I took up golf in mid 2013 at the age of 53 after hitting some balls on a driving range in La Manga. I was instantly hooked.
This was my third trip to La Manga with my friends Gez and Mike Foster. We were there to get some tennis coaching, tennis being our mutual active sport for the previous 5 years.
On return to the UK I spent a few evenings every week at the local pitch and putt with Mike.
Then at weekends the 3 of us progressed to the nearest municipal course at Royal Crook.
The course is called Beckside and when we were playing there cost a tenner for a round. Clubs and bags were available to borrow, which I did initially, and a selection of used golf balls could be bought for nothing.
It’s essentially a 9 hole course, but is stretched to 18 holes by using different tee boxes for the back 9. Coming in at 4,102 yards, this par 63 course features plenty of hill and a water feature. Or two water features if it’s been raining heavily and the third fairway gets flooded.
Situated between Windermere and Kendal, the course offers a great way to get into golf without having to join a club. If you play, be prepared for a 4 hour round though as the course naturally attracts beginners.
Beckside Golfing Club
Cumbria LA8 8LE
Tel: 01539 821415
Stop at the farm and pay your tenner(s) before the mile or so drive to the course itself.
It’s worth point out at this point that Mike had previously been a member of our local club Ulverston for around 10 years, and Gez had played for a couple of years as a junior at the same club.
I however, was a total novice, but I was a competentent tennis player, so golf should be reasonably easy to transition to (in my head).
The reality proved to be very different and I constantly struggled to get the ball in the air. On the uphill part 4 second hole, this was an issue as there’s about 4 yards of cabbage in front of the tee. I’d frequently have already taken 6 shots by the time I got to the fairway.
The tenth goes over a lake, requiring a carry of about 180 yards. That was impossible for me so I had to go around the lake not over it.
Early scores were in the 120’s
I bought a set of Mizuno irons and a carry bag of a friends dad for £100. The irons had been shortened and lengthened a few times as they’d passed between family members. My putter was a rusty mallet, borrowed from Mike. I didn’t own a driver or any woods.
The first real golf course that I ever “played” was Dunnerholme – https://www.facebook.com/dunnerholme/
Whilst having a pint one evening in a local pub I met a bloke called Pete who I vaguely knew and we got chatting about golf and he invited me to play Dunnerhole in a few days time.
Armed with my set of irons and little else, the experienc was somewhat chastening as I struggled round 10 holes before Pete kindly suggested an early lunch.
Over the next few months, I hacked my way around Royal Crook mabe a dozen more times, but growing tired of the repetition, myself and Gez decided to masquarade as golfers and try our luck at Grange over Sands Golf Club as visitors.
Grange is a largely flat, tree lined parkland course which suffers from flooding at high tide.
We somehow managed to pay around £16 a round depending on who was in the pro shop and my scores here also tended to be in the 120’s.
Yes, I was a terrible golfer.