The Hacker: Sort out my cataracts problem and I might finally get my eye in

If you are the sad possessor of poor eyesight, a game of golf is never more infuriating than if you play with someone else damned with dodgy peepers.

Max and I, for instance, play regularly in the same fourball but we could never play on our own. Max is waiting for a cataract operation which has been postponed at least once.

I am not so far down the cataract road and am waiting for my situation to be assessed by a consultant but my failing vision seems just as bad.

If we played as a twoball, the destination of our longer shots would be a mystery to both of us. Just as well, then, that our companions have sharper eyes and happily employ them on our behalf. But while I am always grateful for their patient kindness at having to perform this chore for 18 holes, it is not a satisfying experience. It's like being helped across the road by an old lady.

And there's always that delay before you know the fate of your shot. No matter how well you feel you've hit the ball, you wait anxiously at the top of the follow-through for the reaction of those alongside you on the tee.

Occasionally, if you have struck the ball straight and true, you will catch sight of its flight against a bright sky and what a joy that is.

But usually you search vainly for it while awaiting the verdict. If it is a good shot they'll tell you immediately. If it's wayward, there will be a muffled curse followed by a pause while they wait to see where it drops.

Then someone will put a sympathetic hand on your shoulder and point vaguely to a spot in the crap where your ball landed. Or, worst of all, they'll say "you'd better play another one".

As valuable as this service is, it is never quite enough for a hacker eager to learn. If the ball went left you have to ask if it was a pull or a hook; if it went right, was it a push or a slice? How else am I to make the necessary adjustments to my swing? This raises the question of whether my failing eyesight has played a part in the deterioration of my golf over the past couple of years.

I've had brilliant eyesight for most of my life so that doesn't explain my bad golf previously but who knows? Sorting out my cataracts could be the boost I'm looking for.

If it enhances my enjoyment of the game as much as it has done for John, another golfing companion, I'll be delighted. I've been playing with him at Royal Porthcawl since he made his comeback last year after 30 years out of the game.

He used to play off single figures but is finding it difficult to reclaim his old form. He has never had good eyesight but he had laser treatment a few weeks ago and has never seen better in his life.

We played at Porthcawl last week on one of those sunny winter days when you could see for miles. Unfortunately, he could and I couldn't.

The sea is visible from every hole at Porthcawl and he kept pointing out ships on the horizon that I couldn't possibly make out. But he did come in very handy in spotting my ball.

Most of the time he could see exactly where it was from over 200 yards away. It was like having a guide dog, and I've booked him for the next two months.

Tip of the week

No 32: Putt better under pressure

It doesn't matter if it's a putt to win The Masters or a putt to take a fiver off your pal, we all feel pressure towards the end of a good round. What the great players do is learn to deal with it. A great practice drill is to take four balls and place them round a practice hole at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock. Start two feet from the hole and knock them in one by one. If you miss they all come out, and you start again. Once you hole all four, double the distance. Set yourself a target of eight consecutive putts before you head for the first tee. If you miss them left, right, long or short, that's what you'll do under pressure on the course. Work towards achieving 12 or 16 successive putts before you leave. This will make you a great pressure putter.

Simon Iliffe, Head Pro, Purley Downs GC, Surrey.

Suggested Topics
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Field of broken dreams: Andy Bell visits Passchendaele
news5 News's Andy Bell visited the killing fields of the Great War, and his ancestor - known only from his compelling war diary - came to life
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

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel