would make a single par considering the conditions. I certainly didn’t expect it to be on a par 5. So to get a par and do it by hitting a solid 3-wood off the tee, two clean 6-irons and a PW to ten feet was really pleasing. Sinking the putt just topped off a great hole. I now know that if I can do it those conditions, I am more than capable of consistently parring holes in better weather.

Positive two – My game is not in bad shape

I went into today looking to enjoy myself and find out where my golf game was at. To my surprise and delight it was not in bad shape. I hit several good tee shots with my 3-wood, I hit lots of long irons well and I was pretty pleased with my putting considering I have not worked on it so far this year. In fact had it not been for my chipping I could have shot a score three or four shots lower. I bogeyed four holes and they should have been pars, the one on the 7th was inches away from being one.

Positive three – I survived 35mph winds and lots of rain

It might sound silly but completing the full 18 holes meant a lot. Completing the round in conditions I faced today means that I now know I can tough it out on a wet and windy golf course. They say that golf is much a mental sport as a physical one and today has only strengthened my mental game.

The area for improvement

As mentioned earlier had my chipping been better I could’ve shot a lower score than I did today. I’ve not worked on my short game this year and it clearly showed. I thinned several chip shots through the back of the green and that cost me valuable shots. Once the weather is a little better I will be dedicating one hour a week to working on my short game.

‘Me and my golf bag’ rankings

As I mentioned in the introduction I am going to share my experiences and views of the courses I play. I am going to score the course, facilities and experience out of ten. Below are my first rankings:

Course – 8/10 – the 2010 course is tough but fair and it was in great condition considering the weather.

Clubhouse – 8/10 – the 2010 clubhouse is beautiful and the food in the restaurant is delicious.

 

Club shop – 7/10 – the shop has lots of the latest gear and pretty much all of it is 2010 branded. Like most club shops it isn’t cheap but there were a few bargains to be had.

Facilities – 8/10 – the golfing facilities are brilliant and the locker rooms are fantastic. I can’t describe how good the hot shower I had post round was!

2010 experience – 5/10 – having played the 2010 before I know what an amazing experience it can be, unfortunately today it was let down by terrible weather. It wouldn’t stop me going back though, maybe just not in February.

So that is my first ‘Me and my golf bag’ blog, I hope you enjoyed it and if you know any good golf course worth trying out please let me know.

Toby

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