The Hacker: By hook or by shank I'll sort myself out. I don't need special dimples in my balls

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The Independent Online

A new golf ball which can get rid of the slices and hooks that make life a misery for hackers has been developed in the United States.

It has a pattern of irregular dimples that reduces side-spin, which is the underlying cause of a ball swerving right or left. They claim that it reduces slices or hooks by up to 75 per cent.

The ball has been promptly banned by the US golfing authorities. However, the makers say that the ball was not meant for elite golfers but for the more wayward.

There isn't a group of people in sport who need help more than hackers but I am not sure that even the most desperate among us would really welcome such an easy cure for our problems.

We need saving from ourselves – but we need to do it ourselves. A ball guaranteed to go straighter, where's the challenge in that?

What's next? A way to stop us having air-shots, or doing away with duffed chips, or perhaps an anti-shank device...

It reminds me of the story of a hacker who died and then found himself on the first tee of a beautiful golf course.

There was a shiny bag with his name on it, full of the latest clubs. He took out the driver, hit the ball 300 yards down the middle and proceeded to play in an immaculate manner that he had always dreamed of. He shot a 63 and rushed into the bar, which was full of glum men.

"Drinks all round," he shouted. "I've just scored 63."

"Save your money," said the barman. "Everyone scores 63, without fail, every time they play. We don't bother to go out any more. This isn't heaven, friend, this is hell."

And while on the subject, I had a hellish time in Cardigan last weekend. It wasn't Cardigan's fault. Eirian has been organising a weekend there for 30 of us for the past 10 years. We play at Cardigan twice and once at Newport (Pembs), and always have a good time.

This year was no different and we even managed to dodge the worst of the showers. But Sunday we were hit by a fierce easterly wind.

I'm not sure if even the new miracle ball would have stayed straight; it was strong enough to blow a bullet off course.

We were playing in teams of four, with the best three Stableford scores on each hole to count. It was not an auspicious start.

Peter, who plays off 17, hit a monstrous shank on the first and continued to be plagued by the problem. Rob, a 15-handicapper, struggled to find his usual consistency and Alan, playing off 20, couldn't get his game together for the first few holes.

But I was going quite nicely and after three holes I'd scored five points, which was as many as the other three put together.

Then the wheels came off. I didn't score for the next six holes. When I did manage to hit it straight-ish, the wind took it to faraway places. I was in miserable company because as a team we did poorly.

Alan was our top scorer with 22 points, Peter and Rob had 20 each and I had a terrible 14. But there was one bright spot. I always have a fiver bet with John, another old hacker, on who scores the most. I was ready to fork out until I saw his face. He'd scored 13.

You'd think players like us would do anything to rid ourselves of these humiliations. But if I'm going to defeat my demons I want to do so unaided by any scientific wizardry, thank you very much.