The Hacker: Make yours a triple, he said. Now that's advice I'm happy to follow

 

If I can't sort out my faltering golf, at least I seem to be doing good to others. Over the years, I've had plenty of reaction from other hackers who derive great comfort from reading about someone who is even worse than they are. But never before have I been credited with providing a cure.

Jeremy James has written to say how advice he read in this column three Sundays ago revolutionised his game.

Oh, the stinging irony of it all. That advice was supposed to put my game right. Yet my game is still struggling while Jeremy's is flourishing.

He writes: "Over the last couple of years (I am quite old), I have dropped below hacking to being a coarse golfer. I've had lessons, read books... and my game was so much a nightmare I have thought seriously of throwing my clubs into the river.

"Then I saw the phrase 'slow and soft' in your last piece. Actually, I remembered it wrongly as 'slow and smooth' but the effect was sensational.

"I didn't lose a ball in 18 holes. I only had one seven (a 500-yard brute) and I broke 100 quite easily by swinging slow and smooth and aiming for bogeys not pars."

He says it is the first time that he has truly enjoyed a round of golf for two years and suggests that as a reward I buy myself a triple of whatever I drink.

If I buy myself a triple, it will be to drown the sorrows of another season that seems to be passing without my breaking 100 in a medal.

But I must take encouragement from Jeremy's experience. The last medal of the year is being held this weekend and I go into it determined to heed my own words or, rather, the words of a professional who has been trying patiently to rescue my game from its poverty.

His attempts to take the tension out of my swing and get me to concentrate on a full turn and smooth swoop of the club-head through the ball have worked wonders for my game in matchplay.

But there comes a time in every medal round when the old demons get me tensing up and the ball starts flying all over the place.

But if Jeremy can do it, so can I; although I am a little worried about an email he sent me last week in which he wrote: "What I neglected to say was 'slow and smooth' doesn't work unless you keep the left arm straight and the right elbow glued to the side; pivot the shoulders and hips completely but don't over-swing; start the swing with the hips and kick in with the right leg but don't overbalance; pronate the wrists and hit through the ball; finish your follow-through with the club-head touching the right ankle; KYBHS throughout."

The last bit of advice – keep your bloody head still – is fair enough but for a hacker to approach the ball with that many thoughts buzzing around his head is a recipe for disaster.

By all means practise these tips on the range. But on the course the philosophy is to relax, follow a pre-shot routine, don't grip the club tightly and swing slowly and smoothly. If you want another acronym, think of KISS – keep it simple, stupid.

Jeremy goes on to talk about a game he had last week with an elderly gent who was a seriously good golfer in his youth.

"He gave me a stroke a hole and a wonderful tip: forget the back-swing, he said, above all forget cocking the wrists, and concentrate on the follow-through. It worked."

I don't know if Jeremy feels confused by taking on board all this advice but I am.

Before I go out and play, I shall empty my mind of everything but the two words that we began with, "soft and slow". If it doesn't work, I know who to blame.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

News
David Beckham
peopleFootballer joins No campaign
Sport
Angel Di Maria
Football
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
film
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
News
newsIn short, yes
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

Arts and Entertainment
art
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
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

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories