More than a game: High hopes

A new winter season, a new hope. The levels of blind optimism displayed by Fergus never fail to astonish. Will he be brought down to earth?

Week 1 ? Braemar

Date: 13 September

Weather: Fairly cold, windy, odd rain shower

Greens: Summer

Tees: Summer

Mats on fairways: No

Preferred Lies: No

A wonderfully picturesque setting and an excellent wee course with superb greens. It?s the highest track in Scotland and there are no bunkers, they did have some for a while but all the sand blew away. The round got off to a good start as the clubhouse provided an above average bacon roll ? a 9/10 in fact. Things got better on the second tee when the group in front let us through. Slow play is a problem in the Alliance and any progress through the field is a bonus. When we walked off the 18th green the group behind were four holes back. Despite its elevation Braemar did not witness an equally high standard of golf from me. A handful of three putts and various other frittered shots interspersed with a huge amount of self-loathing and vociferous moaning resulted in a lacklustre +7. Cormack played solidly and his level par round was good enough for second place and £65. Luckily for me and Stewart, Cormack had driven to Braemar so we could enjoy a few pints in the clubhouse afterwards. We then went to a pub called Kylie?s to play some darts and had a few more beers, then visited the Balmoral in Ballater and then the Huntly in Aboyne for good measure. Thursday morning was not pretty.

November 22: A great discovery November 17: Going cold turkeyNovember 9: A series of unfortunate eventsNovember 1: The weather turnsOctober 25: A costly exerciseOctober 18: A gritty performanceOctober 4: To pastures newSeptember 20: Arboreal adventuresSeptember 13: High hopes

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?