The Hacker: Against the odds I sink my par putt – I bet you didn't expect that

Gambling is a sin I happily embrace occasionally but I draw the line at my golf being the subject of a bet. I have enough trouble hitting the ball without extra pressures.

However, with no prompting from me, my golfing prowess was the cause of a wager when playing on Le Touquet's La Mer course last week. I was sizing up my tee shot on a 175-yard par-three during a four-ball needle match when my partner Bob pointedly reminded me: "You've got two shots here so a par will get us four points." One of our opponents, Mitchell, snapped: "I bet you 5-1 he doesn't get it."

There was a slight hesitation before Bob replied: "I'll have a euro on that." I stepped indignantly back from the ball not knowing which was the bigger insult – the odds against me hitting a decent shot or the fact that my partner was venturing only one lousy euro on me. He smiled apologetically and admitted afterwards that his first thought was half a euro.

I can't say I blamed him because it wasn't an easy shot. The raised green had a wicked slope and was surrounded by steep, thickly roughed sides and I don't know who was more shocked, me or my companions, when my superbly struck ball landed what seemed to be comfortably close to the flag.

Since the other three proceeded to knock theirs nowhere near the green, I must confess to a slight swagger as I walked up to the hole. But what looked a cinch from the tee was anything but when I reached my ball.

It had rolled 30 feet past the pin and I was faced with a treacherous putt across the slope. A touch too hard would take the ball miles past the hole. A touch too soft would still leave a nasty putt.

I chose the timid route and the ball dribbled three-quarters of the way to leave a dodgy left-to-right eight-footer which, I am proud to say, I sank with aplomb.

Not only did Bob win his five euros, we collected 15 euros for winning the match and my modest 23 points was the fourth best of the day.

When you are a bad player it doesn't take much to cheer you up and it helped me to enjoy a cracking trip.

Our little society has been visiting Le Touquet for some years now. We are a collection of veteran golf writers who are called the Dregs because there's not much left in the bottom of our glasses.

We stay at the Hotel Westminster, which used to be a haunt of Europe's high-fliers before and after the war and still retains its old grandeur.

Thanks to the easy passage via the Eurotunnel, Le Touquet is very popular with British golfers. There's a good choice of courses. We played Le Pins at Hardelot as well as La Mer and both are excellent.

The area is experiencing a 20 per cent drop in business this year – at 45 euros to hire a buggy I'm not surprised – but it is still a great place for golfers with a lively eating and drinking scene.

Needless to say, I was still banging on about my bet-winning par late into the night.

"I can't understand why you didn't have a bet yourself," said Mitchell finally.

He must think I'm barmy.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 19: escape cleanly from a fairway bunker

Just because you have ended up in a fairway bunker, it does not necessarily mean that you need to take a sand wedge. Most fairway bunkers are designed with low lips so a longer, less-lofted club can be used. However, to make the most of the situation, you need to make sure of a clean strike. Firstly, select a club with enough loft to clear the bunker lip. Then address the ball, don't shuffle your feet in too far, just take a firm stance, hold down a little on the club and grip the club firmer than usual. Now make a three-quarter-length arm swing, aiming to hit just below the equator of the ball. You should see the ball fly out with plenty of loft, ample distance and a good clean strike.

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Purley Downs GC, Surrey.

www.theshortgame.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'