The Hacker: Alexander the great helps me to conquer my greatest fears

There's little worse than being jilted at the last minute. It's bad enough for a bridegroom – although it could well be a future blessing for him – but nothing compensates for your golfing partner not turning up for a four-ball competition.

That's why I cut such a lonely figure at the club last Saturday morning. Usually there are one or two hovering around looking for a game but not last week; unless they saw me and were hiding.

Had I known the previous day that my friend Andy couldn't play, I would have had time to winkle out a reluctant replacement.

But he didn't tell me. We have a computerised entry system for competitions and he just deleted his name on Friday evening. His excuse was a heavy cold, although he managed to play on Sunday.

I must say he didn't look too clever when I saw him but, then again, he never does. During my admonishment of him I told him of the chance he missed to join my game plan.

Andy is also a 28-handicapper desperate to improve and he would benefit from my new unadventurous, risk-reduced approach.

Although as a singleton I couldn't be in the competition, I played in order to mark the card of the pair we regularly play with, Mike and Max.

The event was a four-ball aggregate Stableford, which meant the points total of each of the pair would be added together.

With typical generosity they offered to share their place in the competition with me and do a permutation of any two from three – the best two scores would be put forward as their entry.

I'm not sure it was legal but it didn't matter. Our best score was 64 points and it was won by the staggering score of 86 points. At least my new approach received another airing but the trauma of the morning caused me early grief when, after a good start of seven points from three holes, I scored back-to-back nines.

I drove into the woods at the fourth hole, and at the fifth I took three trying to hack my way out from the back of a leylandii tree.

Normally, this would have sent me into a rage from which the round would never have recovered but I settled down to a steady, safety-first plod that, with 20 points on the back nine, brought me a fairly respectable 32 points.

I almost had back-to-back birdies but I had to settle for one. The point was that I felt more in control and less prone to panic after a bad shot. More practice is needed but progress is being maintained.

Much of the improvement is due to a slower swing during which I repeat the name Alexander Cadogan. Mike asked whether this bloke I kept mentioning was a new member.

When I explained this to Mike, he looked oddly at me and therefore I said it under my breath. I've had a few emails assuring me I am not the only one who regulates my swing in this way.

Most of them say something like "Up 1-2, down 1-2" but Tony Chesterman of Northumberland writes to say that he prefers repeating the name Severiano Ballesteros.

Tony has been playing for six years since he retired at the age of 66 and finds my struggles a comfort to a newcomer.

But, if he and Seve don't mind, I will stick to Alexander. As Shakespeare would have surely said had he been a golfer, a slow swing by any other name is just as sweet.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 41: don't rush the downswing

It will come as no surprise that most of us want to hit the ball further. But we can do that only if we remain relaxed and free-swinging.

Too often I see guys rushing to hit "at" the ball when they will produce more power hitting through it. Try this tip to learn when to accelerate the clubhead better: hold your club by the clubhead and swing the shaft with your normal swing. You will hear the shaft swish as you swing down and through the ball.

Try to make as little noise as possible on the backswing, and save the swish until as late as possible. If you hear a loud swish well before impact you know you are going at it too quickly. Slow down and wait until nearer impact before you accelerate the clubhead.

Once you've got the feel, try and emulate the same feel in your normal golf swing.

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Purley Downs GC, Surrey. www.theshortgame.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat