The Hacker: Safety-first golf is a bit boring but I have a spring in my step - Golf - Sport - The Independent

The Hacker: Safety-first golf is a bit boring but I have a spring in my step

There is no more appropriate time than spring to embark on a new beginning, but winter was still applying its icy grip when I tried out my new plan at Royal Porthcawl last week.

Despite the cold, however, the golf was very encouraging. I lost only one ball, which is a big improvement on my normal toll, although I have to share the credit with the reduced rough at Porthcawl.

It has been cut back over the winter, making it much easier to find a ball. No doubt it will soon grow to an even more fierce depth but its shortness has given enormous pleasure to the regularly wayward.

The other factor was my new policy of safety-first golf. I am slowing my swing, curbing my ambition and concentrating on keeping it down the middle.

It's difficult to change a deeply flawed style that has taken decades to develop but I believe that I'm making progress in adopting a less swashbuckling approach.

If, say, there are 200 yards to go, it is wiser for a high- handicapper like me to hit a nine iron and a wedge rather than blaze at it with a wood.

Risk avoidance may sound a bit boring but what's the point of an adventurous spirit if it keeps landing you in trouble?

I explained all this to my dentist and playing partner, Geoff, on Wednesday and he said: "Alexander Cadogan".

When I asked who the hell he was, Geoff said an old pro advised him that if he wanted to slow his swing down, he should say "Alexander Cadogan" during his swing.

It worked. There were times when Alexander acquired a double-barrelled surname – the first part of which I wouldn't care to repeat – but repeating his name smoothed my swing's tempo.

Geoff is on a golfing mission different to mine. He was a single-figure handicapper but gave up the game for many years and is now attempting to recapture his long-lost form.

Once you've been a good player it is hard trying to get your body to recall how it used to perform on a course, and he's been getting so frustrated he has persuaded me to head for the bar after eight holes.

But he played and felt more like his old self on Wednesday and was so happy he actually complimented me on a shot I made to the sixth green: "That was an elegant shot."

No one has ever said such a thing to me before. The great golf writer Peter Dobereiner once said I had a swing like a policeman breaking down a door, and that's the sort of comment I am used to. But there was better to come.

On the 12th I was short of the green and not far from two greenstaff working on a bunker to my right. That old negativity that bedevils all hackers flashed a warning to my brain that they were within range, so I took my putter.

I had 25 yards sloping up to the green and another 10 to the flag. I hit it firmly and was glad to see the ball reach the green and roll towards the hole. I turned round to put the putter back so I didn't see it go in, but the boys gave a cheer.

It's a rare pleasure to hole from a distance and even rarer to have appreciative witnesses. Dare I hope that things are looking up?

p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones