Callen’s Column: Playing the Par


By Ian Callen

For golfers playing the RACV’s Par 4 5th, there’s two giant gums you need to be aware of. They are the fairway guardians, one on the left, the other to the right and for as long as they stand, they’ll repel the wayward.

So it’s recommended that you hit straight and slightly to the right in order to avoid a strategically placed bunker and to create a better line to the green at the Ryans Road right angle.

It’s worth noting that by the time you pick your ball from the bottom of the cup it has journeyed 350 metres; for the ladies they have been given a 9 metres concession. A bit harsh considering most men struggle to reach the putting surface in regulation (two shots).

Even the most powerful who’ve plateaued their ball to the area on the right of the sand pit or beyond, cannot be certain their second shot will hold the putting surface. There are a variety of gradients that encourage the golf ball to roll, and often they do, into an area some describe as the “dry moat”.

Accompanying me on this hole last week was right hander Kennith Emslie, a well liked Aberdonian who has adapted a rather large left to right draw in his game to be playing off the respectable handicap of 17.

As Kennith addresses his ball it has become customary for him to perform an unusual flexing ritual and for those who play regularly with the Scotsman, they’ll say it’s a given that his ball will fly towards the gum on the left like a swooping plover before banking sharply to the right to land safely in the fairway.

On this day however, his Titliest ventured too close to the guardian and was abruptly slapped to ground.

Kennith found his ball just inside the out of bounds line beside the 6th fairway but his direct access to the green was blocked by a clump of large gums. Given his slice he could have risked it all by flying one down the sixth to bring it back into play or even onto the green and it would have been magnificent to watch.

But not this day, I think Kennith considered himself lucky to be playing a second. So he looked back to the fairway proper, chose an iron and went diagonally across between the gums and the bunker.

This gave him a pitching wedge to the pin if he dared but unfortunately, it was located on the highest point of the green and I think Ken could see himself playing a 4th from somewhere deep in the moat below the green. So he turned his attention to the lower section of the putting surface where his ball virtually plugged dead some 20 feet short of the pin.

Apart from that wayward drive, Kennith, to his credit, had recovered well and I think he was more than happy to be walking towards next week’s Par 4, 6th, “The Junction”, having taken 2 stableford points from the Ryan’s Road right angle.

I must admit, as Kennith lined up his Par opportunity I thought to myself that he’d have about as much chance of holing the putt as his beloved “Dons” (Aberdeeen not Essendon) might have of winning the title.

Then I remembered that under Alex Ferguson Aberdeen had done exactly that and two European Trophies to boot. Maybe next time Kennith!

Congratulations to last weeks Competition winners:

Tuesday; Bruce Thomas

Wednesday; Bidelia Nolan

Thursday; Laurie Tormey.

Saturday; Graham Cosham