We were playing at Salt Creek Golf Links, near Warkworth. It is a par 64, with a number of interesting, short holes, with Salt Creek meandering through it. Having beaten me our last couple of outings, Spiros was content to accept a stroke on all the par fours and fives, which amounted to nine.
He promptly went out and shot 33 on the front with nothing worse than a four on his card. This is a guy who claims a sixteen handicap. I, on the other hand, couldn't piddle a drop on or around the greens and found myself five down after nine.
Fortunately for me, Spiros tallied up his score after nine. That proved to be a little more than he could comfortably handle. After all, the awareness of a good round in progress can really weigh a man down. Thanks to a couple of doubles by Spiros, and a couple of birdies by me, we arrived at sixteen with Spiros now only one up.
Spiros then made a par four on the tricky sixteenth, where the creek comes in to play off the tee and on the approach. He then made another par on seventeen and beat me two and one. Spiros had ballooned to 42 on the back, but still shot 75 in cold weather on greens that hadn't been cut, or the pins changed, for a couple of weeks. Not bad for a sixteen handicapper.
Spiros feels that playing me has been good for his game. He loves the competition. I must admit that having to play my absolute best to try to beat him is good for me as well. That's what makes this game so great. Anyone can have a good match with anyone else, provided you get the strokes right. Spiros thinks, if I am willing to continue to let him beat me next year, he can get down to a ten, or twelve.
Every round you learn something. I learned that Spiros does not need nine strokes to beat my sorry you-know-what. I also learned that Spiros really enjoys beating me like a drum. But, most importantly, I learned, once again, that you can get whipped and still have fun, provided it's close.
Next time, Spiros. Next time I'll be ready.