The Hacker: I have seen the future and it's not bright – but at least I saw it
Sunday 13 July 2008
Getting your eye in is more of a cricket than a golf term, but not as far as I am concerned. After a sharp-eyed lifetime I'm having a problem seeing where I've hit the ball.
There are distressing occasions when it doesn't go far enough for me to lose sight of it, but when I do connect properly I can't pick it out in the sky.
Generally, my sight is pretty good. I need spectacles for reading but I can see clearly for a long distance.
I can also follow the shots of my playing partners. But the destination of mine is usually a mystery to me.
It doesn't help that at the moment of impact my head is down. Like many hackers, I have a tendency to look up beforemy club-head meets the ball, which usually leads to a disastrous shot.
Therefore I deliberately keep my head down as I follow through. Then I look up and search vainly in the skies for a flying object.
It would help if I hit them straight but I don't, and the people who play with me are getting fed up with being asked the question: "Where the bloody hell did that go?"
It is not a rare affliction. There is a well-worn joke about a couple of elderly golfers who were being hampered by their inability to see the ball in flight. One day they were delighted to hear that an 80-year-old player with 20-20 vision had joinedthe club. They invited him to accompany them for a game, and on the first tee one of them drove off and asked: "Did you see that?"
"Oh, yes," he said.
"Where did it go?"
"I can't remember," he said.
Anyhow, it is no laughing matter, and I consulted Mark, an optician friend who is a golfer himself, and he gave me the full eye test.
Although they weren't in bad shape, he suggested that I try a new lens that is being introduced for the sporting market and specifically for golfers like myself. The lenses are varifocal, with three main areas that are blended into one to let you see sharply at all distances.
They needed a guinea pig to see how they worked, and I happily volunteered. The lenses arrived the day before I was to play against Nick, our captain.
We had been trying to fix a game since the recent controversy about lower handicap players having to give full difference to the higher handicappers.
I quoted him in this space as to how difficult this can be. Nick, who plays off scratch, had to give me 25 shots.
On the first tee I donned my new glasses with a flourish and waggled my club confidently. Unfortunately, when I looked down at the ball it seemed to be on a slope.
I swung nevertheless, and the ball shot through my legs and finished up 50 yards away at right angles to where I was standing.
"Put them back in the case," said Nick, "It'll take a while before you get used to them."
Nick then proceeded to give me a masterclass and woneight and seven. He could have given me 40 shots. It seemsthat wonky vision is the leastof my troubles.
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