Wednesday, 15 July 2015

144th Open - St Andrews

Having almost got close to going to the Masters last yr (as a spectator/patron) .. my golf game isn't quite that good - I had the chance to wander round St Andrews, during the week when the open is being played.

Driving to the course, its v well signposted .. and u get funnelled to a park n ride, with buses operating v frequently, which drop u off outside the entrance.

As u can see .. entrance money is not cheap - even £25 for the practice days - and having reached the course at 5pm or so, just wanted to have a quick look round (the last bus going back, is at 7.30), so, really had little time.

The 3 ticket booths were not manned .. so, when going to the security area, when asked for my ticket, I clearly hadn't got one.

The security guy, said I couldn't come in !!

Ok, maybe he was doing his job, but, this cant be right. I wanted to pay - etc.

I asked he call his boss etc, and, v quickly, a compromise was established, where I would be escorted to the merchandising area, (free of charge), and then, my escort would lose me.

This was both good and bad. I couldn't fault the service, but, spent £700 on various shorts/caps etc .. I would have spent more, but the Ralph Lauren Golf jacket, all had v poor zips .. and for £160, it just was too much.

UPS are a sponsor - and have a concession outside the merchandise hall, where they will ship your goods. I had a 10kg box, which cost £15 .. hardly a bad deal .. and hope it gets home (overseas), ok.

On leaving the credit card killing zone, there is a Bobby Jones exhibit .. which I briefly looked around .. one of my favourite films, is The Legend of Bagger Vance - which I never knew, is played on a golf course, quite near the Masters - but, anyway - its about one of Bobby Jones' last rounds of gold, and its a v good film.

Anyway, after this, went out onto the course - free wifi - and was able to watch Tiger Woods, play 3 holes in a practice round, with Gary Woodland/Matt Kuchar and Jason Dufner .. which was all good.

The course is amazing .. I have to try come back, and play one day - even thou the bunkers, look a serious challenge.

I would have to rate the experience 10/10 ..

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

ICC T20 qualifiers

The minnows, are playing a range of qualifiers, in Scotland and Ireland.

The local attendances has been limited .. maybe 300, if the home side is playing, on a good day (Saturday/Sunday) .. but, the support, of other countries, has at times, been amazing.

The Afghanistan side, have a few v decent players - and locals, have come from far and wide to watch, the star players.

Mohammed Shahzad (77), has been a joy to watch, as he demolishes the opposition bowling.

Travelling support from Afghanistan - they have driven 50 miles .. for a game, that was always likely to be rained out - and was.

Tomorrow they play Oman .. who managed a win against the Netherlands, which is quite a scalp - but, would be v surprised, if they are a match for the Afghans.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

England 1 - Australia 0

The 1st Ashes test ends in 4 days .. and its not a steam-roller job from Australia.

I didn't actually watch much of this, listening mainly on the radio, whilst watching cricket elsewhere, (about which, I will write later).

Its possible Aus were a little under-done, but, Eng have momentum .. the Lords test will be fascinating viewing ..

Friday, 3 July 2015

Another boring golf story ...

When u play a sport, either competitively, or, just for recreation etc, u pretty soon get an idea of how good u are .. Comparing yourself, either time wise, or score wise, to your peers.

Current pro golfers, hit the ball (sometimes), 350 yards, fearlessly straight, and go round the 18 holes, off the back tees (hardest), in anything from say 68 to 74, on a par 72 course.

During the game, a lot of pros, will hit, fantastic shots, amateurs can just gawp at.

On the 4 Par 3,s, a pro can be expected to get a hole in one, - the perfect shot, something like, 1 in every 800 attempts.

Many pro golfers have aces on 20-30 holes, while oddly, a few have v few .. 

I have never really come close .. Maybe 2-3 feet away, would be the best, on a hole ranging from 110 yards, to 150 yards away.

My game is steadily improving, and I now really like my posture / stance, once my back is warmed up, and have taken back pain pills.

Playing yesterday, I was playing ok, on a course near Stratford, which I was playing for the first time. We played the first 9 holes, with a member, and made a phenomenal birdie on the 7th hole, (holing a 20 footer), so - all was good.

Was losing the match thou - which was a travesty - but - it can happen.

On the 14th hole - a Par 4, 277 yard, slightly downhill, breeze behind, I viewed the green, and thought it was possible to get somewhere near. Most of my really (good) drives, go about 240 yards, so, it was just in range.

Taking my trusty driver, I gave it an almighty smack, and the true joy u experience, when u see the ball launch off the face of the club, is something every true sportsman will know.

The ball's flight was perfection, 100 % true! landing probably 50 yards short of the green, but rolling, at a decent speed towards the cup.

It was on line, thou, from 270 yards away, it wasn't the easiest to see .. And must have just brushed the edge of the hole, before coming to a stop, 3 yards past.

So, I have a 10 footer for eagle - I can't remember too many others in my golfing career, and gave it my full attention. The greens were v true, so, was determined not to be short - , but, didn't hit it right, and the ball finished about a foot left/short. Easy birdie .. And a hole/shot I will always remember.