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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

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

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
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album