I was lucky enough to be called upon by Warwickshire County Under 16’s for a match at Worfield Golf Club (worfieldgolfclub.co.uk) on 8th May. This came as a surprise as I was expecting the U14’s only being 13 years old!
As a Junior Golfer I started off like many playing from the most forward tees knocking my 16 degree driver barely 100 yards and spending no more than 2 seconds lining up my putts. The bag was heavy and the course was long but one good drive, one good chip and one good putt would see me back tomorrow for more, no matter what the score.
Thankfully the support for Juniors at my home club (Ladbrook Park) is second to none. They work hard to give young new golfers enough basic skill and etiquette to get out on the course in the regular events as fast as possible, and from there as they improve move them back towards the white tee’s so they can start winning junior club events. The support from the other Juniors as also so important, with many of the better juniors happy to act as a chaperone.
Playing my first event for Warwickshire County U16’s was a real honour as I have always seen the progression of representing my Club, then my County, then my Country as something I wanted to do.
The event was 18 hole foursomes in the morning followed by 18 holes singles in the afternoon. This is a big step up from the 18 hole four-ball match play events I am used to.
Opting to play the odds (I tee off on all the odd holes) I had the opening tee shot for my teammate Lewis. A smooth swing and a fairway found off the first tee and we were away.
That week I’d had a lesson and my swing did not feel as natural as usual, however it did not cause too many problems and we managed to get a win, 6 and 5.
A quick break for lunch, a few practice swings (and a swing-eureka moment) and I was off again, this time in the singles.
I soon found myself 2 down even though I playing well. Fair play to my opponent! The level of golf from Club to County level is noticeably different and it makes you find another level in your own game, especially mentally. Digging in and playing some of the best short game I think I’ve ever played found me 2 up with 5 to play.
I have never played Worfield Golf Club before and my foursomes match ended on 13, meaning I had not seen the last 5 holes. Lack of course knowledge (and a course guide!) saw me run out of fairway on one hole and leave me out of position on 2 more. This left me the unenviable position of having to get up-and-down on the 18th to secure a half. A decent chip close enough for a gimme saw me get the half to go with the point earned that morning.
I learned a lot that day. What it feels like playing at County level, what it’s like to play foursomes, and what 36 holes of competition feel like! The most important thing however is that if you finish early in game 1 on a course you’ve never played – play or even just walk the last few holes to get an idea of yardages and pin positions.