A Round of Golf – Woodbury 19th March 2012

Date: 19 March 2012
Course: Woodbury Park -The Acorns course
Distance: 2297 yards (9 hole course)
Conditions: Windy and cool, possibility of light showers but luckily they missed us;

Note – It is about time I started writing about these again. We haven’t played as much this year and I failed to note all of the dates of the games we have played. I remember this was our second round of 2012, we played a warm-up game earlier in March (after the endless wind and rain had died down) however I can’t write about it now as I’m not sure which scorecard to look at!

Woodbury

Woodbury Park Hotel & Golf Course near Exeter was formerly owned by Nigel Mansell, and it still contains his museum and much of his branding. His helmet design is still used on all of the logos and even the flags at each hole are chequered!

As well as a hotel, restaurant, bars, a leisure centre with swimming pool, gym and all sorts of other amenities, the site has two golf courses. One is the full size 18 hole ‘The Oaks’ course and I have to say what I saw of it looked pristine, one of the best courses I’ve laid eyes on personally! Since it hosts a round of the PGA Seniors it is no surprise that it is good condition. However you need to have a handicap to play there, something neither Dad or I can claim.

The other course is ‘The Acorns’, a 9 hole course which while still in great condition was maybe more the sort of course we’re used to playing – smaller, the grass perhaps not so finely cut back, which meant it was still enough of a challenge to remain interesting – being a 9 hole course I was worried it would be easy, but you don’t need to worry! Despite being the ‘second’ course it still provides amazing views across a vast stretch of Devon including Exeter itself away in the distance with the hills of Dartmoor visible beyond, so if you do visit with the aim of playing The Oaks don’t write off a visit to The Acorns as well.

More of a Day Out

I wanted to come here because of the Mansell connection, Dad wanted to have a look both for that and for work reasons with a view to hosting clients there. He needed a reason to check it out and March 19th was my birthday, so it was set! Those work reasons gave us the fantastic opportunity to visit the museum, which is something you have to book by appointment. You can see a few photos at my other blog.

We followed that up with a visit to the restaurant for a light lunch (the fish goujons were fantastic.. the pint wasn’t too bad either!) before hitting The Acorns for a round.

The way the course is set up, despite being 9-holes you could play it twice for a full round of 18 and still get a different game on the back 9. Each hole was provided with two sets of tees, so although the 10th hole is a replay of the 1st hole it is actually longer because you start further back on the second visit. On another of the holes you start 50 yards back! It works out roughly even as other holes are shorter, so the ‘front’ is 2297yds and the ‘back’ is 2285.

We’d agreed to play the first nine then see if there was time to finish the full game, but since we started late after the tour and the meal and then played slowly (and were held up by a party of 4 for a bit), time constraints and prior plans for the evening meant we finished the 9 holes and retired to the bar for another pint (hey it was my birthday!) before heading on.

I really enjoyed the whole day. Actually the golf seemed almost incidental to visiting the museum and having lunch and a pint or two. Partly this was because those were enjoyable things to do, partly it was due to being out of practice at the game so didn’t post particularly representative scores, and maybe partly the beer!

Scorecard

Hole Yards Par Me Dad
1 291 4 5 6
2 191 3 4 5
3 437 4 13 8
4 175 3 10 7
5 289 4 8 7
6 301 4 7 6
7 134 3 4 5
8 340 4 8 7
9 139 3 5 4
2297 32 64 55

On our ten-shot handicap it was a win for me by a single shot.

The first two holes were great, a brand new course to me and I scored a 5 and a 4, just a shot over par on each which matched my usual target.  I didn’t get the hang of the 3rd and 4th holes, actually neither of us did. A 13 and 10 is horrifically bad, especially when the 3rd hole was just a long open blast which should easily be reached in 3 or 4 at worst, then a 2 putt for say a 6 or 7 at my current standard on a 437yd hole. I remember trying to hit the 5-wood and not getting it, so switched to the irons to get the ball into the air.. and that didn’t work either! It was worse on the next one, to take ten shots on a 175yd par-3 hole is ridiculous – though it must be said the pond with the trees was most unhelpful!

The strange thing about golf is you can be playing perfectly well and then suddenly it goes wrong and you can’t get it back, it messes with your head. You think you correct the error, go back to repeating what you were doing earlier when it was fine, yet for some reason it doesn’t work this time and you keep hitting the ground or the top of the ball. Strange game. This happened in this game which is why I registered two 8s and a 7, but I wasn’t the only one to hit problems.

