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.

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

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor