Practice makes perfect…or not

2 04 2010

I’m supposed to be camping this weekend on Malcolm Island which, as far as I can tell from my map of Canada, is located somewhere just south of the Arctic Circle. But when Scottish Wife said on Monday that we were going, even though it meant no golf for me this weekend, I didn’t put up much of a fight. That’s what happens when your golf game is really really bad – you sort of lose the will to live.

Even so, when I got a phone call from Brian Benedictson on Wednesday inviting me to join him for a practice round at Sunnydale the following afternoon, I jumped at the chance.  Maybe it was just Glacier Greens that I am hopeless at playing – after all, the greens are way too fast there right now – and I would find newfound form at Sunny D? Maybe Brian’s skill would rub off on me, or he’d spot some tiny flaw in my set up that would magically turn me into a decent golfer? Maybe Anne Newman, Brian’s coach and legendary pro at Sunnydale, wouldn’t laugh at me? “OK, I’m clutching at straws here”, I thought to myself as I drove towards Sunnydale in the wind, rain and sub zero temperatures, ” but maybe I’ll play just fine”.

Well those particular straws quickly disappeared in the wind, along with a succession of slices from yours truly. Brian and his buddy Josh (who claimed to be a 10 handicap but hit the ball alarmingly long and straight and was also a wizard with the short stick) quickly went five up even though my partner Anne played just fine and despite the fact that I was in charge of the scorecard – there’s only so much manicuring of scores you can get away with on any given hole. After nine holes, in the midst of yet another downpour, Anne disappeared into the pro shop, citing paperwork that suddenly needed doing, although to be fair nobody had mentioned the state of the match after the first four holes – a sure sign that things were a bit one sided.

The conversation had been great throughout. Nobody paid much attention to my miserable efforts, thank goodness, and Anne talked instead about technical stuff concerning Brian’s swing – all Greek to me, obviously –  as well as his mental approach. I’d sum it up as follows: “Expect to succeed or expect to fail – you’ll be right either way.” Josh and Brian chatted about the good old days of junior golf and what mutual acquaintances were doing these days, and Brian and I discussed his schedule for the season. Things are going really well with the Swinkey project right now and he’s decided – wisely, I think – to opt out of the Mexican swing of the Canadian Tour and concentrate on getting his fledgling business off the ground. He’s playing some events on the Vancouver Golf Tour to stay sharp and I plan to go over and caddie for him at least once before we meet up at Uplands in Victoria at the start of June, when the Canadian Tour reaches home soil.

Brian’s game looked pretty solid to me – he shot around even par in foul conditions – and I think the success of the Swinkey will only add to the sense of confidence that is so vital for success on tour. Anne is a great person to be around – as long as you can cope with a constant barrage of good natured abuse, that is – and is obviously doing a good job with the mental as well as the technical side of things. As long as Brian’s caddie does his stuff on the bag – and by the way, B B, that thing’s massive, a guy could get a hernia just lifting it off the ground – this could be a good season!

Birdiewatch – Brian: 3 or 4. Nothing to it apparently.

Birdiewatch – me:  0. In fact, since my birdie barrage at members’ morning two weeks ago I’ve played seven rounds of golf without a single birdie (that’s 126 holes, folks, but who’s counting? Well me, obviously).  Can someone please tell the golf gods that I’ve suffered enough now? Oh, don’t bother. I’ve just seen the forecast for Malcolm Island this weekend: rain, possibly turning to snow. The suffering continues…

All da best.

Dave B.




4 responses

3 04 2010

Great post Dave! Happy Easter to you and Julie. The Lord is risen! Alleluia!

4 04 2010
Bagger Dave

Thanks for the continued encouragement, Martin. Now, if I could just resurrect my game…


12 04 2010
Bandito Juan

Dave, “126 holes without a birdie, but who’s counting?” . As one of my former students once asked me,” Mr.R, what’s an obsessive compulsive, what’s an obsessive compulsive, what’s an obsessive compulsive?”
Here’s my secret to golfing success: before you go to sleep at night replay every shot you played that day. This will do 2 things: help you with visualization, release you from the angst of that round and allow you to forget it. Thus, freeing the mind to allow you to make birdies again. For further information go to:
John Juan

13 04 2010
Bagger Dave

John, thanks for your concern and I appreciate your secret to success. Unfortunately, if I replay every shot I play in the round it will take me hours to get to sleep or I’ll suffer from nightmares. In addition, just thinking about Liverpool as a capital of culture will make me giggle so much that I’ll never get to sleep at all.


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