The Hacker: 'Scissorhands' cuts our pro down to size with a lesson in humility - Golf - Sport - The Independent

The Hacker: 'Scissorhands' cuts our pro down to size with a lesson in humility

I have the utmost admiration for golf professionals. I don't mean those who compete for massive money at exotic places every week, but the club pros who attend to the day-to-day requirements of hundreds of members, many of them grumpy.

Few jobs require more patience, especially when it comes to giving lessons. Introducing most of us to the rudiments of the golf swing is like teaching King Kong how to use a knife and fork.

There was a time when the pro had to know his place. Rarely, if ever, was he allowed in the clubhouse.

Those days, happily, are gone, and only a few clubs still consider themselves remnants of the British Raj.

Indeed, there's one club where the pro is going to become captain. Enmore Park is a lovely course at the foot of the Quantock Hills in Somerset and a member, Duncan Peaster, emailed to say that Nigel Wixon, the club pro for 37 years, is to take office in March, "a move that has been welcomed wholeheartedly throughout the club".

Our pro hasn't made it that far yet but he has just celebrated 30 years at The Glamorganshire. Andrew Kerr Smith joined the club just as I took up the game, and gave me my first lesson.

He has pleaded with me not to tell anyone he is in any way responsible for my golf, but under the 30-year rule I am required by law to reveal it.

As a 16-year-old scratch golfer with high aspirations, Andrew became an assistant pro at one of the biggest public courses, Temple Newsam in Leeds. He soon found there was more to a pro's life than hitting golf balls – such as reporting at 4amon Saturday and Sunday mornings to deal with those queuing for tee-times.

In 1971 he had an offer to be a teaching pro in Scandinavia, where the golf boom was under way. In one week he gave 153 lessons, and his weekly average over the seven years he spent there was between 100 and 120.

It didn't leave much playing time – he went almost two years without a game – and although he could play more when he joined us, it hasn't amounted to a great deal. But he has played in our winter league, invariably partnering one of our less gifted players, and suffered the inevitable ribbing with good grace.

After a 10-year absence Andrew has reappeared this winter despite the fact that they still insist on him playing off scratch. Last Sunday he suffered a defeat that brought mockery ringing in his ears.

He was partnering Alf, who is off 26, and one of their opponents was another 26-handicapper, Glen, who is a well-known gentleman's hairdresser in the locality.

Glen, whose nickname "Scissorhands" is more a reference to his golf than his hairdressing, has never had a lesson in his life but he has this monotonous ability to hit the ball 150 yards straight down the fairway almost every time.

It was too much for Andrew to cope with, and Scissorhands and his partner, another Andy, won 6 & 5. There's talk now that Andrew and Alf are favourites to win the wooden spoon. I hesitate to suggest he should have a lesson.

p.corrigan@independent.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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory