More than a game: Lucky seven

Monsoon season hits Aberdeenshire and the Alliance is under threat. Can play go ahead despite the deluge?

Venue: Newburgh (A change from Turriff as scheduled because of extreme wetness)

Date: 21 November

Weather: Rain ? falling fast and in great quantities

Greens: Summer

Mats: No

Preferred Lies: Yes

According to Genesis (the book rather than the band) it took God seven days to create the whole Universe. It?s one of the reasons seven is considered to be a lucky number. I?m not going to try and argue against the Bible. Of course God created the Universe in a week, it?s the only logical explanation. What I?m less sure of is just how lucky the number seven really is. For a start God rested on the seventh day so actually he created the Universe in six days. Secondly, and more importantly, I shot a 77 yesterday featuring three sevens and in no way did it feel lucky.

Continuing on a religious theme, the last couple of days in Aberdeenshire have been reminiscent of that famous time when God tipped Noah the wink and began flooding the earth. Why did it take him forty days and forty nights to complete that task when it only took him six to create the entire Universe? He does work in some mysterious ways.

On the drive to Newburgh Stewart and I were fairly convinced the competition would be called off. The rain was teeming down and we were driving through puddles so large they just about merited naming: Udny Water or the Great Puddle of Nether Crimond perhaps. We were discussing our theory that bad conditions help our chances. We decided the ultimate for us is when the course is only just still playable and conditions are as bad as is meteorologically possible. Well, we got our wish at Newburgh.

When we splashed up in the car park we were astounded to see a group forging off up the first. In the clubhouse, secretary Ron confirmed play was going ahead so I picked up my cheque for last week?s efforts (£90 by the way,) scoffed a bacon roll and went to rain-suit up for battle. It was absolutely lashing down as I stood up on the first tee: a mat with about a centimetre of standing water on it. I sliced my tee shot into knee high bund never to be seen again, I made bogey with my second ball and I?d racked up my first seven of the day. Stewart will confirm that I said quite a number of words between the first green and second tee and that none of those words were: ?lucky.?

I then began a supremely gritty fight back and played the next nine holes in one under par. But, on the 11th I hit another power fade off the tee, it bounced once before leaping into a gorse bush. Three off the tee and three putts and I?d made another seven. I struck back with birdie at the 12th before another ball in a bush and a third seven at the 13th. I played the last five in one under and finished on six over: 77. So I?d played 15 holes in three under and three holes in nine over.

Back in the clubhouse I was distraught at the thought I?d almost played the grittiest round of my life but three sliced drives had cost me nine whole shots. I was even more distressed when I heard the winning score was four under (67). Even if I?d made par at the three holes I?d triple bogeyed, I?d still have been one shot shy. Four under truly was a superhuman effort.

If you could spare a moment at your desk or wherever you?re reading this to give a small ripple of applause to the fifty men who completed their rounds at Newburgh. Playing 18-holes in those conditions was a test of Herculean proportions. Forget cleaning the Augean Stables or capturing the Golden Stag of Artemis, Newburgh was much harder. It?s Portlethen next week and even I will be praying the rain stops. There?s only so many times I can dry out my Kasco all-weather glove before it goes mouldy.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during 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 history section of "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?