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

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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific