MIRACLE on the 17th – A Short COVID Golf Story

18 months ago was the last time I played Golf with my Dad and after this game, it could be 18 months until we play again!

Fortunately, we managed to play just before the most recent lockdown, Lockdown3 that started in early January. Teeing off at 8am, playing the back 9 of the tree-lined, Leighton Buzzard Golf Club. On a chilly and fresh morning, the mix of woodland and parkland ground soft from the recent rain that has soaked through the course over the previous 2 weeks of downpour.

My Dad announces on the 10th tee that we shall be playing matchplay, closely followed by, “and you will be giving me 3 shots.” “Well hang on, I haven’t played since June and that’s my only game last year” I protested. Dad was quick to remind me that my previous handicap before surrendering membership in 2017 was 3, alas he got his way.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that I find myself 2 down to the old boy as we stand on the 17th tee. Although, I wasn’t really bothered, it was great to be out spending the time and talk with my Dad this Christmas. Having not seen any of my family due to the COVID lockdown this was a fortunate safe and legal way to see him and do something we both enjoy.

Emotions aside, this is where our game takes an unexpected turn. The 17th at Leighton Buzzard is 260 yards Par 4, but is tight. You must use an 8 iron of the tee and then wedge on. There is the option to go for the green, which being 2 down I elect. The problem is that anything left will be lost and anything right, drops down a bank which is around a 20ft drop, there is no margin for error.

Looking down the hole shoes how narrow the 17th at Leighton Buzzard GC is

Dad finds the fairway with his little iron and I pull out the hybrid. Unfortunately, I push it ever so slightly, and the ball rolls halfway down the right-hand bank, green high.

The relentless old boy hits a full wedge which lands 3 feet right of the hole and spins due to the delightful little draw he’s manufactured and ends 1 foot away. Instead of “shaking hands/ accepting defeat from 2 meters” I tell him that I will play my ball. He laughs, picks up his gimmie birdie and stands on the edge of the green, peering down towards me, halfway down the bank.

I have a little jump up to check where the hole is because you cannot see the flag from down there and I pull out the 58 degree. A big swing and a flop and the ball goes up and I notice, it looks pretty good, certainly in line with the flag. CRACK! I hear the ball strike the flag! “YOU ARE JOKING” I hear the old boy shout, and as I look at him on the edge of the green, his hands have flown to behind his head. The flop has bounced perfectly into the hole, and we have an eagle. The match continues.

I will save the details of 18, but the old boy is now rattled and is on the green putting for bogey. That won’t be enough old boy, and we have a surprising yet honourable half.

The match didn’t really matter, we had a lovely time together, it was fantastic to catch up with him and order a sausage roll from the half-way hut again. A throwback, a blessing and a great golfing story to come out the back of it

Matt Tizzard




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