The Hacker: After losing eight balls, why didn't I play the seven-iron?

At the moment, I am treating it as an aberration, a mere blip on my way to salvation. Playing at Cardigan last Sunday I lost seven balls in a frenzy of faulty ball-striking.

My playing partner, Mike, also lost one – but only because he lent it to me.

The previous day, on the same course but in cold and windy weather, I kept the same ball throughout the round and scored a modest but passable 26 points.

What happened overnight – which was relatively unriotous – to cause me to send eight balls vanishing into the gorse on a lovely sunny day? Perhaps it was the culmination of the strain induced by a four-week golfing odyssey which saw me play 12 courses in 28 days.

In chronological order I played the Old Course and the Jubilee at St Andrews; Royal Porthcawl; the 2010 Ryder Cup course at Celtic Manor; Oake Manor near Taunton; Radyr in Cardiff; Royal Dornoch; Nairn and Nairn Dunbar, in the Scottish Highlands; Glamorganshire; and Cardigan.

It has all been very enjoyable. Even with my dodgy eyes I saw the most wonderful scenery, played superb holes and did copious amounts of high living. But to face such a variety of big challenges and conditions with a game plan still in its infancy was asking too much.

Obviously, the tougher lay-outs caused me problems but you would have expected that. My new plan to slow down my swing and aim for straightness rather than distance proved difficult to follow when faced with dauntingly long holes.

As it turned out, I would have been better off having more faith in the new lease of life enjoyed by my seven-iron after a tip from John Kelly at St Andrews. I've had requests to pass on this advice. Marigold Dann wrote in to say she played a similar game to mine, poor dear. "I would like to know the tip given to you about your seven-iron play if you are willing to share it."

I'm more than willing, Marigold, once I understand it properly myself. It involves a slight rotation of the wrists through the ball but it's a very visual tip which Kelly likened to shaking hands with someone on your right on the backswing and someone on your left on the follow through. It has been working but because of all this dashing around I have had no time to practise it.

New moves you fail to practise can soon lose their effectiveness. But I was quite content when 28 of us made our annual trip to Cardigan, which is always a joy, and the first round confirmed my progress.

At the start of the calamitous second round I had hit a good drive straight up the 401-yard first hole and instead of sticking to the plan and playing my new best friend, the seven-iron, I stupidly reached for the three-wood.

We never saw the ball again and from that moment on, disaster dogged my steps. When I carved my drive on the 17th hole into the wilderness, Mike said: "You'd better play another."

I said I didn't have another and he kindly offered to lend me one. He spent so long fumbling in his bag it was obvious he was looking for the oldest ball he had.

Eventually he was forced to give me a newish Top-Flite which, two shots later, I shanked into the gorse.

He waved away my apology. "I'd already written it off," he admitted.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 49: feel the weight of the club

Whenever you are playing shots that do not require a full swing, it is so important to keep relaxed to use the club to its optimum. If the club feels light in your hands, you're gripping too hard, so ease up and feel the weight of the club.

The swing-weight of your wedges is heavier than the other irons in the bag, and they are designed so that you don't have to hit them hard. Distance control is the key to playing these shots well, so take an appropriate length of backswing and let the club "fall" back to the ball.

Keep relaxed, swing freely and let the club do the work. The more relaxed you remain, the more control you will gain, and the more you can trust those half- and quarter-length shots.

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Bramley Golf Club, Surrey. theshortgame.co.uk

Suggested Topics
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice