So here we are into 2014 already. Doesn't time fly when you're having fun? Or, in my case, trying to have fun despite the circumstances. It's been a testing time since the middle of December, upheaval on the work front casting a shadow over longer term plans but, thankfully, the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train and I am now able to look forward to what 2014 has in store as a golfing year.
2013 certainly became a year to remember on the golf front - as I previously wrote back in October, there were plenty of highlights that will live long in the memory (Royal Birkdale, Woodhall Spa & La Cala to name three) so I felt that the time was right, now my mind is free of work-related concerns, to detail what golf I currently have to look forward to in 2014.
On the basis that I'm not going to get an opportunity to attend (let alone play in) the Masters this year, I am declaring that my proper golfing year will kick off in May - anything that takes place between now & then is just preparation. At the time of writing, the key event in May is the Men's Invitation competition at Royal Birkdale which, for reasons I will outline shortly, I am extremely pleased to see has been brought forward a couple of weeks. It's been three years since Mark & I actually took part in the competition proper, 2013's administrative cock-up being a particular low point, but I am looking forward to the annual pilgrimage, regardless of how well we play in the comp (or, indeed, if we even get a place sorted!). We are yet to iron out the details but I am sure we will source at least one additional round whilst up north to make a trip of it.
This is the big one. Two weeks after the Birkdale trip, I am going to be taking on the single most ridiculous golfing challenge I have ever attempted, or will ever attempt. Along with five other liked-minded imbeciles, we will be looking to set a Guinness World Record for the most golf holes completed in 24 hours, whilst simultaneously raising funds for the On Course Foundation, an amazing charity that helps, through training & work experience placements, wounded ex-services personnel find new careers in the golf industry. We'll be in two teams - myself & two others at Colmworth & North Beds GC and the other three at Mid Sussex GC - playing all day & through the night to attempt, between us, to complete 360 holes in 24 hours. It's a massive ask, physically & mentally, but I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to making the attempt & raising money along the way. More details about this absurd challenge to follow in due course.
Following on from 2012's Tweet Golf Cup trip, and last year's trundle up to Lincolnshire to take on Woodhall Spa, it would be rude not to continue the 'tradition' and set aside a long weekend to golf in another part of the country. There have been a number of venue conversations over the last few weeks, ranging from the achievable (Kent, Norfolk, Devon) to the ambitious (France, Ireland) to the downright ridiculous (Bulgaria, Turkey). After much debate & discussion, ending with the understanding that I was right all along, it looks very much like we're going to make our way to the Garden of England to play Dale Hill & Chart Hills, together with (potentially), Royal Cinque Ports or Prince's
The Harey Cup will be making its seventh annual running and, after sinking the winning putt at La Cala in 2013, it would be a great shame if I wasn't involved this time around. The venue is still tbc, with the current wooden spoon holder Tom Walker in charge of organising, so petitions for suitable locations will be kicking off shortly. Although I was a strong (some might say ardent) supporter of La Cala as the 2013 venue, I am less fussy about where we go in 2014. Given the importance of good weather (as much as that can be guaranteed), I think the UK & Ireland are basically out of the equation already and, due to the time of year, around the Med is generally the best option. I'm not much of a gambling man but I would venture that Portugal is a decent bet although you could never rule out another Spanish sojourn. We shall see what Mr Walker has in store for us over the coming weeks.
So there we are. As January creeps to a close, the golfing plans for 2014 are starting to take shape. I am hopeful that this itinerary will change as the year progresses and I will be sure to document it as and when it happens
I am the Part-Time Golfer