I set out intrepidly to Breadsall on a very cold (3 degrees) March day, so I had the air conditioning turned  down to get myself acclimatized! 

Although the temperature was up to 8 degrees by 10am, which is quite acceptable for this time of year, I was quite surprised to see people coming off the 9th at 9.20 so I imagine they had the worst of the cold weather. You’ve got to admire their dedication to the game.  I like it when folks warm the course up!

My playing partner Gary is back playing golf after a hip operation. I know how to pick my partners. I like playing with folk who make me look good. Saying that he’s a far better player that me so it was just a matter of how long his hip would last?  Could I take advantage? I had ordered a buggy for me and wheelchair for him!  I will say at the start that he played really well which is annoying considering what he had been through. He did let slip though that he had sneaked in a game wearing shorts! Where? Majorca! Thats cheating in my book.

We sat drinking coffee with Steve Turner the Director of Golf at Breadsall. Steve is very much a well known face at Breadsall and  has been there for 9 years now. He explained the work that had been carried out over the winter to make the  Priory course better, harder and even more picturesque . They’ve re- sculptured the lake, removing 2,500 tons of silt, bringing into play more of the hole.  However on the day, we were playing the everlasting Moorland course. This course seems to stand up to everything you can throw at it, rain, hail, snow and occasionally blazing sunshine. We got all three I think!

The moorland course is very open and subject to a spot of inclement weather making it a very hard course to tackle ,but it rewards you with superb views over Derbyshire which compensates somewhat if you’re having a bad round.

The golf professional  loaned us a new Taylormade Driver with adjustable weights. I will explain that later.

The First hole is a pleasant par 3 to loosen you up. But don’t take it for granted as it’s easy to slip away with a 4 if you’re wayward.

Gary teed off  and, as the ball hit the green I thought “I must get one of those hip operations! They really work.” I was short and came off with a 4. See, I told you.

Crossing the road we are now well and truly in the moorland.  It’s 8 years since I played here and know that whilst it is open and your ball is mostly in sight it’s easy to lose a shot or two. Today there was quite a gusty biting wind and on a number of occasions both Gary and I noticed the flag bent at 90 degrees,  so we played our shots taking the wind into account and our balls flew off in opposite directions as the wind took one and not the other.   Even on the par 3 15th dropping the ball onto the green resulted in allowing for the wind , only to find that as the ball dropped towards the green the wind dropped too. What should have been birdie or par ended in 4’s.

However onto the second (running parallel to the road) where the chance to give it a go and, once on the green we noticed that they were very quick for the time of year, even though it had been raining earlier The third was a temporary green which I hate but work has to be done on courses and as we all know you can’t do much work on a golf course in the dark unless you are a mole! So, we have to grin and bear it sometimes. (Nearest the pin won that hole).

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Moving quickly onto hole 4 gave us the chance to try out the new Taylormade driver the Breadsall Pro had loaned to us. Costing a cool £325 I would expect the ball to go straight in the hole, but it’s me that usually messes things up, not the club.

My drive went left and as I frantically looked for the screwdriver to adjust the club and make the fade-slice, tweek loft adjustments I  realized we didn’t have one.  Gary on the other hand hit a corker giving him the perfect approach to the green  as I chipped my ball out of the trees and dropped a shot. Gary came off with a four because he could get at the green using a seven iron and dropped a great put. I came off with a six.

The beauty about the moorland course is that it sits nicely on a plateau  making for an easy walk round with no cardiac inducing hills, there are a couple of the holes that you ‘play up” to.

We were frozen at this point! The biting wind ripping through our jackets and we kept looking at each other but neither wanting to give in.

We mastered on and at the 6th we lost the tee and then found it tight in the corner. My tee shot bounced off the wall, well I had been watching that guy on youtube who bounced it twice off the rocks and onto the green. A chip and a  putt and off I came with a par. I didn’t dare look at Gary’s face. We were now enjoying a bit of shelter from the wind.

On the 7th my driver worked and I hit the centre of the fairway, taking out my 7 iron I masterfully put the ball just at the back of the flag and sank a 15 footer for a Birdie. Do you know those moments on a golf course where you think ‘I can live off that hole for a week”, well that was it.

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Gary however was busily beating me on points anyway so I was happy to sneak this hole away from him.

We both played dangerously on holes 8 and 9, Gary taking 8 and me flukily getting a  par on 9. I should have been snookered by the bushes just to the front left of the green but I had found that for some reason  one of Lefty’s clubs had crept into my bag somehow and I chipped straight on and sank the put – another memorable hole. Everything deserted me on hole 10 and 11 which I zigzagged and hit the wall and nice pars turned into annoying 5’s. As usual my putting was going well and on one hole I think Gary was so cold that he was transfixed as I putted from off the green and he never moved the flag and the ball hit it and dropped in!

On 13 I went horrifically into the trees on the left and it was a hole to give up on. 14 brought me a bogie and Gary a par. He was too far ahead for me to catch him and as hypothermia set in we trudged to the 15th longing for the clubhouse to appear and lo and behold there were queues on the tee for the first time. Why now? Folks were piled up everywhere. Someone decided to do another shot off the tee as their ball went into the field on the left. If it had been a beautiful sunny day it would have been funny but the wind was again hurting. I admit to being quite a ‘let’s get on with it’ golfer who finds concentrating on the last few holes very hard and the queue made it no easier for either of us and so the last two holes ended with us cold and frustrated.

However when I lay in the bath at home thawing out I realised I’d had quite a good round and would always go back for another go. I know the holes I need to improve on, and that’s the beauty of golf, we go again to improve ourselves. I will start at the 15th next time though to avoid the queue!

The introduction of twilight membership after 3pm on both courses represents great value for money.  If you can get out later in the day it’s ideal. The offer is on their website.

Thanks Breadsall we had a great day.

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