First published on the Golf Monthly website on Thursday 6th August 2009
This week Fergus considers an imminent arrival and its potential impact on his exact handicap.
The countdown is on in the Bisset household. In just over a week Jessie (wife) is due to produce baby Bisset number two. I must admit to being a little bit excited, particularly as I think it could well help my ailing golf game.
Before Flora (first daughter) was born there were troops of doom-mongers who cheerily informed me that my golf would inevitably suffer as the result of becoming a dad – sleepless nights, endless worry, general exhaustion etc… Well, in the year after Florrie came along my handicap went down from 3 to 1 – clearly “the nappy factor” in full effect. I put it down to golf being put in perspective – its lack of importance in the grand scheme of things.
However over the last couple of years, as Flora has grown up, my golf has gone backwards. I can’t think of a reason for this other than that “the nappy factor” must have worn off. I’ve steadily forgotten about golf’s relative insignificance and have been attaching too much importance to my performance on the links. The pressure has become too intense and I crumble like a cheap biscuit every time I get a card in my hand.
So, surely what my game needs is another shot in the arm in the form of an infant in the house. The arrival of a new, screaming, poo-machine will undoubtedly return golf to being a small sideshow in the strange carnival of my life. My nervous energies will be focused elsewhere, I’ll be able to play golf free of stress and my scores will improve… Either that or I’ll be basically confined to barracks for the next six months and will barely have time to get a game. Either way, my handicap will have to stop going up.
The timing of this new arrival is not brilliant – right in the middle of the golf season. Flora was born at the perfect point – on 30th December. Not only well away from the golf season but also in the winter break of the Alliance. I missed the New Year club roll-up but that was about it.
In fact, I’m currently enduring a little of what Ross Fisher must have felt at Turnberry this July as he prepared to potentially abandon his Open challenge to attend the birth of his first child. Saturday is the men’s 36-hole Open at Banchory and I’m in to play at 9.56. I can just envisage myself endlessly checking my phone (which will of course be on silent), either worried about being dragged off the course if I’m two-under-par or anxious to be dragged off the course if I’m five-over.