Saturday, 28 January 2012

First Practice Round

With 5 months left until the 1-Day, 10-Round Challenge, I thought it might be wise to have a practice round to gauge a) how fast I can play a round and b) how far, and how much of climb, a single round is. So my alarm got me up at 7am on Saturday and I packed my pencil bag and headed to the course.

It was -1'C (30' F) when I arrived at the course and the landscape was glistening with the morning frost. Luckily I was wrapped up with long-johns, under-armour and enough material to kit out a 7-aside rugby team. I headed to the first tee, to discover that I was not the first group off. In fact, I was 4th! I under-estimated the bravery of the older members, who were equally wrapped up and ready to battle the cold. Being the 4th group off could be a problem in terms of trying to play as fast possible, so I decided to walk out onto the course and start mid-way round.

This was the view from the 2nd tee, with some brave older members setting out for the day
I arrived at the 8th tee about 8.30am, took a couple of practice swings then headed off. Using the Runkeeper app on my phone, I am able to track distances, pace, elevation and map my activity. So I clicked start on the app, and sent a solid drive down the 8th hole. 

My tactics were to keep a brisk walk going down each hole, and with only 6 clubs in my bag, select the club for my next shot well in advance, so I could just drop my bag, hit and keep going. The tactic was working well early and the only time-delaying issue seemed to be trying to get tees into the ground due to the frost. After the first hole, I also decided that dropping my bag next to the green was again wasting time that I may need to play 10 rounds in sunlight on June 27th. So I decided to keep my bag on whilst I putt, this turned out to probably be the best time-saving tactic on the day.

The only company I had for most of the round was the local deer
The Runkeeper app updated me each mile as to how my pace was going and I was keeping to a 16/17-min mile pace over the first couple of miles. With winter greens in affect, I was able to play the course slightly shorter than normal and it was possibly playing slightly easier. 

This photo gives you a good idea of the temperature with the frost on the ground. This is how close my approach finished on the par-5 15th hole. Would have been nice to have my first albatross!
I finished the 18th hole (my 11th hole) after 48 minutes and with a poorly played/rushed second shot, I bogeyed to sit at 1-over par after 11. Much played than I expect seen as my pre-shot routine involved throwing my bag to ground, taking a deep breath and hitting in the general direction I was headed.

I headed back to the 1st hole, where a couple of gents let me play in front of them (probably because of the pace with which I walked up to them from the 18th green). I holed a 40 foot putt on the 1st and headed down the second thinking "holing putts is a great way to save time, I should try that more!"

I played the next 6 holes, and finished my practice round on the 7th green. 75 minutes 25 seconds and 74 shots. Both numbers were a lot lower than anticipated, but encouraging nonetheless.

This is the summary of the round via the Runkeeper iPhone app.

Interestingly, the round measured 4.5 miles. Although that is slightly skewed due to the winter greens (which tend to be short of the normal greens). Also, the elevation climb was 483 feet, which means on the day in June, I will be climbing 4,830 feet. That is higher than Ben Nevis?!

Overall, a good start to the challenge though and certainly gave me confidence. On the day I will have to play 10 rounds in approximately 18 hours of sunlight. So I will need to be playing each round in approximately 1.75 hours (including any stops, meals etc). Still going to be a massive challenge, but today was a good practice-run.

Saying that, I am not sure I fancy playing 9 more rounds today...?

No comments:

Post a Comment