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Sorry for the extended drinks break. I popped down to Spanish golfing climes for a fortnight. The idea was to play a round or two at La Reserva Golf Club ( round the corner from Valderrama) and then watch Walker Cup players compete in the Spanish Amateur on the same course. Sadly the course was waterlogged after unprecedented rainfall so it was a question of play where you can in between the downpours. Even Sottogrande had to close a few holes. The highlight was an invitation to Valderrama on my last day when the sun shone and the Ryder Cup course played at its brilliant and infuriating best.

I have never for a moment understood the "slope" variation to one's normal handicap but an extra six strokes on top of my current 10 would have seemed generous anywhere else. But since my "Valderrama" objective is always six pars, six bogies and six doubles, it was not far off. I actually hit the ball well for 4 pars (including a perfectly played seventeenth) 10 bogies and four doubles i.e.18 over so whoever invented the "slope" evidently knows a thing or two. The "killer" problem is usually the downhill chip from a wiry grass lie. But there are equally subtle traps for the unwary. Like the Par 5 fourth hole. A sweet drive into the wind drifted to the right edge of the fairway. An attempt to move the lay-up from left to right did not come off, leaving me down the slope and chipping back into play. The approach to a front pin pitched within 12 feet but spun back, then trickled off and finally rolled gently back another 15 metres. A slightly strong chip and two nervy putts down the slope added up to seven - albeit with hardly a poor shot. Without being very long Valderrama is a superb test for the best players but a real graveyard for the rest of us. I love it and hate it at the same time.

They did manage to play the Spanish Amateur at the nearby Ca(g)nada Golf Club with only one day washed out. An all english Final between Tommy Fleetwod and Matt Haine was decided in favour of the latter - deservedly perhaps after leading the qualifying with a superb first round 66. I had a particular interest in Stiggy Hodgson, having played with him at Sunningdale over the years. He might have had a useful course knowledge advantage at La Reserva but it was not to be. He qualified OK but went out in the first round to a very noisy young Spaniard at the 21st hole - shades of John McEnroe by all accounts.

I mentioned some cricketing poetry before I rather rudely went off the air with not so much as a by your leave. It concerns my innings at Lord's against the West Indies in the early sixties - that match which went to the last ball, Colin Cowdrey batting with his broken arm in plaster etc etc. I have managed to download it into my "media library" but it remains to be seen whether a. you can access it, or b. I can bring it to the surface. I will do my computer clumsy best.