First published on the Golf Monthly website on Thursday 14th December 2006
There are no more Alliance competitions in 2006 so Fergus has had some time to reflect on a few wider life-issues and a significant imminent event.
No competitive golf for me this week as the Alliance moves into the off-season. Someone told me at Cruden Bay that this brief interval was the, “winter break.” So the last couple of months haven’t been winter? Crikey. When I was chapping it round my frozen home course to bullet-proof winter greens last Saturday, that was autumn? The Alliance cavalcade makes its first stop of 2007 at Craibstone on January 15 where I’ll no doubt be enjoying balmy spring sunshine. The daffodils will be in bloom and the fields full of newborn lambs. I fear it’s unlikely so I’ve been attempting to negotiate with Stewart for a bulk discount on hand-warmers. He’s having none of it at the moment – probably because he realises the potential impact on our £5 matches.
The festive season will mark an important watershed in my golfing life. My wife Jessie is expecting a baby and it’s due on 30 December. I haven’t mentioned it before, principally because I’ve been in denial about the whole event. But, as the big day approaches I’m having to face up to the prospect that golf might have to take a back seat for the next few months. Having been lectured by various people on the subject of fatherhood I’m still uncertain as to how my exact handicap will be affected.
Of course the obvious stance and the one I’ve heard from the majority of advisors is: a little Bisset will be solely detrimental to your game. “No more sneaky Sunday rounds or trips to the driving range.” “You’ll be so tired you’ll barely be able to hold a club, let alone make a birdie.” “You’ll be up to your oxters in dirty nappies, there’ll be no time to catch a few holes of the Honda Classic or read a chapter of Bob Rotella.” It’s probably true; my priorities are bound to change. I know that more of my spare time will be occupied with trips to Mothercare and enduring visits from cooing relatives. But, I think the harbingers of doom are failing to consider the bigger picture.
One of the most sage comments on golf and fatherhood came from a friend of mine who has a young son. His view is that becoming a dad changes your perspective and makes you a more rounded and rational human being. He believes he’s now far more philosophical about the odd missed putt or errant drive. In the grander scheme of things poor golf seems to matter less. I think this is a far more appealing and positive angle of approach. As I’ve alluded to in previous blogs, a major obstacle to my improvement is temperament. If I can calm down a tad then maybe I could knock a couple of shots off each round. A baby could be the trigger that changes me from an irritable and impatient 3 handicapper to a calm and considered scratch golfer. Yes, I’ve convinced myself. This could be the missing ingredient – a fifteenth club in the bag. I can’t wait for New Year.