More than a game: Cold war

The latest chance for Fergus to reduce his handicap is the Tennent Cup, but he's struggling with poor health.

Competition: Tennent Cup

Date: April 28

Course Conditions: Not bad, poor greens

Weather Conditions: Sunny, quite breezy

On the plane down to London this Monday I sat beside a rather large man who coughed and spluttered for the entire journey. I knew I would catch a cold from him so I made my distaste clear by shaking my head and tutting every time he reached for his hanky.

On Wednesday morning I felt the first scrapings of a sore throat so I began a Lemsip based assault. That very morning I saw on the news that the Class A drug Crystal Meth can be relatively easily extracted from Lemsip. This convinced me of its power and I began taking them with increased determination. Unfortunately I, and my army of painkillers, lost the virus war and I?ve spent the last couple of days with a runny nose and a sore head. Damn that fat man.

So I wasn?t in tip-top physical shape for the Tennent Cup and my expectations were low. It came as a great surprise that I was hitting the ball brilliantly. My phantom slice has disappeared and I barely missed a green. If only I could putt. In my Scotty Cameron?s defence the greens were difficult: highly inconsistent in terms of speed and even more bumpy than usual. Other than a complete fluke that rolled in from off the green on the 15th, I missed pretty much everything. I gave myself three birdie chances of less than five feet and missed them all and I missed a par putt from two feet on the 17th. The fact I still got round in +1 (70) shows how well I was playing from tee to green.

CSS was 68 again so my nett 67 was good enough for a 0.1 cut. It?s a seminal moment as I?m down to 2.9: the first time I?ve ever been 2 point something. In a heady moment of self-belief I?m raising the bar with regards my aim for the season. It was to get my HC down to 2, now I?m thinking I?d like to half it. I started at 3.6 so I?ll endeavour to get to 1.8.

I think I found putting so difficult as earlier in the week I played two courses where the greens were stunningly good. On Monday we were at Bearwood Lakes for an HSBC panellists day. The Golf Monthly staff, a group of our senior course panellists and a selection of golf club secretaries gathered for a stableford competition around the picturesque Berkshire track. I couldn?t really concentrate on good golf because I was too irritated about probably catching a cold, but I did notice the quality of the USGA spec putting surfaces. Then, on Thursday, I enjoyed a game at Bruntsfield in Edinburgh: A beautiful parkland course that's immaculately maintained. The greens there were incredibly true and I holed some great putts in a very pleasant round of -1.

Dad was disappointed that he didn?t receive a mention for his superlative efforts in the Cancer Relief Stableford last week. I keep on telling him this is my blog and not his. Anyway, he played very well, scored a gross 73 and was cut to 8. This week he displayed some admirable battling to recover from a poor start and play exactly to handicap.

One of the best things about the Tennent Cup is that every competitor gets a free pint of Tennents Lager after the round. Most people didn?t realise this and it cheered many downhearted souls who would otherwise have had a very depressing day.

Fergus Bisset
Fergus Bisset

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?