With four boys; the Holland house is a highly competitive environment with many competitions playing out, some obvious and apparent and others more oblique. Career-wise, I have already ceded of course – as people who read this blog or caught my Edinburgh show will understand.
And it’s going the same way with sport as well. Even Paddy can thrash me at table tennis nowadays and so naturally as a proud dad, I simply refuse to play. It’s the only way I can get enjoyment from the game; seeing their disappointment which might sound hollow but there we are.
But I still fancy my chances on the golf course…
Sandown Park in Esher is famous for its race course and less famed for its golf course including a 9 hole par three course that features very prominently in the Holland household.
At their primary school, I founded a golf competition which climaxed with a round on the par 27 track for an oversized trophy. Tom won the inaugural event with 36 shots and a Holland course record which remained for a few years until Sam and Harry teed it up in their final year at primary school. Harry won with 32 shots, Sam hit 38 for second.
And this number (32) remains the Holland low score. Of late, Harry and I have been playing regularly, desperate to lower it – itself an embarrassing feat for me given this a total set when Harry was 11.
But despite our best efforts… We both matched the total and we both have had putts for 31 but missed and 32 remained.
Over Christmas, having Tom home, I enjoyed explaining that Harry’s record remains – a fully four shots better that his 36.
Gauntlet accepted, all three of us set off down the A3. Because, Tom has been busy making and/or promoting movies, on the way, I suggested that he shouldn’t expect too much of himself. After all, golf is the hardest game of them all.
‘Harry and I are match fit. We’re in the zone, so let us go for 31. You just think about breaking 40. That would be a good score for you now.’
And here now, I am happy to report that we have a new record of 31 shots – 4 over par of 27.
And naturally, you will want to know who holds this illustrious score?
Has Harry finally bettered the score he shot 7 years ago.
Have I finally shown up and put my boys in their place.
Or has Tom and his super-hero rich vein of form and good fortune bloody well continued?
Anyone who has read Eclipsed will know the fateful nature of my life and thereby will know the answer and no doubt will be delighted for him…