First published on the Golf Monthly website on Friday 3rd December 2010
This weather really is interminable.
If they feel anything like me, golf lovers up and down the country must be on the verge of insanity. Speaking to Jezz Ellwood a couple of days ago he asked, “Have you turned into Jack Nicholson yet?” I chuckled. Though going into our ninth snowbound day, I am slightly worried I may be approaching the realm of the unhinged.
Actually, our house does feel a little like The Overlook Hotel at the moment. Ok, a bit smaller and a touch less haunted, but totally encrusted with snow and occupied by: a mentally fragile writer, a kind and patient mother and their children. Thankfully I haven’t yet begun conversations with an invisible barman beside our drinks table. Although yesterday I did find myself re-watching the preliminary qualifying of a second division ski jumping event from Finland. That’s not quite right.
The last time I left the house was to go and play golf on Wednesday November 24th. On that outing I technically won the Alliance. Well, I didn’t really because when we got to Newburgh we found the Alliance had been cancelled. A howling snowstorm was blowing through and, although the winter course was open, a good inch of snow had accumulated across the fairways.
We sat and had a bacon roll as we pondered our next move. There was a motion to go out and have a bat, “just for fun.” To be honest, the conditions looked pretty prohibitive if the objective was fun. But, I consented anyway.
The field for this sub-Alliance mini-tournament ended up being fairly small. From the usual 110 participants we were down to just three. They were: my usual playing partner Scott, a nice chap from Aboyne called Alistair and me. We battled up the first against a gruesomely cold and wet wind but, by the time we reached the second tee, the snow had stopped and the temperature had started to rise. After three holes the sun came out and we played the next 13 in lovely conditions. The last couple were completed in another blizzard, but we felt extremely smug to have braved the elements initially to enjoy a couple of hours of golf with the sun on our backs. You’re always best to give it a go.
Alistair didn’t count his score and I posted a 68 to beat Scott by two. That meant I recorded the best round of the day at Newburgh. On Thursday morning I considered sending my own little tournament report in to the Press and Journal newspaper. It would have read something like:
Fergus Bisset, a 2 handicapper from Banchory, defeated the elements to secure a memorable victory at Newburgh on Ythan Golf Club yesterday.
Bisset fired an impressive 68 in horrendous wintry conditions to beat a strong field that included Northern Open runner-up Scott Larkin.
Bisset opened with a double-bogey six but struck back with a birdie at the par-5 third then consecutive twos on the fourth and fifth.
It was Larkin who emerged as Bisset’s closest challenger, but the Golf Monthly writer was able to keep his nose in front of the +3 handicapper with further birdies at the 10th and 15th.
“I’m delighted to win,” said Bisset. “All the hard work has finally paid off.”
Larkin, although disappointed, was philosophical about his runner’s up finish.
“I played some good stuff,” he said. “Fergus was obviously just in a different league today.”
Right that’s it, I have to get out of the house. I’m breaking out to go skiing or something.