What a comeback! And once again, wasn’t it amazing how a major sporting event captured the imagination – you didn’t have to be a golf fan to appreciate the theatre that was playing out on our screens last night. It was truly epic.
And it got me thinking, or rather reminiscing. I grew up as a golfer you see. I remember toddling along to the course with my dad, tagging along with him on summer evenings, and eventually learning to play the game to a decent level.
As I grew older, my game improved. I became Perth Boys Champion in 1986, and represented Perth & Kinross at County level. I was club champion in 1992, the year that my daughter was born, and then eased off a bit, but I was still a keen player.
I picked it up again in the late 90’s, by which time my brother Niall, who is a PGA Professional, was out in Portugal, so he put me in touch with the late Adam Hunter, who became my coach until I stopped playing in 2003. With Adam’s help, we transformed my game and my handicap, and scores tumbled. There were some memorable days; days when the game came easily and I would shoot under par. But it never really made me happy. In fact, golf stressed me out – it made me a person I didn’t like. So I stopped. I haven’t played competitively since 2004, and I’m unlikely to ever do so again.
However watching the Ryder Cup, and playing on the PGA course at Gleneagles last month with my brother and son, the course where the 2014 Ryder Cup will be held, has rekindled my interest. It brought back memories of watching Europe win at the Belfry in 1985; of Nicklaus winning the Masters in 86; of Woods bursting onto the scene in 97 and demolishing the Masters. Golf was a major part of my life for 35 years, and then we separated.
I won’t compete again, but I want to play a bit more. With my son, with my brother, and with friends. For the fun of it, and maybe for a few quid now & again. Golf’s in my soul, and it’s time for us to get back together.