Tuesday, 28 April 2009

On Saturday 18th April, I made my 2009 debut on the Edwin Watts Amateur in Florida, at one of the newest Floridian courses - Duran Golf Club out on the Space Coast, South of Cocoa Beach. The Tour is a mixed ability event split into different flights and at the moment in football terms I am in the old 4th Division, not sure in the new set up what number this now is, but you can say with conviction I am a Shrewsbury or Darlington at the moment on this tour. But, like my home town football club Wigan Athletic, I have aspirations and total belief that over the next few years I will reach the top flight.

FAILURE does not concern me, not reaching my potential will!

As I had not played for several months following another superb winter back home, I visited my local club here in Orlando on the Thursday before the event - the magnificent Championsgate National Course. Playing with three of our American cousins, I gave them one hell of a beating for Nick and the Boys. Indeed I was at one stage set to break 80 but finished 86 for Gross 84 Net 67… I played as well as I had done for some while, collected 40 bucks and was in fine mood for Saturday.

The Par 3 15th at Championsgate National over a swamp at 170 yards to an island green, from which the approach has to avoid three massive trees protecting the front. I hit a 4 iron left edge and two putt for a 3 which anyone would take at this hole.

The Duran Course is a new highly-rated addition to the Floridian Golf Experience, the clubhouse oozes opulence and class. The course has very much a links feel except it has the usual plethora of Floridian ponds and lakes to supplement the difficulty the constant wind causes as well.

I was paired with father and son, Nat and Lathan Hudson… Son Nat went on to win the flight with (in the conditions) a very impressive 90. Lathan for the music buffs is a Nashville songwriter and Grammy nominated too, who has had songs covered by Tammy Wynette and Elvis Costello to name but two, so I can say the round was fruitful for anecdotes and conversations in respect of his full and bountiful career. In truth my 3rd Place Gross 95 net 78 plus 6 and 3rd place in my flight, would have earned a top 5 place in the next flight up which did please me. I really lost it in the first two holes with a 7 7 start...

We started at the tenth and I drove left into a wasteland like the sahara, followed a trememdous 3 off the tee to the centre of the fairway, approach into the lake , a pitch to 6 inches from the drop zone for a tap in 7. Crap then class in alternating shots that was to be a constant theme on the day, no consistency... On the 11th my 2nd I had my first tribulations in the bunkers. The sand is so much different from the UK and I simply exploded all my shots miles past the flag all day, I had a touch like a baby elephant.

After that I drove immaculately hitting 10 out of 12 fairways and averaged 248 yards, however my iron play was not up to scratch and I wasted numerous opportunities. I putted well and really could have been up with Nat had I started well and course managed a touch better. We were hampered all day by slow play which affected old Lathan more than me and Nat... it really is the bane of golf these days.

Still I had a great day and would rate the course an Eagle, it was an enjoyable round, pleasurable if not exhilarating, and I would certainly return to play socially. I now begin my build up to the next event on 2nd May at Stoneybrook West then the highlight of my trip the Charity Event at Arnie Palmers Bay Hill on 4th May.

Lathan and Nat Hudson

Drive at the Tenth our first, my ball's in all that crap!

The 18th a stereotypical last in Florida - all water left, bite off as much as you can chew. I chicken out and cut very little off. 5 wood, wedge and two putts for a boring par 5.

The par 3 165 yard 12th. I hit a 5 iron left chip on and hole a 30 footer for a par to get my round back on an even keel. Wheels soon come off again though!