Dad fared better, 55 was over his usual but a good score when neither of us knew which way the course went.

Four of the holes are quite steep uphill, it takes it out of you if you’ve not played regularly for a few months I can tell you. This was a factor in deciding not to carry on and hitting the bar instead!

I would like to return to this course one day to do the full 18 and see what the differences are in tee positions. You never know, one day I might have a handicap and be able to play on the big course.

A Round of Golf: 3 September 2011

Date: 3 September 2011
Course: Wolfedale Golf Course, Charminster
Distance: 5467
Conditions: Windy and cool, rain was in the air and on the ground but none fell while we played;

This was our 18th game of the year and our 14th at this course.

Hole Yards Par Me Dad Hole Yards Par Me Dad
1 252 4 6 5 10 302 3 8 4
2 386 4 7 7 11 332 4 7 7
3 180 3 4 5 12 260 4 5 4
4 227 3 4 3 13 335 4 6 7
5 522 5 8 5 14 334 3 7 8
6 194 3 5 3 15 476 4 9 8
7 419 4 9 6 16 123 5 5 6
8 121 3 5 4 17 335 4 8 6
9 417 4 8 5 18 252 3 4 4
2718 33 56 43 2749 34 59 54
Out 2718 33 56 43
In 2749 34 59 54
5467 67 115 97

Neither of us likes playing in the wind. It is distracting as you try to take your shot, a sudden gust can make you lose balance a little, you wonder if you have to compensate for any strange direction changes it might take in the air, and if you make a change in your approach you just know that’ll be when the wind dies down completely and the ball will fly off to the side.

Golfers have as many excuses as racing drivers.

We started out with an excellent opening front nine between us. Dad scored 43 which beat his personal best from the last round by a further two shots.
I had a good opening front eight holes, at the ninth I annoyingly scored an 8 despite being near the green after my 3rd shot. How can you travel about 400 yards in three shots and then take another 5 attempts to cover the last 17 yards? Add to that an 8 and a 9, I scored a 56.

The back 9 gave us mixed fortunes. Last week it was my turn to play badly, this time it was Dad’s. He scored a 54 when normally he’s in the 45-48 range. Sometimes this happens in golf, you play well for weeks and then suddenly you turn up on the course, feel you play identically but the ball develops a mind of its own. He was a bit annoyed after that good start which probably made it worse.
I scored a 59 which was better than the last two games, I would’ve preferred not to have taken the 9 and two 8s though. The 15th was annoying for both of us zigzagging over the course. Naturally we blame the strong headwind!

The plus points? Our putting was generally very good throughout, save for a hole here and there, for the most part we sunk the putts after no more than 3 shots and sometimes just 2. The problems involved reaching the green in the first place!

Result: I scored 115 and Dad scored 97 (his worst since June), a net difference of 18 shots on scratch which on handicap equates to a 2-shot win for me!

Overall

Form:

P 118-113114-119-115

N 97-93-94-95-92-97

Hopefully next time it won’t be so windy, but we’re into September now and the chance of good weather is going to drop week on week.

A Round of Golf: 31 August 2011

Date: 31st August 2011
Course: Wolfedale Golf Course, Charminster
Distance: 5467
Conditions: Summery

This was our 17th game of the year and our 13th at this course.

Hole Yards Par Me Dad Hole Yards Par Me Dad
1 252 4 5 6 10 302 3 4 5
2 386 4 8 4 11 332 4 6 6
3 180 3 6 4 12 260 4 7 5
4 227 3 3 4 13 335 4 9 4
5 522 5 10 7 14 334 3 7 6
6 194 3 4 5 15 476 4 9 8
7 419 4 10 6 16 123 5 5 4
8 121 3 6 4 17 335 4 6 5
9 417 4 7 5 18 252 3 7 4
2718 33 59 45 2749 34 60 47
Out 2718 33 59 45
In 2749 34 60 47
5467 67 119 92

After the success of the previous two games we were both hopeful of another good result.

We were held back by slow-playing group of four ahead of us who ignored the ettiquette of the golf course – larger groups should let smaller groups play through because they are faster. They held us back for 4 or 5 holes and interrupted our rhythym. When you are waiting a long time to take your shot because people are standing in the way it really interrupts the flow of the game.

So it felt like a bad round and I dropped a good 5 shots because of them on the 5th and 7th holes, notice the two 10s. Yet it wasn’t as bad as it felt at the time. I got 59 on the front 9, five shots more than my personal best for the opening half, and  60 on the back 9 was the same as I’d scored in the last game so it wasn’t as if my head went off the ball for the whole game.
Dad managed a great round despite the interruptions, with a 92 being his best of the year by one shot, aided by his best opening 9 holes of the year by two shots.

Even though the net result was worse I still scored personal bests on two holes (4th and 10th, with the 4th being a pleasing par 3), and Dad scored personal best results on three holes (2nd, 9th, and 13th).

The result of the game was that Dad beat me by 27 on scratch, which is 7 on handicap. 7 is a much bigger gap than usual, I blame the slowcoaches! I still may have lost but it probably would’ve only been by a shot or two.

Overall

Last five games:

P 117-118-113114-119

N 98-97-93-94-95-92

Despite the delays and the annoyance of losing by a big margin it was still a nice way to spend a Bank Holiday Monday.

A Round of Golf: 13 August 2011

Date: 13th August 2011
Course: Wolfedale Golf Course, Charminster
Distance: 5467
Conditions: Mild, dry, cooler than recently

Hole Yards Par Me Dad Hole Yards Par Me Dad
1 252 4 6 5 10 302 3 5 5
2 386 4 5 6 11 332 4 6 5
3 180 3 6 6 12 260 4 6 4
4 227 3 4 5 13 335 4 7 6
5 522 5 6 6 14 334 3 8 6
6 194 3 5 4 15 476 4 11 8
7 419 4 7 6 16 123 5 6 4
8 121 3 7 3 17 335 4 7 5
9 417 4 8 7 18 252 3 4 4
2718 33 54 48 2749 34 60 47
Out 2718 33 54 48
In 2749 34 60 47
5467 67 114 95

A really good game!

Only one 8 in the first half so I recorded my best score of the year (54 against a previous best of 56). Very happy to get so many 4, 5 and 6s. Dad was one shot short of his best of the year, probably due to that 7 on the uphill 9th.

On the back nine, things were going just as well until we caught a gaggle of slower groups ahead. That interrupted the momentum as we waited for them to play on – distracting. Hence the 7, 8 and 11 in sequence. Lately I’ve been scoring 6 on the 14th and 9 on the 15th, and those four extra shots would’ve given me a personal best for the entire round!
I’d set my sights on a PB from the start of the game so it was very annoying to miss it. In fact a 60 was 4 over my PB for the back 9. Dad’s back 9 was good although he also scored a couple of shots above the norm on the 15th, visiting the scenery on the way, his best of the year was 44 and he had 47 here.

It was a good finish though, once again it came down to the wire with one shot between us as we played the final hole! Amazing how that keeps happening. We finished off the game on a positive note with a great 4 each, which when you take off my 20-shot handicap meant I beat him by a shot.

Overall

Last five (completed) games:

P 119-117-118-113-114

N 97-98-97-93-94-95

Well look at that, both one short worse than the previous game!

114 is just one shot shy of matching my best of 2011.
95 is two shots over Dad’s best.

Potential

I have been keeping track of our best scores on each hole for this season.

In the unlikely event we matched our PB’s on every hole in the same game, these would be our scores for that game:

Hole Yards Par Me Dad Hole Yards Par Me Dad
1 252 4 5 4 10 302 3 5 4
2 386 4 5 5 11 332 4 5 5
3 180 3 4 3 12 260 4 5 4
4 227 3 4 4 13 335 4 4 5
5 522 5 6 5 14 334 3 5 4
6 194 3 4 3 15 476 4 6 4
7 419 4 7 5 16 123 5 5 3
8 121 3 3 3 17 335 4 5 5
9 417 4 6 6 18 252 3 4 3
2718 33 44 38 2749 34 44 37
Out 2718 33 44 38
In 2749 34 44 37
5467 67 88 75

I can take off 25 shots and Dad can take off 18!

I’d be amazed if I regularly got under 110 but it is clear the potential is there for both of us. According to this there would still be a difference between us of 13 shots, which is better than 20, but not good enough yet..