The Hacker: Course of action is required as we share in Tiger's falling stock

The world is waiting for Tiger Woods to return to the golf course but never mind him, when are we hackers going to get a chance to swing a club?

Thanks to the freeze-up, golf life in this country has been in a state of suspension for weeks now and, unlike Tiger, we're suffering despite not having done anything wrong.

Not that we would dare compare ourselves to him. We are in fact the direct opposites; we don't do anything wrong until we get on the course.

But remove golfers of any standard from their regular games and the withdrawal symptoms are not pretty. I am continually bumping into fellow players dragooned into pushing trolleys around supermarkets.

Their hang-dog expressions betray their unwillingness to be anywhere but a golf course. It's like being sentenced to community service.

One desperate character cornered me in the vegetable section and couldn't believe how empty his life had become: "I didn't realise how big a part golf plays in my life. I spend hours and hours not knowing what the hell to do. Imagine how horrible it would be if it was permanent."

The trouble is that the devil makes work for idle hands, and so do wives. But there is nothing wrong with visiting the club, even if the course is under a foot of snow.

You still want to be there, particularly at our club since Christmas because they are cutting down some of the dreaded leylandii trees and the sight of those toppling would gladden any heart.

On Tuesday I was amazed to see the car park was so full. I thought they had opened the course but no, it was Ladies Day and the girls had turned up in strength to have lunch.

On Wednesdays and Thursdays the men who play in the midweek swindles turn up for a drink and endless games of snooker. I suspect they haven't told their wives the course has been closed.

One thing we mortal golfers do have in common with Tiger is that our absence is doing the golf industry no good at all.

It is calculated that a prolonged Tiger lay-off could cost the sport £200 million this year. An incredible $13 billion (£8bn) has been wiped off the stock-market value of his nine main sponsors in 13 days of trading this year.

Despite our large numbers, we hackers can't match that financial devastation by our absence. But we do contribute more than is realised, and without us paying a healthy whack for our devotion to being bad golfers, even Tiger wouldn't be as rich as he is.

When we are not playing we don't lose any balls, develop extra faults that need remedial lessons from the club pro, buy new clubs, invest in warmer clothing or drink copious amounts at the bar and have a quick sausage, egg and chips before we go home for a diet-conscious dinner.

Don't worry, we'll be back in force once the courses are declared fit for play. The long lay-off will have done nothing to stifle our enthusiasm.

Thousands of resolutions made by desperate hackers who are determined to improve during 2010 have yet to be put into action.

All we've managed to do is chip air-balls on to the sofa and convince ourselves that it is all going to be different once they release us from this captivity. The reality is bound to hurt, but anything is better than all this inaction.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 36: the importance of ball position

Many golfers get confused as to where the ball should be positioned between their feet for different clubs. To keep it simple, the further forward the ball is placed (towards the left foot for right-handers), the more a sweeping, upward strike will be created. This is good for drivers and long irons as it keeps loft on the club, encouraging the ball into the air. With the ball positioned further back, a more downward and descending blow creates low launch but with high spin; good for wedge shots and short irons. The ball should never be placed further back than the middle of the stance for normal iron shots, and always towards the front foot with longer, less lofted clubs. Play a seven-iron towards your front foot and it will act more like an eight. Take a half-set with you and try varying the ball position to change the playing characteristics of the clubs.

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

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot