When the invite came from Karl Adams to play at Radcliffe on Trent Golf Club we quickly packed our bags. If, like us, you’ve been heartily sick of the rain then you can bet your life the golf clubs are too. They have had a tough time with closures for waterlogging but, on the upside, the sun has started to shine, albeit haphazardly, and summer is beckoning, (or so we thought).
Entering the Pro Sop we had a warm welcome from Claire who has been at the club for 15 years now. We were kitted out with scorecards, water and the customary chocolate bar to replenish lost energy. The sky was looking ominously dark as we eagerly set off.
All three of us got off well at the first with high hopes of beating the Bulwell Forest scores. As I didn’t play there I was on a winner, anything under 100 and the honours were mine.
Lefty took the Tiger line over the trees and declared that “he had deliberately left it short of the ditch”. He’s full of rubbish like that. I say that with confidence because he lost his ball on the next shot. Then I looked for the camera to take a photograph and realized I’d left it on the floor outside the clubhouse, so off Lefty drove at speed to get it.
As there was a two ball waiting to tee off after us we did the gentlemanly thing and let them through. That lull should have allowed us time to take a breather and capitalize on our good drives. I did get to walk over the bridge though and was happy to see my ball on the fairway.
My second shot was not long enough as I under clubbed leaving me short and having to decide which club to use to get onto the green. I needn’t have bothered because again I fell short.
I’ve realized, the more I think about the shot the worse I hit the ball. But I was pleased to come off with a 5. Newby went off to the left and into the trees and then had to get back to the green and came off with a six. Three perfectly achievable pars ruined. That’s golf for you.
The second hole affords a gently sloping downhill shot. We all felt that the bunkers were incredibly well placed to catch the mid handicapper. It’s a dog-leg right. Watch out for the right bunker as it’s a beast to get out of. I thankfully landed my third shot short and managed to chip within three yards of the hole. I needed a miracle to avoid a 6 but I didn’t get one. Two putts and I came off with a six. The greens were playing magnificently and pretty quick. It’s a struggle to get used to them after a winter of soggy greens. Your game has to change.
On the Third, a dog-leg right, Lefty parred it. A great tee shot that was long and true just bisected the fairway giving him a super approach shot to the green with a 9 iron, and two putts saw him dancing with joy. He should have birdied this one after such a good start.
The 4th. This is a long par 4 at 437 yards and Newby got the second of his three pars. At stroke index 3 this is a tough hole and I scraped a five, which was hugely disappointing . I’d read up on the holes on the web site and it said this about this long par 4, “Don’t go left, trees await” I should have listened!
The 5th hole. I really don’t want to write about this one. I’m sure it’s a good hole. Aren’t the trees nice at this time of year?
6th. Newby thought he had nailed it but the green narrowed alarmingly and his shot went slightly left which left him a nasty downhill chip from out of the rough. The chip didn’t go as planned and the ball refused to get up to the green in sufficient distance to get another par. Lefty went into the bunker. In fact I’m sure he was the only player to do so which is unusual because we all catch one normally.
By the 7th hole the rain had decided to get a bit heavier and to be honest it spoilt what was a most enjoyable round so far, but we have to bear with that in England, it makes the game even more difficult but hones your skills.
The greens slowed a little at this point but I found that my putting was getting better as I could punch them a little harder to get up close and even into the hole.
Before we played the 8th we were caught up by a couple of friendly local lads (pictured) who were as wet as us.
The 8th is 192 yard par 3. The bunkers are not as near the green as you think. You need a good 170 yard carry just to get past the middle bunker. I landed a yard short leaving me to pitch onto the green. I scuffed it and ruined my chance of a wet birdie. Newby took a 5 iron and wellied it but only made the front of the green. Lefty went into the left bunker and said he did a 4. We are convinced that his score converter is rigged similar to the euro against the pound and at the minute his currency is strong against the par.
The 9th. We were quite soaked by now and the shots were not impressive as I ended in the rough on the right and seemed to stay there for the next three shots feeling soaking wet. Just in the distance we could see the clubhouse and a pint of Speckled Hen was calling out to me, so we decided that we would follow the procession to the clubhouse and come back to fight the back nine another day. The greens really held up well to say that the rain came down pretty heavy and the course was still good underfoot. A real treat to play.
While we were ordering drinks and perusing the menu Phil, complete in cooking gear, said that the steak pies were good. To prove the point may I direct you to the picture of the magnificent steak pie, presented to us elegantly by Louise, which we devoured along with chips and peas. Our efforts were so appreciated by the members that one came across to congratulated us for finishing it. We were convinced it was a ‘pie for four’ but nevertheless in true Desparate Dan style and not wanting to appear rude we ate it all.
Phil and Louise really looked after us well in the clubhouse and we appreciated the time they gave us even though they were obviously busy. Our thanks to all at Radcliffe on Trent GC for a super day. We intend to come back on a sunny summers day to play the back nine and have another super steak pie.
PS: Just to clarify things, we were playing off yellows. In fact the yellows are only 174 yards shorter than the white. ‘We should play off whites” I said, but no one listened. Not that I would play any better, but I like the elongated views of holes.