The Hacker: An Andy triumph gives us all new hope for the new year

My friend Andy, a fellow 28-handicapper, has been insufferable over the past week. Some say he's that way most weeks, but what made him so on this occasion was the sort of golfing triumph not normally associated with a hacker.

There was no competition at the club a week yesterday and when Andy arrived in search of a game there didn't seem to be too many prospects available. The previous night had been our winter league supper and prize-giving; a typically raucous and late-ending affair from which there were not many survivors willing to play the following morning, me included. But Andy hadn't been able to attend the festivities and thus was bright-eyed and shining with that high-handicapper's optimism which is so often the harbinger of doom.

As luck would have it, he fell in with Jim, Jamie and Darren, who play off 8, 8 and 11 respectively, are fierce competitors and as predatory a trio as an innocent hacker could encounter.

Why don't you join us, they entreated, in a friendly little Stableford for a modest £5 a head. Game as ever, Andy was up for it despite the odds being heavily stacked against him. Normally, you would have given Red Riding Hood a better chance, and she had only one wolf to contend with. But there was a factor in Andy's favour.

The recent icy spell has caused much serious grief around the country and rendered many courses unplayable but, at The Glamorganshire, we dodged the snow and although it has been thoroughly iced up, we've managed to keep playing most days.

Like everywhere else, to avoid damaging the greens we have temporary greens, but not exactly where we would want them. The cold snap came before proper temps could be cut and we are using those utilised by the greens-staff when they are moving cutting machinery around. Consequently, some holes are to be found in nasty places and even though they are eight inches in diameter, the short game has become a lottery.

They say in football that mud is a great leveller, hence the number of giant-killers in the FA Cup at this time of year. In golf, frost is an even better leveller. Erratic bounces foil big hitters and deadly chippers when pins are in unfamiliar places. It jerks them out of their comfort zone. Being a hacker, of course, Andy doesn't have a comfort zone, and he reacted to the unusual conditions by playing very well.

He usually hits the ball straight and he was helped by the course being shorter by several hundred yards. I've always said that the most important weapon in golf is plenty of shots. If things suddenly go well for you they can be as valuable as a good swing, and Andy made the most of the full allowance of his 28 shots. He had two shots on the par-five 11th and hit a birdie four which was worth five points. He revelled in the conditions and, eventually, he came home with a match-winning 45 points.

You could have sold tickets to watch each of his opponents handing over a fiver, and Andy is not one to allow such a rare occasion to go without a large amount of crowing. Now that he has claimed the Christmas bragging rights, Andy is claiming that he is ready for anything and is already talking up 2011 as the year when he is going to make the big breakthrough.

Since we play together regularly, and share in the monumental frustrations that hackers are prey to, we have long dreamed of the day when we can start reducing our handicaps. Can the momentum that now propels him be an inspiration to me and the rest of us in the dead-beats section? Will his success be contagious? Andy has brought hope to us all and, suddenly, the new year looks more attractive.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 80: Proper warm-up routine

Last week I talked about turning up late and what to do for a quick warm-up. This week I'd like to take you through what you should do for a full warm-up routine.

Firstly get to the course at least an hour before your tee time. Spend a good 15 minutes doing some gentle stretching and warm up with some smooth five-irons.

Don't start with a short iron as this will put too much pressure on your back due to the extra tilting forwards. After a few five-irons go to a hybrid or fairway wood and finally hit just a few drivers.

Remember this is just a warming-up session, not the time to start changing your swing. Finally, finish with a few wedge shots once you're fully warmed up. This long-game session should consist of no more than 30 balls and last a maximum of 15 minutes.

Next move to the short-game area and hit some chips and putts. Get a feel of the firmness and speed of the greens, and how much borrow the greens are taking.

Get a general feel of pace but concentrate more on holing some short putts (under six feet). These are the ones that can really save a score. You're now ready to head for the first tee, fully warmed up and raring to go.

Simon Iliffe is head professional at Bramley Golf Club, Surrey. www.theshortgame.co.uk

News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
peopleSir Patrick took a more understated approach to the challenge
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
scienceTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Arts and Entertainment
tvWe have created an infogaphic that looks back over the previous incarnations of the Doctor
Sport
Olivier Giroud celebrates after his late goal saved Arsenal a point at Goodison Park
football Giroud rescues a point for Arsenal after they trailed by two goals
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
i100
News
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea was left red faced but, thankfully, unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards, sending her tumbling off the stage.
people
Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
i100
Extras
indybest

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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition