The Hacker: Price out the old folks and you'll empty coffers as well as the course

Hard-pressed old hackers, in whose ranks I am inextricably locked, are a much-maligned lot in golf clubs and may be heading for more grief due to the new Equality Act.

The Act was rushed through by the last government before they were flung out in May and its application to golf clubs covers much more than the rights of women members.

Traditionally, pensioners of both sexes pay a reduced subscription once they reach 65 and have been at the club for a number of years. But that counts as discrimination under the Act which commanded the reduction be phased out. This would be very costly for the elders at some clubs.

Wiser heads have since called for further thought on this and no official action will be taken until April 2012 but many clubs reckon it is a very good idea and feel encouraged to do their own culling.

Last year, old golfers were accused of clogging up our courses. That they were doing so on the cheap further infuriated the critics.

In a game that prides itself on keeping its practitioners active well into their advanced years, there were many voices raised in defence of the old-timers most of whom, in their prime, would have done much to keep the clubs going.

But I must confess that around the time I was captain I supported a move to make a cut in the over-65 reduction because it was clear our age profile was moving remorselessly upwards.

That was almost 20 years ago and since then the number of lively old-timers tramping around the course is increasing at a faster rate.

We can't escape the irony that once you retire you play more and pay less and, with most clubs struggling financially, they can ill-afford the concession. But they must be careful not to overdo the purge. At our club it is only £50 a year but the reduction runs into hundreds at others and that would be a big fees hike.

Pricing out the old folks runs the risk of not only emptying the course but emptying the coffers as well.

In last week's column I highlighted the plight of a 75-year-old 22-handicapper who had given the game up because his club refused to lift their 18-handicap limit despite a directive from the golfing union. Most clubs have complied, in some cases very reluctantly. I imagine they'll be a lot more eager to take extra money from us than to honour our bona-fide handicaps.

On a brighter note, I have the honour this week to captain the visitors against the members of Cardigan Golf Club who are hoping to revive an old tradition. For years, they invited any holiday-making golfers to play a match. Visitors to that part of Wales who fancied a game would put their names down and, regardless of numbers, the club would put out a team of members against them. The match was followed by a riotous evening – few of which I have total recall.

Unfortunately, the match fell by the wayside and this year's captain, Edred Lloyd, mindful that it is the 900th anniversary of Cardigan (the town not the club) wants to reinstate it in the calendar.

It takes place at 2pm on Wednesday and you need to put your name down in advance. They don't give much away in that part of the country so take advantage of this generous offer.

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 62: know your shafts

It is thought that the shaft and clubhead can be equally destructive if either component does not match a player's style.

There are four main factors when discussing shafts: weight, flex, torque and length. The weight is important; too heavy and you will not generate enough clubhead speed and lose distance; too light and you lose feel and control. If the flex of the shaft is too soft, you will lose control and generally hit shots too high or hook the ball; too stiff and you will hit the ball too low or slice.

The torque is the rotational twist properties of the shaft. It helps the clubhead to square up at impact. Too much torque and you will hook; too little and you will slice.

Finally the length; a golfer will have more control with shorter shafts but may lose distance. With longer shafts, more clubhead speed can be generated but a lack of control is often inevitable.

When buying new clubs, get the club-head right but pay equal attention to the shaft as well.

Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Bramley GC, Surrey. www.theshortgame.co.uk

Suggested Topics
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor