The Hacker: Mike can't get past first base with baseball grip as Big Jim joins 100 club

Weather conditions were so wretched in our October medal last weekend that I had plenty of miserable company in my forlorn struggle to break 100. Most of the competitors returned their worst resultsof the year.

Prime among them was Big Jim, a nine-handicapper who scored exactly 100. It was much better than my 116 but it meant that we shared the same net score of 91, which would not have cheered him up at all.

Furthermore, Jim qualified to play in this weekend's Centurion Cup, a competition open only to those who have failed to score less than 100 at least once during the 10 medal rounds we play. This year, thanks mainly to our lousy weather during the summer, we have a record number of more than 150 qualifiers.

Sadly, many of the lower-handicappers decline to enter, because they are not willing to be seen dead in an event fit only for hackers.

Big Jim, however, is happy to join the march of the doomed and the desperate. He probably fancies his chances of winning it. Most of us would happily settle for breaking through that 100 barrier in what is our last chance of the year.

The Centurion Cup is the brainchild of Mike, who eight years or so ago took pity on my much-mocked struggles – yes, it's been a long time since I scored less than a ton – and after studying the club records discovered that more players failed to beat 100 than anyone had imagined.

More than 50 per cent score over a century in at least one medal, so he organised the Centurions as a consolation competition. It has proved very successful.

It also causes the better players to have nightmares when they have an off-day. Some tear up their cards rather than suffer the shame.

Sadly, Mike has joined us. He played off 14 when he created the event, and there was little chance he would qualify. Then he had to have a shoulder operation and his handicap shot up to 19.

We've played together in the last five medals and his aim was to break 90, but he wasn't far behind my score.

Last weekend he threatened to give up golf altogether. Even after deleting the oaths, his words were full of serious intent. He had just taken 12 on the par-five 11th after hacking his way from tree to tree. He then drove into trees on the next hole and had to tap out sideways before pulling a shot into a dreaded leylandii tree – and it stayed there. So it was an understandable explosion.

Mike had been trying a two-handed baseball grip he saw being used to good effect by J B Holmes, one of the stars of America's Ryder Cup triumph. It worked well at first, but then he started carving it right.

"That baseball grip is working," I said helpfully. "That would have been a lovely home run over first base." His 107 was lower than my score, but he has known much better days than me and was utterly despondent.

Happily, he has decided not to fulfil his threat to give up the game, but his performance this weekend is all-important.

I am doing what I can for him. I am playing withsomebody else.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
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

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower