WHAT started as a normal round of golf for Ross Napier, ended with the Kirkcaldy man creating his own piece of history.
A par at the first, followed by another at hole two, made for a solid start to his round in the recent July Medal competition at Balbirnie Park Golf Club.
However, after a flurry of birdies, Ross had something far more significant on his mind – the course record.
Having arrived on the par five 18th tee at seven under par, the 34-year-old needed to finish with an eagle to break a four-year-old record held by Colin Martin.
And the former Capshard schoolboy accomplished it, carding a stunning nine under par 62 to set a new course record at a course he has only been a member at for two years.
“It was just one of those rounds,” a beaming Ross told SportsPress. “I’d been playing well for a while but was making mental errors.
“This time, I managed to concentrate for the full 18 holes. I had no bogeys, seven birdies and an eagle at the last to break it by one shot.
“I didn’t do anything daft, and I hit the ball very close at a lot of holes. I didn’t have to do a lot with the putter.
“The previous record holder, Colin, is actually a good mate of mine, so it was nice to take the record from him.
“He sent me a message on Facebook saying what an excellent score it was, but I’m sure he’ll be trying to get the record back.”
Ross did not feel pressured into getting the eagle he required on the 18th hole, because he wrongly believed he only needed a birdie!
“I actually thought the course record was 64, but luckily I played a good second shot that left me a simple putt for eagle,” he said.
“It’s a par 5 I can reach easily in two, and I hit a very good drive, then followed with an eight iron over 175 yards into three feet.
“Before I hit the putt, one of the older members asked me how I was getting on, and I told him I was holing my putt for a 62, and soon the whole car park was talking about it.
“I marked my ball, then knocked it in, and by that time I could see guys in the clubhouse holding the thumbs up at the window.
“I went in, put my card in, and stayed to have a drink with the boys. A few of the members came in and shook my hand. It was a nice feeling.”
Ross started playing golf at Dunnikier Park aged 11 after his father bought him his first half set of clubs, and remarkably, he was playing off a handicap of 1 by the time he was 16.
After leaving Kirkcaldy High School, Ross went to Heriot Watt University where he combined his studies with a golf scholarship, which saw him represent Scottish and British university teams. He also played for Fife at boys, junior and senior level.
After giving up the game to concentrate on his career as a planning manager for Kettle Produce, Ross pulled out his irons again two years ago, joining Balbirnie Park in Markinch.
However, he had to fight to convince the club committee that he should have his old handicap re-instated.
“Because I hadn’t played for two years, I’d lost my handicap,” he said. “I had to re-apply, and got a handicap of six, which in my mind was way too high because I’d played off one my whole adult life.
“I won a few competitions by quite a long way so I wrote to the Scottish Golf Union to get them involved to get my handicap cut.
“That got me cut down to two which I thought was a fairer reflection of my ability and since then I’ve been plugging away at that.
“I got it down to 0.6, then I had the 62, which got me down to 0.4, so now I play off scratch.”
Ross believes that it was his dedication to golf as a teenager that has allowed him to have his record-breaking success later in life.
“I used to play with my dad and his friends on a Tuesday night and I would always try to get my second shot longer than their first shots,” he explained.
“That brought me along, and when I eventually got better than them, they stopped me playing with them because I was too good!
“All through high school I took my golf very serious. My mates were all going out at night, but I was staying in because I had to get up early for golf.
“I used to go up to Dunnikier on my own in the middle of winter and work on my short game in snow and hailstones.
“I think I’m reaping the benefits now because I’ve got a very good short game, and can chip very well, because I honed it when I was young.
“Golf has played a very big part in my life, pretty much all the way through since I started. It’s been my main thing.
“All my close friends are through golf, not through high school or uni.”