On Friday I played my best ever round of golf! I carded my lowest 18-hole score since taking up the game, five shots under my handicap, and I did it whilst playing alongside my best mate Jez Hall. As I walked off the 18th green I was a little stunned at how well I had played, especially as I didn’t expect to be shooting sub handicap scores this early in my ‘season’. Sitting here two days later I am really enjoying identifying the three ‘positives’ from my round as I could chose five or six!
Positive one – A very strong finish
If you read my previous ‘Me and my golf bag’ blog you would know that I finished my last round very poorly. At the 17th tee I was 4 under with two holes to play but I ended up carding a level par round. On Friday I once again got myself to 4 under and with just five holes left things were looking good. Unfortunately I had a shocker on the 14th and suddenly I was only two under. As I walked to the next tee I told myself to refocus and finish strong. Despite a wayward tee shot on the 15th the talking too worked and I played the next four holes three under my handicap. To finish the round the way I did has given me real belief that I can handle the odd bad hole and still go on to card a good score.
Positive two – I hit 9 out of 13 fairways
When I sat down and planned the goals for my 2016 season I knew that it was crucial that I improved my accuracy off the tee. On Friday I hit every fairway on the front nine and more importantly landed it on the short stuff on each of the final three holes. After three rounds this year my Fairways in Regulation (FIR) percentage is 50%, a full 10% higher than my target for 2016. If I can maintain this level of consistency then reducing my handicap will be a lot easier.
Positive three – Chipping around the green
My short game on Friday was pretty good, it had to be as I kept missing the green, but there were two chip shots in particular that really pleased me. The first was at the short par three 15th. Having missed the green to the right I had to chip from a downslope over a bunker. Having to chip over a bunker can lead to negative thoughts but not this time. I hit a delicate chip that landed on the edge of the green and rolled out to about eight feet from the hole.
The second chip of note was at the par four 16th. I pushed my approach shot to the right and had to get up and down from the greenside rough. With plenty of green to work with and the memory of my chip at the last I hole fresh in my mind I was very confident of getting it close. I was right to be confident as I almost holed it, the ball ending up just a foot short of the hole. Having not worked on my short game so far this year I am feeling very confident that with a little practice I can really sharped it up for the summer.
Area for improvement – Hit more greens in regulation
After driving the ball so well off the tee I was disappointed not to hit more greens in regulation. I had several opportunities to really go at the pin on Friday and failed to take them. I pushed a lot of iron shots and that is something that I am going to work on next time I go to the range. If I can tighten up my short irons then I won’t have to rely quite so much on my short game.
‘Me and my golf bag’ rankings – Waterloo Course, Sherfield Oaks
So what about Sherfield Oaks golf club? Well I have to say that I really enjoyed both the club and the Waterloo course. Below are my rankings for the course, facilities and experience:
Course – 7/10 – it is a thinking golfer’s course, you have to navigate your way round it rather than overpower it. I really enjoyed the challenge of having to use different clubs off the tee.
Clubhouse – 6/10 – the clubhouse is nothing special but the welcome was very warm and the food was good.
Club shop – 4/10 – there is not a great selection of products in the shop, certainly nothing worth buying as a memento.
Facilities – 6/10 – the golfing facilities are good and the same can be said about the changing room.
Waterloo course at Sherfield Oaks experience – 7/10 – the course was great fun to play and I would definitely go back and play it again. Sherfield Oaks Golf club is good value for money and well worth checking out.
So there you have it, round three of 2016 is my best ever round! This year is shaping up to be an amazing one and I can’t wait to go out and play again.