The Hacker: The further my new clubs hit it into trouble, the luckier I get

 

I've always thought, in my relatively limited experience of the game, that how you hit the ball is more important than what you hit it with.

After all, put a baffing spoon or a mashie niblick in the hands of a tour pro, and a gutty on his tee, and he'd still outscore most handicap players.

For those of us hacking round at the plankton level of the food chain, so long as the clubs in our bag have not got hickory shafts, lessons are probably a better investment than the latest whizzo model.

How do you choose which set of clubs anyway? None of us has enough consistency of ball-striking to make a properly considered judgement between one club or another.

But hey, which is more fun, a set of shiny new clubs or hours of diligence on the practice range? Ano-brainer and, anyway, I didn't get any of the Olympic tickets which I'd budgeted for, so what else to spend the money on?

I won't mention the make of my new weapons, because that would be gratuitous advertising and I can't think for a moment that the manufacturer would want an endorsement from one who could have, had Dr Bob Rotella ever chanced by Bury St Edmunds, been the visual inspiration for his booktitle Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect.But if they're good enough for Luke Donald...

Relationships can be difficult to start with, but we've already bonded (sadly not Luke, the new woods). I know this because the rubbish shots I hit go further than the rubbish shots I hit with my previous clubs. And it cannot have been coincidence that, using them for the first time last week, I somehow made it to the final of one of our summer knock-out competitions.

I have to say I like matchplay. Watching the Ryder Cup was one of the things that made me want to try the game and the format lets me live the dream vicariously.

I can see the tension in Bubba's shoulders as we stand on the first tee, hear the gallery as I walk to the green to tap in for a birdie. "Sooooo... Sooooo".

Back on planet Earth, I was receiving just a single shot from one of our club's steadiest players. My game tends to be feast or famine – I regard my erratic progress round a course, via any trouble that is in range, as an ongoing tribute to Seve – but pre-match research revealed her game to be long and straight.

Sure enough, on every hole I was playing catch-up. But, thanks to the extra length from the wonder woods – even if mostly along the ground – I was still on her coat-tails and, thanks to an uncharacteristically good chip to the eighth green to put it stone dead to match her par, was only one-down at the turn.

I managed to lose the next, my shot-hole (why do we assume that the impossible death-or-glory shot from the midst of foliage will actually come off) but, as the back nine unwound, a couple of long putts holed and her brush with a tree and some sand and we were all-square with one to play.

It was my honour on the last, a long par four, and I managed to revert to the swing that has been likened to that of a one-armed paperhanger and top it 40 yards left into the light rough. Fiona hit her usual competent long drive on to the short stuff.

My recovery rocketed across to the other side of the fairway into more rough, out of range of the green; the door was now not merely ajar but off its hinges. Her second was a beautiful strike, but this is a game of buts. She was playing five out of that bunker, six on the green and ultimately missed the putt.

I truly felt for her – she really had played the better for 17-and-a-half holes – but there was no room for sentiment. I chipped on for four and, from 12 feet, ruthlessly three-putted for victory.

Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Life and Style
life“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice