By Fergus Bisset published
I've just returned from playing in "The Tuesday Championship." It's an annual competition contested by a group of boys from my home club plus a couple of guys from the club just up the road.
On paper we're all reasonable golfers - the worst handicap of the eight participants is four. But, for this trip we always manage to produce some golf of the very poorest quality.
It's quite uncanny just how badly we all manage to play in the event each year, but it's great we do because the banter produced by the woeful golf is hilarious.
This year we headed north to Inverness for a round at Nairn Dunbar then two rounds at Inverness Golf Club before returning to Deeside to complete the final 18 at Ballater.
Before the first round everyone was full of hope and expectation that this year might be different. But, after the last man had putted out on the final green at Nairn, it was clear we were in store for another comedy tournament.
Here's a brief synopsis of everyone's highs and lows:
Fergus High Point - I made the cardinal sin of birdying the first hole in each of the first three rounds. Past experience should have told me this is a terrible idea. Things can only go downhill from that point. They went downhill pretty quickly in round one, very quickly in round two and moderately quickly in round three.
Low Point - After making a quadruple bogey eight on the 5th hole in round two I stood on the 6th tee and forgot how to swing the golf club. I took a 3-iron, raised it above my head and decelerated towards the ball so aggressively that, by the time the clubhead reached the ground behind the ball, it was travelling at approximately five miles per hour. My Titleist moved forward no more than 15 yards. Cue, riotous laughter from my playing partners and the other group who were viewing the effort from the 5th fairway.
Ross High Point - He finished three, three in the final round to break 90. It was a gritty effort after he'd gone out in 51 and it rectified what could have potentially been quite an embarrassing score.
Low Point - The mysterious disappearance of his SkyCaddie. Before heading out for the second round, Ross misplaced his distance-measuring-device somewhere in his hotel room. Despite turning everything upside down and inside out, it couldn't be located and he was forced to go to Inverness GC without it. Obviously the loss of the SkyCaddie had a catastrophic impact on his golf and he was sure someone was trying to sabotage his campaign. When his SkyCaddie then mysteriously reappeared in his room after round three, his suspicions were raised even further. The investigation is still underway to try and identify the culprit.
Martin High Point - Putting out on the 18th green at Ballater to complete another championship where all four rounds were over 80. Martin works extremely hard each year to try and finish last but is yet to manage it.
Low Point - Being accused of hiding Ross's SkyCaddie. Martin is an honest lad who rarely goes in for tomfoolery of this nature and I think it hurt his feelings that anyone could think him capable of such a callous act.
Stewart High Point - He chipped in for an eagle two at Ballater's par-4 15th. Apparently the celebrations were reminiscent of when Justin Leonard holed across the 17th green in the Ryder Cup at Brookline in 1999.
Low Point - A superbly struck shank on the 2nd hole of round three that had the group on the 4th green scuttling for cover as it whistled past at knee height.
Scott High Point - Teeing it up on the first at Nairn Dunbar to make his Tuesday Championship debut. It's a wonderful moment in anybody's golfing career and Scott made the very most of it by hitting a ripper down the right side of the fairway.
Low Point - Taking six to get down from within 20 yards of the pin at Inverness's par-3 7th must have been tough to take. The green is massively raised with a huge slope on the right hand side. Looking on as Scott made his way up it, then down it, then up it, then down it then up it again was like watching some sort of Iron Man endurance test.
Ryan High Point - Things were looking good for last year's champion after round one as he was the only man who managed to break 80 at Nairn Dunbar. On the back nine, Ryan gave us a lesson on how to play in extremely windy conditions - controlling his ball flight and using the pitch and run to great effect.
Low Point - On the driveable 14th at Ballater, he stood on the tee and questioned whether driver was too much club with the wind hard behind. "Not if you hit it like that." He said after thinning it 60 yards.
Roy High Point - After hitting three balls off the raised tee at Inverness's 12th hole, things looked ominous for Roy. His first good moment on the hole came when he found his second ball in a seemingly impenetrable bush to the left of the 13th green. But, that sense of relief can have been nothing compared to the elation he must have felt when he then located his first drive up on the green. An incredible shot considering the hole is over 330 yards long.
Low Point - Probably realising he was sharing a room with me.
Paul High Point - Holing out on the final green to become the first two-time winner of the Tuesday Championship. In his victory speech he spoke of how delighted he was to collect his first trophy as a professional and how he hopes this performance might act as a springboard, lifting him to further success.
Low Point - Returning a back nine of 48 at Nairn Dunbar was not very Paul-like. He boarded the bogey bus and clearly had an express ticket straight back to the depot. He did very well to bounce back the next day to take the tournament lead then close it out in round four. Well played Sir.
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?