At what point during your golfing career do you turn to seniors golf? What do I mean by seniors golf? Well, rather than trying to hit a 300 yard drive at every opportunity, seniors generally play a short iron down the middle of the fairway. In essence, taking more shots to the green but staying out of the rough.
Why do I ask this question? Well at the age of 34 I feel this type of golf should be a few years away, and yet at Coxmoor I was left with no choice! Due to a footballing injury, hitting the big drives was out of the question today, so how would I get on with just my irons?
As those in the County Golfer office will tell you, I don’t like to go on about my injury (Editor insert sarcastic comments here__________________) but today would non the less prove an interesting comparison between the two types of golf.
Our destination was Coxmoor Golf Club, one of the most well respected courses in the county, and after a long chat with Paul, the greens chairman and Glen, vice greens chairman, before the game you can see why. The care, attention and dedication to keeping the course in such great shape is something you can only admire. They’re not just planning for this year or next, but have a 10 year scheme in place to ensure the constant progress of the course. With monthly reports given to each member as to what works are currently being undertaken and the reasons why, this means as a member you get to not only benefit from the improvements but hopefully understand how these are made.
The new head green keeper and all his new toys have been in place now for a year, so it would be interesting to see exactly how things have moved on since our last visit. This would give us an indication not just to the progress so far but how thing would pan out for the future.
As we warmed up on the first tee I decided to get my excuses out of the way early, “I won’t be using my driver today lefty, just irons”, I declared “due my footballing injury”. Lefty, being the thoughtful caring type, paused from laughing and verbally abusing me just long enough for me to play a six iron down the middle of the fairway. It definitely wasn’t long, but at least it wasn’t in the rough and under a tree eh Lefty!
Still with nearly 200 yards to reach the green I learned that when playing seniors golf you can’t be greedy. As I hit a second iron attempting to reach the green I fell short and landed in a bunker. Had I laid up I would have had a pretty easy chip and putt.
The second par three downhill hole, is a great challenge, it’s 169 yards off the yellows and the green is surrounded by bunkers. It’s pretty much hit the green or you’re playing from sand. Both myself and Lefty chose the latter of these two, however two decent bunker shots rescued a pair of bogies.
So we came to the first par 5 of the round, a blind tee shot over a hill is not something you really want to attack with an iron. With little choice, I played a gentle four iron up and over the hill, two more iron shots later and I was on for my first par. Three holes down, I’m yet to find myself in the rough and am playing below my handicap, maybe there is something in this seniors golf lark! But then again it’s early days.
The par 4 4th is an absolutely brilliant hole, it’s a dog leg right that is probably reachable in one for the big hitters. At 300 yards it’s not huge, but boy is it fraught with danger. Naturally with an iron the sensible thing to do would be to play left to the corner and a pitching wedge on, however due to an unexpected slice it looked as if I’m on for the corner which with a 5 iron would have been rather optimistic to say the least. Fortunately landing between two trees, it still left me a reasonable chip and another par.
The seventh hole is a par 3 at just 128yrs and is their stroke index 18, playing over the road you drive in and on. It’s the kind of hole you can play over and over again, and if you overplay the tee shot and land in the rough you might just have to too!
The quality of the fairways and the greens are quite simply exceptional, the fairways are bright green and had stripes mowed in to them, giving the feel and look of a genuine Championship Course, the sort of course we’re used to seeing only on sky sports! The greens, brilliant to look at, took a little mastering. This isn’t in any way a criticism rather the opposite, they rolled so well and so quickly that for the first five or six holes we were over hitting all our putts, but once we’d mastered these, they were a enjoy to play on.
All this talk of the long rough before we played our round had taught us to be very cautious with our shots, because of this may be we weren’t playing the course exactly as it should be played, but staying on the fairways was definitely a new experience for me and one I was certainly enjoying.
The 12th hole is the stroke index one, and deserves a lot of respect. The first thing to note is that the marker in the fairway that you can see from the tee is actually on the edge of a bunker, fortunately my slice left me well clear of this, but at 370 yards up hill it takes some reaching in 2.
The par 5 13th hole has to be one of the best tee shots in the county, as you stand highly elevated above the fairway, all that goes through your mind is simply ‘I’m going to give this everything!’ Nobody has ever stood on this tee and thought “I’m just going to dink this one down the middle’, and nobody has ever hit a tee shot with 80% power. It’s just one of those holes that you have to give everything to. For the first time today the driver came out of the bag, and boom! Lefty landed slightly left of the fairway in the light rough and I landed just short of the fairway bunker but still on the fairway. There is no football injury or amount of pain that would stop me enjoying this tee shot. Two irons later and we were putting for birdies. A truly brilliant hole.
Sadly at this point I had to concede to my playing partner, as my injury got the better of me, and yes I’ll shut up about that now ed!
As lefty played the final few holes I was able to take in the real beauty of this course. With its mature trees, colourful rough and lush fairways it’s a beautiful place to play golf. The added bonus of blue skies and sunshine made the whole experience one to savour. Technically speaking I had played less shots than lefty which as all golfers know is the aim of the game and therefore claimed the victory! Lefty however challenged me “you have to play all 18 holes to register a score” I took this as no more than sour grapes and declared “no one likes the sore loser Lefty now quit your whining and get the beers in!”. These youngsters really need to be told their place by seniors like us! Now, who wants a Werthers Original?