Park Life – Mini Tournament at Pickala Golf Club

This week was another special week for me on the golf course. As my friends and I assessed our bookings for the week we realised that we were top heavy on Park golf course so we decided to make a small tournament on that track.

The aim was to make golf fun, as it always is, and to mix it up we decided to make a four round tournament on the course from different tees each round.

We started from the front and worked our way back, starting on the 5000 meter red tees, back to the blues at 5400, yellow at 6000 meters on the penultimate day and the Sunday round would be on the LET course. The ladies played here only a couple of weeks ago, read more about the LET Golf experience here.

As our rounds coincided with the Scottish Open, our our Golf GameBook rounds were named accordingly. What would our mini tournament bring, how would we/I play? The games followed on from a round the previous day (it would be 5 days in a row) were I said that I may well “retire” or at least stop playing for a while. I had been playing really badly.

Round 1 – Red tees (5000 meters / 5400 yards)

Day 1, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the best round of the four. Playing from forward tees brings new challenges and it is not always driver all the way if you want to eliminate some of the dangers.

Of course, it means that you are playing short irons into most of the holes and par 5s are easily reachable in two – but you still need to score.

And your handicap is adjusted accordingly. For me this meant that I had to give a shot back to the course. Probably the first time ever.

I still managed to have a double bogey and threw in a couple of three putts, but I shot the best round of my life.

After starting with 2 three putts it was pretty steady after the 2nd hole – I didn’t really hit into too much trouble. An inward 31 sealed the round that was probably better than a scratch 70 I had a few weeks prior from the yellow tees.

Score: 67 gross / 68 nett / 40 points

Round 2 – Blue tees (5400 meters / 5900 yards)

Comparing to the obvious advantages of the red tees the blues have about 4 holes where there is a big advantage over the yellow tees. So the expectations compared to the previous day pretty low I was still hoping to get close to par from the blue tees.

The advantage again is with the par 5s and perhaps shorter par 3s as three of them are normally mid to long irons.

I feel I played a lot better in this round. Although, as with the whole week, I was unsure of where my driver was going, I kept the ball, mostly, in play and was very steady. No doubles is always a bonus.

Score: 73 gross / 72 nett / 36 points

Round 3 – Yellow tees (6000 meters / 6600 yards)

Onto the yellow tees, my normal tee, and the winds have been getting progressively stronger and my handicap was been getting progressively lower (albeit by points).

In previous rounds, there was a bit of tactical thinking behind the tee shots. These tactics were not so much in place during the yellow tee round.

Obviously approach shots were from a greater distance, but from the tee it is possible to hit more freely.

I started with a double bogey on the short par5 and I didn’t really recover, I didn’t play as well (to be expected) but I still feel that I gave too many shots away..

So a few over par, but within a buffer that makes it a decent round. Albeit there was another disappointing end to the round with a bogey on the last, as it was the previous day and it was to be on the final day.

Score: 77 gross / 74 nett / 34 points

Round 4 – LET tees (6000 meters / 6600 yards)

The final day took place from the LET tees, there was a tournament here a wee while ago if you didn’t realise, read more here. The differences between LET and the normal yellow tee course are highlighted in LET Experience – PARK.

As described, the back tees open up the course a bit, and although you are approaching from further back, the white tees that were selected actually only mean to a couple of clubs distance.

There were quite a few f*ck ups in this round, as there were with other rounds, but it was fairly steady. I hit a couple of really bad drives that cost me shots. I didn’t putt particularly well either, but another 34 points in the bag.

Score: 77 gross / 74 nett / 34 points


It was great to emulate a proper tournament, albeit there was no real “competition” and certainly no prize money at stake.

I managed to keep the stableford score to level par over four rounds that I was pleased with. Given what a handicap index is and the actual expected number of rounds that you play to it I was happy to keep it together over the week.

With the exception of several hiccups it was quite boring golf. Lots of pars, some fireworks on the first day and a limited number of total disasters.


The tournament comprised of several players but only two of us completed all four rounds. Did I win? It depends whether you allow mulligans or not. I took none – I never do unless I have been having a shit-show and am not enjoying the round.

Is it comparable to the Ladies? I wrote about Is Ladies Professional Golf Relatable from experiences caddying in the LET tour event held at my golf club recently. My views have not changed.

I would not have made the cut on the final day, the only real comparison (same tees) I would have been plum last. What I did realise though was that we did hit the same yardage from the tee, if not further, than the ladies I witnessed in person and probably even one club less for the irons. It, of course, was in different conditions.

Overall, I was steady and didn’t get into too much trouble. I had quite a few bad misses and hit plenty of duff shots over the four days. However I managed to hold it together pretty well and managed to bring my rolling averages for ten and twenty rounds under 80 which was a goal of mine for the season. I had been there before but a series of really bad rounds pushed the averages back up again.

Maybe my J6 – a version of the Tiger 5 performance measurements are too strict. I started tracking these stats this year when I was a five handicap index. My index dropped by a whole shot after a 70 from the yellows on Park last month – are my expectations too high? I would like to thank Jon Sherman, Lou Stagner, Mark Crossfield and Kent Osborne for keeping me somewhat in check.

It was a fun week and it hopefully gave me enough practice on the course from the Senior Open that takes place this week.