What Have You Missed Most Through The Coronavirus Break, Competitions Or Friendly Golf?

Are you itching to get back to competitive golf or simply to play with pals?

What Have You Missed Most Through The Coronavirus
(Image credit: Getty Images)

GM regulars Fergus Bisset and Jeremy Ellwood discuss whether it's been competitive or friendly golf that they have missed most during lockdown.

What Have You Missed Most Through The Coronavirus Break, Competitions Or Friendly Golf?

Competitions says Fergus Bisset

During this bizarre sabbatical from normal life, all of us are greatly missing time spent out on the fairways.

One hour-long stroll from the front door and a putt on the carpet doesn’t really cut it, does it?

Of course, generally speaking, I am simply missing golf itself.

But thinking the other day about what I am really longing for most, I realised it was club competition.

I love having a card in my hand and playing for something.

That’s what golf is all about for me - putting my game on the line and really trying hard to record the best possible score I can.

I’m not a trophy hunter and that’s not what I like about individual competitions.

It’s really the chance to feel like I’ve done myself proud – returning a best score, achieving a handicap cut, making a few birdies.

For me, there’s no better feeling in golf than holing out on the 18th green to complete a competition round I’m pleased with.

Admittedly, they’re few and far between, but that makes the exhilaration all the greater when one comes along.

And then I miss the clubhouse camaraderie afterwards.

The words of congratulation or commiseration one hears from fellow members who have also enjoyed testing themselves competitively that day.

With no knockout events to look forward to this year and no club matches, I’m missing the social side of those to boot.

I miss the banter before them, the competition within them and the friendly meal and maybe a beer after them.

For me, competitive golf is what it’s all about.

Yes, I love a stroll around the course with no pressure on performance.

But give me a scorecard or a friendly opponent and I’m playing on the Elysian Fields.

What Have You Missed Most Through The Coronavirus Break, Competitions Or Friendly Golf?

Friendly Golf says Jeremy Ellwood

For various reasons, my competitive spirit has been somewhat blunted in recent years, so with competitive golf already taking a bit of a back seat relative to the past, this is a pretty easy one for me.

Add in to the mix that what used to occasionally almost pass for a golf swing has been deserting me at an alarming rate, and golf has become much more of a social event these days.

It is, of course, still a huge part of my life even if competitions are not.

Immediately prior to the lockdown I had just come back from a cracking trip to Fife with GM colleague Rob Smith, the first of several in the 2020 diary, with many of my work trips also involving a social element as I get to meet, play with and chat to club members up and down the country.

With that busy schedule of trips and days out wiped from the diary from April onwards, I have really missed the experience of playing with golfing friends both old and new, and in particular the endless on-course banter and simple pleasure of just being out there amid beautiful surroundings, which you don’t always appreciate scorecard in hand.

I have to say I have also missed my solo rounds hugely where it’s just me alone with my thoughts, both deep and trivial.

These elements of our great game are much more important to me now than the often disappointing numbers I have to sign for on a scorecard on one of my rare competitive outings.

They are undoubtedly what I have missed most during this enforced break, so I have resolved to enjoy them all the more when we are once again given the green light.

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?