Four and Fore!

This is the sound that accompanies many of my shots at golf. I love playing but my scores are ‘hit’ and ‘miss’ – literally. I was determined to play more golf when we moved to Inveraray last year. However, that proved more difficult than I anticipated! The good golf courses are too far away to justify a ‘quick’ round. Machrahanish which is a beautiful golf links near Campbeltown is an hour and half’s drive from Powdermills. Of course my favourite is Shiskine, the world renown 12 hole links golf course on Arran. However, playing these courses demands a day trip.

There are local golf courses to Powdermills. Inveraray resembles a field with some flags in it! And Lochgilphead which should rent out oxygen cylinders to players as they clamber up the third hole – 114 yards in a near vertical assent! Indeed, they have the cheek to call it a short hole! I am afraid my injured knee from playing rugby just cannot handle playing a course where you need one leg shorter than the other!

I searched for a course that was reasonably immediate but ideally flat and found the nine hole Dalmally Golf Club. It is only thirty minutes drive and quiet. Two rounds of nine holes in two hours. It is challenging enough for me and even has a couple of holes over water. The course was built in 1982 and is in not bad condition considering that it is operated by volunteers. I joined on a special annual fee promotion for £100. Early in May I played many times. However, I have never played since as we have been so busy with the Bed & Breakfast.

So my only sporting experience has been watching sport on the TV during the summer. It depressed me last Sunday, watching an already multi millionaire Rory McIlroy winning £12 million in a golf tournament! Not that he is not a great golfer – clearly he is brilliant but TWELVE million pounds for four rounds of golf? It is in such contrast to my golf experience at Dalmally. Golf clubs are desperate for members and you can not help think that the professionals have lost sight of the essence of the game.

But this disconnect exists in other sports. Poor Bury Football Club has been ejected from the English Championship because of financial problems. The club is 125 years old. There is something wrong with the game that allows its top players to earn £250,000 per week and can not provide enough financial security for the lower league clubs to survive.

Nonetheless, this disillusionment quickly disappeared as we witnessed Ben Stokes win the Third Cricket Test for England against Australia at Headingly. This will go down in the history of all sport and become synonymous with ‘Botham’s Ashes’ in 1981. Just like then, I was glued in disbelief to the telly on Monday as he crashed boundaries to all areas of the ground. Now, if he was to get £12 million for that performance I would not begrudge him a penny.

All this heady sport has made want to get back on the golf course. So today I was going to have round for the first time in three months as we have a relatively quiet day. Alas, the weather had other ideas and I was left watching replays of the cricket with Boo and Mabel.

But September and October are good months to have short golfing breaks and Powdermills Bed & Breakfast is ideally suited as a base for some great courses. Even some of the local courses, like Dalmally are not too bad but listen out for the loud shouts of ‘Fore!’ as that is likely to be me.