It’s a tough shot to read," says my caddy, Thom, crouching behind my ball. "Knock it over to the left, and let the slope bring it round. Either that, or smack it at that BMW."
I’ve played the second hole well, avoiding a solicitor’s office and an underground car park, but my third shot has not quite made it on to the green, and I’m stymied between an empty beer bottle and a lamppost, blocking my path to the hole.
I say "hole", but "rectangular fire hydrant cover" would be more accurate. And the shot’s made even trickier by the fact that the ball is not round. Also, my concentration is being broken by the sound of a yelping East London wino.
This is the Shoreditch Urban Open golf tournament, and not quite the kind to which I, a part-time golf pro, am accustomed. Traditional clubs are still used, but the makeshift course has been set up on the streets of one of East London’s trendier districts, and the balls are leather-covered and stuffed with feathers to ensure no windows are broken.
Astroturf greens are laid down in the middle of the road, but buildings, kerbs and lampposts are all part of the course. Audis and Mercedes are the bunkers.
It’s a relaxed, rowdy alternative for those who like to swing, but who don’t like the small-mindedness and arcane dress codes of traditional golf. But it is also a sign of the changing image of a game which has gone from stuffy old man’s sport to a favourite of trendsetters, rock stars and footballers.
As someone who spent his adolescence on the fairway in the dark, diamond-patterned days of the late Eighties, when the nearest thing to a credible golfing celebrity was Ronnie Corbett, I find all this bewildering.
Of course, the bad dress sense and tedious "I’d like to thank the greenstaff for the condition of the course" speeches by match winners have not been eradicated but, broadly speaking, golf is now hip.
And it doesn’t get much more groovy than The Shoreditch Urban Open. Its founder, architect Jeremy Feakes, set it up as a laid-back, inclusive alternative to the snobbery at his old golf club, but the selection process is still secretive, with a mysterious committee making entrants wait until three days before the tournament to find out if they have made the grade.
The presence of scantily-dressed female models from a company called Eye-Candy Caddies also detracts from the feeling of equality. And I’m slightly surprised at the abundance of plus fours, bad knitwear and caps.
Having secured the caddying services of Thom, who "only came for the free whisky", I make a faltering start. Even though my average drive with a real golf ball is about 300 yards, a good hit with a street golf ball will barely cover a third of that.
A few rules seem vague. If we hit the lid of the fire hydrant "hole", does it still count as having gone in? And when my shot on the seventh flies into a passing website designer, damaging his carefully gelled ironic mullet and knocking my ball into the gutter, should I be able to replay the shot? Nobody seems quite sure.
Urban golf has spread around the world and the first Shoreditch Urban Open took place in 2004. Now it is a legitimate enterprise, with streets cordoned off, marshals and a sponsor.
In its inaugural year, I saw one outraged resident emerge after a player whacked his hackysack into his BMW. "What the f*** do you think you’re doing?" he shouted.
But there are no such ugly scenes this year even though I do receive a dirty look from a motorcyclist as I float a sand wedge shot deftly over his head.
I’ve watched as one of my playing partners used his local knowledge to deflect a 40-yard shot off a third-floor window ledge and into the hole. My ball has ricocheted off cars and a stockbroker’s buttocks.
The overall result is that, as I stand on the 18th tee, I know that if I can get a birdie, I might just win. I promptly do so, with an impressive chip-in. The crowd screams and I throw my ball triumphantly into a car park.
But there are three players who still have a chance of beating me: Mike Delano, Justin Piggott, and Lucky Hands. Players use pseudonyms and mine is Panicked Squid, which is what my golf swing can resemble.
"Will I have to give a speech if I win?" I wonder, thinking back to Steve Cowie, who caused outrage on the Eighties Nottinghamshire junior golf scene when he eschewed the greenstaff-themed speeches by simply saying "Bad luck, lads" instead.
In the end, only Delano matches my score. We toss a coin for the prize. I win and am helped into the winner’s jacket by a lady from Sky TV. The crowd are raucous. Balls pelt the podium. But I know I must do one thing , so I take the mic.
"I’d like to thank the greenstaff," I begin, as a ball hits me on the forehead, "for the condition of the course…"