Flushed with heady enthusiasm as a result of gaining permission from the National Rust editor to post twice in twenty four hours, today I report upon a golf match with my two brothers, the latest in a keenly-contested series that has been running since about 1968.
It was undertaken at Goodwood estate’s Park course and involved the hiring of two buggies.
The Park, which by choice we had not played for a while, was originally a bit of a mix-and-match affair (inferior to its partner, the majestic Goodwood Downs) but has since matured into a worthy challenge in its own right.
The buggies owed us nothing. The weather was blisteringly hot and strength-sapping and, at our stage of life, they were a welcome accessory. I was riding with my younger sibling, who may have made a tactical error by admitting that his energy was fading as early as our arrival at the eleventh tee. In elite sport, having the psychological edge is a factor not to be underestimated. An opponent revealing a weakness is an opportunity for others to ‘push on’ and exploit it.
Though modesty forbids me recording here the identity of the winner of yesterday’s clash, I can certainly provide evidence of the influence of psychology upon a contest.
Arriving at the eighteenth and final tee with the match already won, the leader announced that in the circumstances he would throw caution to the winds and take out his driver.
His ball immediately disappeared, hard and wide left into the impenetrable undergrowth, if not also the next county.
After the others had had their turn, he then opted to go ‘three off the tee’. That ball went hard right, back over the road and probably onto the fairway of the previous (17th) hole. The golfer concerned then proceeded to attempt to depart the tee with further balls, eventually achieving this by going ’eleven off the tee’, which directly contributed to his eventual gross 16 on the final hole.
In that report, I erroneously forgot to mention a memorable exchange that I had with a member of the Kent CCC committee, shortly after arriving in my hospitality tent in which he was also a guest.
In discussing our relative experiences at following cricket – mine pitiful – he revealed that, upon retiring, on a complete whim, he had decided to give himself the challenge of attending the entirety of every Kent county game, both home and away, the following season (1997).
Since then he had never missed one. On Monday, he and I had been in conversation at his 286th consecutive Kent county match.
His travels in pursuit of his quest had included a trip to Holland. I suggested to him that he probably had some amusing tales worth telling, but he replied “not really”, albeit admitting that he probably had enough material to write a book on British ‘bed & breakfast’ establishments. Only last year (2013), having booked one long in advance, he had arrived at it shortly after the first day’s play had finished … only to discover that, at some point in the meantime, it had burned to the ground.