Get into the swing of things at Ally Pally
PUBLISHED: 14:56 15 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:04 07 September 2010
When I told my flatmates that I was playing golf with the Mayor of Haringey I was met with a chorus of derision
When I told my flatmates that I was playing golf with the Mayor of Haringey I was met with a chorus of derision.
Well they knew that my only previous encounter with the sport was as a teenager - how was I going to handle a serious round?
The beauty of the Alexandra Park course is that, while being a beautiful green arena with rolling hills and shady follies, it is a course that welcomes beginners.
The pitch and putt course has a mercifully short distance between the tee and the green, which allows all-comers to get involved.
With a blazing hot weekend in prospect, the Ham&High Broadway organised a golf 'friendly' between the Mayor of Haringey, Sheik Thompson, and the chairman and chairwoman of two residents' associations - Kit Greveson and Sue Hessel.
At the small clubhouse - more of a hut renting out golf clubs and balls - various parents were assembled with their children, emphasising the true family nature of the venue.
After the flurry of activity that followed the Mayor's arrival in full regalia, shadowed by a film crew of documentary makers and his golf aficionado chauffer, a friendly caretaker charged me £4.50 per player and an additional £1 or so for clubs, (a wedge and a putter) tees and balls respectively.
The course is a nine-holer, which was converted from 18 holes over its three-year closure. The stretch separating the club house and the first tee-off was more Hackney Marshes than Gleneagles putting green - we were told that the muddy expanse was due to an underground spring that had chosen to well up where it was least wanted.
Despite the rank amateurs in attendance, all parties managed to reach the putting green within two or three shots, the Mayor's efforts being particularly impressive considering the horde of snappers surveying his every swing.
"It's not a gold-star course, is it?" said Ms Hessel, surveying the less-than-manicured lawn surrounding the green. The green itself was also not of the velvet-complexioned perfection that you see on television at the Masters, but then again the players are certainly not Green Jacket wearers.
As David Bugg, a professional golfer who works for Golfwise, the company that runs the course, said: "Golf is a difficult sport. This course is a great access course that allows beginners to have some success at it."
The considerable walk around left us all - particularly those sporting weighty gold chains - tired, but well pleased with an added amenity to make Alexandra Park more than just a pretty view.
Verdict? Upkeep - Par; Accessibility - Eagle; Overall - a resounding Birdie.
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