The Hacker: Andy is relieved to splash out as my game gets wee bit better

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The Independent Online

Golfers are always moaning about something but this summer we certainly can't complain about the weather.

Compared to recent years it has been so warm and sunny that we have had the rarity of parched and bumpy fairways to contend with.

Not any more. The rain has retaliated with a vengeance over the past 10 days or so and the crumpled waterproofs have been tugged from the bottom of the bag.

Strangely enough, the rain has brought a little blossoming to my game. I even won a prize. Admittedly, it was only a tenner for coming third but it cheered me up no end.

It was a meeting of the Cardiff & County Club golf society at my home club, The Glamorganshire, and various influences, including the weather forecast, had whittled our number down to 14.

It was pouring down from the start but fortunately one of my playing partners, John, offered me a ride in his buggy which is totally enclosed in Perspex with sliding doors.

I almost felt sorry for the third player, Andy, who had to walk in the rain but the last time I played with him there was an unsavoury incident when I thought I'd lost my ball after slicing it towards the bushes to the right of the 17th.

I played a provisional, which I hooked well to the left. Andy offered to look for my original drive while I looked for the provisional. Luckily, he was soon indicating that it hadn't quite reached the bushes.

On my way across I was appalled to see him relieving himself in the vicinity of my ball. I have no complaint with golfers taking advantage of a sheltered spot during the course of a long round, as long as there are no ladies about, but to splash an opponent's ball in such a manner is not in the spirit of the game.

He denied that he'd aimed anywhere near my ball and a short argument ensued, during which he refused my demand to be allowed to take a free drop from casual water.

He redeemed himself by saying that he'd never seen me play better but John was leading the way with 17 points after the first nine.

It was very wet and by that time the group behind us had gone in and the three in front called it a day soon afterwards. If John had not got a good card going, then we might have joined them.

As it happened, my scoring suddenly improved and from being three behind him I scored six points on the last two holes to finish a point in front at 32.

I was the leader in the clubhouse but when the final four came in, one of them had 35 and another had managed a miraculous 40.

But I was happy enough and in a Stableford medal two days later I had 20 points after just 10 holes. My purple patch didn't last and I finished with 30. But I had a two on the 10th which meant that I was due balls from the £2 ball sweep.

The rain started belting down just after we reached the clubhouse and that is always a comfort. However, the downpour was the start of a thunderstorm and at the first flash of lightning they abandoned the competition.

That meant the twos sweep was also cancelled. The professional wouldn't give me my two quid back. I will be automatically entered next time, he claimed.

There's more chance of me being struck by lightning than getting another two so quickly.

Tip of the week

No 64: slicers' surprise

If you're a natural fader of the ball, you will have a reluctance to release the club naturally. Your swing path will be from out to in, with the left hand (for right-handed players) being over-dominant through impact. Your weak shots will be either pulls left or slices right.

There are a couple of things to watch out for. Make sure of your ball position. It should be in the middle of the stance for medium and short irons, and progress towards your left heel for the longer clubs.

An incorrect ball position will alter your release and result in pulls or slices. The most important fault not to commit is aiming too far left.

Most faders aim left to allow for the fade but this only encourages a more out-to-in swing path, turning a fade into a slice. Aim straight and keep your right shoulder back. Keep doing these simple drills and you'll keep hitting those fairways and greens.

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Bramley GC, Surrey.