Wednesday, 4 March 2009

For someone who appears outwardly confident, I certainly battle the demons of insecurity.

Nowhere is this more evident than on the golf course, where negative thoughts and a lack of confidence are my constant companions.

This lack of confidence contrasts starkly to some of my golfing mates. When I resided in Gore, I played a fair bit of golf with former Southland No. 1 Peter Brinsdon. Now there’s a man who doesn’t lack confidence. And nor should he on a plus 1.5 handicap. I even had the good fortune to mark his card when he set the current course record of 63 (eight under par).

But of all the blokes I’ve played golf with, none comes within a bull’s roar of Big Don Agnew when it comes to self-belief on a golf course. If Tiger Woods believes he can make any shot, Big Don goes one better. He knows he can make any shot.

I’m always reminded of Big Don at this time of year because for many years we played as partners at Gore’s Festival Classic.

Big Don’s tales of his sporting prowess are legend. If it’s not about the time he hit Richard Hadlee for four or the occasion he stood up Brian McKechnie while scoring a brilliant intercept try, then it’s about the day he put one around David Fagan in a shearing shed somewhere up north!

Big Don might or might not read this. We’re not playing together this weekend because he is imparting some of his bounteous knowledge about post-drivers to farmers at the Dargaville Field days in Northland.

If you think I’ve been a bit tough on him, then you’re right. I’m still sore at losing $100 to him, in a head-to-head battle, on our Australian golf tour last year. In all the years we played, I’d never known him to use anything but driver, always aggressively and always waywardly, off the tee.

When our game in Australia came down to the crunch 18th hole, my only chance of hauling in his two-shot lead was his errant driver. So what does Big Don do?

For the first time in his life he pulls out a 5-iron and meekly pats the ball 150 metres up the middle of the fairway. Game, set and match and yet another humiliation on a golf course for yours truly!

I wonder if another awaits this weekend?


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