Updated: May 3, 2021
At last! The quest to play the top 100 courses in England has resumed post-Covid lockdown.
Thus, fizz flowed from the balcony of the Blackmoor clubhouse.
Not that it was meant to but the leg of my pal, who has recently had a hip replacement, gave way as he stood up after lunch, prompting him to fall backwards and tip up the Diet Cokes etc of lady members at an adjacent table.
Fortunately, Blackmoor maintained its reputation as an exceptionally friendly club, with the onlookers more concerned with my mate's welfare than their deposited refreshments.
It was an over-exciting end to a splendid pre-match meal during which we had garnered concern at the way in which group after group had seen shots into the 18th green fall back down its slope.
Four hours later when we made the same approach, we proved that the repeated viewings had taught us precisely nothing as we mimicked what we had witnessed..
Anyway, I am glad to say my pal, scarred on one hip and now bruised on the other, managed to play full part enjoying this cracking course with another mate and me.
Blackmoor, designed by the genius Harry Colt, is not long but can be devilish – particularly its intricate green complexes which need to be mastered for good scores to be posted.
Considering the lack of rain over recent weeks, it was in prime condition. The greens may have been tricky but were smooth and the fairways in better shape than I had expected for the end of a very dry April.
On a benign day, good tee shots brought opportunities but approaches required pinpoint accuracy and those whose eyes became a bit too wide with excitement usually paid for their greed by seeing the ball slide off greens into testing bunkers or worse.
The holes which demand most care are the par threes.
The sixth must be one of the most demanding stroke-index 15s in the country – almost 200 yards up a steepish hill to a layered green. I took driver and came up short while my compardres found their balls slipping down either side to be confronted by brutal chips..
The ninth is another belting short hole, demanding a tee-shot which is guided over heather, between trees, around bunkers and on to another undulating green. Not one which I conquered.
The toughest and most fun par four, in my opinion, was the fifth which requires a straight, long tee shot before a sharp turn right and mid-iron over a bush into the narrow entrance of a green which has heather on either side.
Find the latter and I can testify that there is no way of chipping near to the flag.
Because we were playing springtime, we did not find Blackmoor’s purple stuff at its most fiendish.
I suspect that in a couple of months, the course might be a much more difficult proposition.
That’s not to say, we defeated it but we did have most enjoyable and very competitive rounds.
Indeed, thankfully, the day’s only debacle came on the clubhouse balcony.
Date: April 27, 2021