Lockdown has presented me with all manner of unusual and surprising opportunities to try new things. When your routine has been shelved because of the limitations placed on you – for the most sensible of reasons – then it does force you to look at new ways at making the best of the situation, especially if you are fortunate enough to be able to juggle the requirements of work and home a little.
So, no sooner after having discovered a real enjoyment of cycling, I’ve also found another pastime that I could really get into: golf.
With the UK government relaxing certain areas of the lockdown rules, golf was one of the first activities that became available again. So when I was asked by a friend if I might like the opportunity of bashing a few balls in a generally forward direction, I jumped at the chance.
Golf has come a long way since I last attempted it. We had a municipal nine hole pitch and putt course in my home town – you could just rock up, slap down your cash, and be handed a battered old putter and a seven iron. If we were lucky, and the weather was kind, we could spend a very pleasant couple of hours in the sun with the attempt at serious play usually lasting to about the fourth hole before things got a little more slapdash, with people patting their pockets for spare balls to replace the ones that had launched perpendicularly into the trees.
This time, though, we started with a stint on the driving range, with a bucket of balls, and a few hours to spare. I think I could get to enjoy this. Hitting balls time and again, whilst putting the world to rights, was hugely enjoyable. Whether this develops into plus-fours, golf buggies and knitted apparel is another matter, but I did get huge satisfaction in reminding myself how to swing a club as close to properly as I could manage, and from the satisfying thwack of club on ball when I got everything right. Tracking cameras followed the ball, and reported on how far it had gone, and in what direction… and then I had the task of trying to replicate my successes, such as they were.
Have you found any silver linings to the strangeness of the last couple of months? I haven’t tried the bread-making and banana loaves yet, though I know plenty of people who have. I suppose there’s every chance that I don’t pick up a golf club for another couple of decades, but you never know – and at the very least, just switching off the brain for a couple of hours did me the power of good, and I got back to work with a spring in my step. Though that could’ve been the coffee, admittedly.