A couple of Saturdays ago I joined my brother-in-law Rob for a round of 18 at Wagner’s Golf Academy in Durbanville, originally a driving range only operation, but now expanded with a little mashie course on the side, perfect to polish one’s short game in other words.

Now I have never been on a mashie course before, and what I knew about the term “mashie course” was pretty dangerous – it’s just a small little golf course isn’t it? So on arrival, Rob ordered himself some breakfast while I grabbed a bucket of balls for the driving range, intent on shaking loose the cobwebs seeing as I haven’t swung a golf club for well over a year now! Anyway, armed with the knowledge of “small golf course”, I practiced with a club range from my five iron through to the nine iron, actually firing off plenty of decent strokes, so much so that I walked back to Rob pretty chuffed with my pre-game form!

Of course, it was at this point he presented the score card which detailed the holes’ lengths – most of which fall well under 100 metres, meaning that had I actually wanted to practice properly, I should only have broken out my pitching wedge – because that and your putter are basically the only clubs you’ll be needing on the course!!

Playing 18 holes is pretty cheap, I think it cost me R70, plus a little extra because I needed to buy balls seeing as my bag was empty, and the playtime ended up being a couple of hours, though that said we were stuck for a bit behind a slow moving group and of course had to make a half way stop for that obligatory beer!

The course for the most part is in pretty good nick, only one or two of the greens aren’t up to scratch, it’s fairly accessible and provides a nice stroll around the nine holes (different tee off spots make up the 18 count), and there are a couple of nasty obstructions that have been planted in your way to make things tricky, from bunkers, ditches, trees, shrubbery, right through to low overhanging power lines on the eighteenth!

It turns out that Rob is actually fairly decent with the clubs, and he ended up with some fantastic shots and a good score, while I on the other hand proved once again that apart from hitting balls a fair distance (which I demonstrated time and time again), there really is little else I can actually do right! (Well, my putting wasn’t all that bad, now that I think about it.)

I struggled the whole way through, for the most part using far too much power on each and every stroke, resulting in numerous lost balls (on a mashie course!?!) and lots of scavenging trips down into the river for Rob (seeing as he is so eager). In other words, if it wasn’t for the shot limiting “ring” system, my scorecard would have looked pretty bleak.

Anyway, at the end of the day though, I didn’t hit any cars, thoroughly enjoyed the outing, and have decided that I now need to practice along the side of the house before I attempt it again – because make no mistake, it really was THAT lekker an outing! :)

(Besides, can’t have the brother-in-law thinking that he is better than me and all that… :P)