The Hacker: Ease winter of discontent by kicking or throwing the ball

Winter is the happiest time for hackers. If the course is closed, as many have been over the past few weeks, you can't make a fool of yourself; if it's open you can blame the wind or the rain for your shortcomings. More importantly, they don't play medals from November to March so you are spared that ritual humiliation of failing to break 100.

And there's fun to be had whether it is in the winter league, where mud is a great leveller, or in one of those weird and wonderful formats designed to cheer the coldest day. They've been playing one at Hinksey Heights in Oxfordshire which I've never heard of before. It's called A Kick, A Throw and A Mulligan, and the Royal & Ancient would certainly not approve.

The first two illegalities are self-explanatory. A mulligan, which I believe originated in America, is retaking a bad shot without penalty.

It is played as a Stableford competition for teams of three and each player is allowed a kick, a throw and a mulligan on both the front and back nines.

There are no restrictions. You can kick the ball out of the rough – or kick a putt if you so wish. You can throw the ball out of a bunker or back into bounds or even out of a water hazard if you can find it. The mulligan just lets you replay a rubbish shot. There's another twist to the game. The scores on each hole are not added up, they are placed alongside each other in descending order.

If one player scores three points, the next gets two and the third, one, the score on that hole is 321. Blobs don't count so if the poor mutt putting for the one point had missed, the team score would have been 32 not 321. No shortage of pressure there then. Russel, who wrote to tell me about the game, says a score approaching 5,000 points won in the end.

One thing they learned was how hard it is to kick a ball when it is lying on the ground. Countless kicked putts from less than a foot were missed – two from around four inches.

I know a few golfers whose adeptness at kicking a golf ball is long established but I can't imagine why you would kick a short putt.

Russel writes: "Not only did we come in tired from the round of golf, we were knackered from having to think tactically as when was the most profitable time to take the kicks, throws and mulligans."

But the game proved so popular they are going to play it in one of their turkey trots before Christmas.

Another new slant to golf featured in Sue Montgomery's Hacker column last Sunday. This one has a practical side in that it has proved beneficial to the games of many golfers.

Called GolfMission, it consists simply of a set of cards each outlining six different tasks to be accomplished during the round. One task could be to take no more than six putts on three nominated holes, or stay out of bunkers on three holes or hit three successive fairways.

By giving you something else to focus on other than the normal demands of a round, the tasks are said to help develop concentration and thereby improve your scoring.

Sue is going to spend some time using this system and will report back. Since I have the attention span of a gnat I shall give it a go myself.

Tip Of The Week

No 30: it started with a grip

The most important part of the player's set-up in golf is the way they hold the club. It has often been commented that if a player's grip is wrong, they'll need to swing it poorly to compensate. For the right-hand golfer the power and pull of the club into impact comes from the left arm and hand. Stand tall and let your arms hang by your side, look at the way the left hand lies, exactly as it should be placed on the club. Two to three knuckles showing and relaxed from the elbow down. Place your left hand on the club like this, with the thumb sitting on top of the grip, and to the right. Place your right hand below the left with the left thumb securely fitting in the palm of the right hand. Interlocking or overlapping the little finger of the right hand and forefinger of the left hand is down to individual preference; however, your grip pressure should be firm but with little tension. A natural grip will give you the freedom to generate power and full release of the club.

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Purley Downs GC, Surrey.

'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London