The Hacker: Getting back in the swing isn't turning out to be a bit of armless fun - Golf - Sport - The Independent

The Hacker: Getting back in the swing isn't turning out to be a bit of armless fun

Today, our club professional will face a challenge the like of which few club pros ever face. No, he is not going to give me a lesson.

Indeed, he has been giving himself lessons all week in a bid to avoid the ignominy of receiving the wooden spoon in our winter league.

The reason that club pros rarely find themselves in this situation is that few would dare expose themselves to the merciless demands of winter league golf – a level of the game capable of destroying the finest player.

Andrew, who has been our pro for 30 years and prior to that was a teaching pro in Yorkshire and Scandinavia, hadn't played competitive golf for 10 years before electing to play this winter.

The format in our winter league is foursomes, and the minimum combined handicap is 20. Thus Andrew, who has to play off scratch, can only play with a high-handicapper and, to be fair to him, has selected his partner from the weakest of our brethren.

He is playing with another Andrew, who is better known as Alf (which stands for annoying little fellow, or something like that). Alf plays off 26, and they have managed to lose all seven matches in the post-Christmas session.

Andrew just cannot understand why he is playing so badly, and he mutters instructions to himself all the way around.

How embarrassing and how ironic that the man who gives lessons to members every day of the week can't cure his own failings. If the pair lose today and again next Sunday, they will receive the wooden spoon and all the disgrace and mockery that goes with it.

But when I saw him on Thursday he was feeling much more confident, because his assistant, Peter, had videoed his swing and he can see where he has been going wrong.

Twenty years ago, Andrew played regularly in the winter league, and never had any trouble no matter who his partner was. He once played with a man who had no arms. Graham had lost both his arms at the shoulder in an industrial accident but could drive a car and play golf with clubs specially adapted to fit his metal arms.

Graham was allowed to play off 36 and was a very popular member. After finishing his round, he would change into his drinking arms – one had an attachment to hold the handle of a pint pot, while the other gripped his cigar. He could hit the ball a fair way, too, and he and Andrew won their share of games.

Since then, however, Andrew's game has suffered from disuse, and his old swing has proved elusive. "I can look at anyone else and tell them what they are doing wrong but I can't look at myself,' he complained.

Eventually he sought the help of the video camera, and saw the problem immediately. He wasn't flexing his legs and, as he says, you can't turn properly on stiff legs.

He was hitting the ball crisply when I saw him, and there's no professional golfer in the world who'll be more fired up than he will be today.

He and Alf have to give their opponents 10 shots, but I'm backing the old pro to get his pride back.



p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea