The Hacker: These incredible shrinking men should watch out for others - Golf - Sport - The Independent

The Hacker: These incredible shrinking men should watch out for others

Arrogance and sexism, the twin banes of golf's image, are, it seems, still with us. While inside the halfway house at my club, preparing it for a recent high day, I was saddened to overhear a conversation between a group of our male members, who had clearly had rather a tip for themselves as golfers.

The gist was that they thoroughly resented the course being cluttered up by "bloody hackers and women". Be careful of what you speak in future, boys, sound carries further than you think on a quiet, still morning.

Don't get me wrong, the vast majority of our members, male and female, are delightful and perfectly civilised, and adhere to the code of etiquette without which the game would founder. And most of them are hackers, who necessarily are the backbone of any club.

I was meanly pleased to note that one of those self-styled cracks, after so sniffily dismissing the majority of the membership, then proceeded to hit his drive barely 100 yards along the ground.

Of course, no one in the amateur game, even those who think they're too good for the rest of us, can help playing rubbish shots. But manners and courtesies shouldn't need practising.

On our course the morning order of play from the first and 11th tees is currently suspended as a controlled experiment, which means that two-, three- and four-balls are mixed up together.

Most of the slower groups are aware of the situation and will let two-balls through. Some, however, simply will not and, whether they like it or not, the fact is that the miscreants are overwhelmingly four-balls from the mens' senior section.

Still, perhaps some of us should take more time over the game; not so long ago my playing partner and I were twitching with impatience on the fairway while a player on the green lined up a long putt with what seemed to us agonising over-attention to detail. And then, of course, holed it. Mmm, OK, then.

The further down the food chain is where the slower play tends to be, of course. As I well know, it obviously takes longer to quadruple-bogey than birdie. But there is nothing more frustrating than being stuck behind a group whose trick is to play without a backward glance or acknowledgement that anyone else on the course either exists or matters.

Perhaps they really do believe, as rumour in the ladies' locker-room has it, that part of their anatomy shrinks every time they let a female through, rather like Pinocchio's nose in reverse.

In more cheerful vein, if all goes to Monty's plan (Harrington? Why? Discuss), a month today we will be welcoming the Ryder Cup back to Europe. A group of us from Bury St Edmunds – I and my chums Viv, Patsi and Joan – will be heading west from Suffolk to supervise the triumph at first hand.

Our four-ball's meticulous long-term planning includes loading the car with self-catering fare to reflect the composition of the team. And never mind the spag bol and sausage and mash; rioja and roll, Europe.

Can you do it? Yes you chianti. And take as long as you like.

Tip of the week

No 65: Grip pressure

One of the most overlooked faults is how firmly you hold the club. Incorrect pressure on the grip can contribute to many poor shots and can certainly cost you yards off the tee.

Most players take their grip with good pressure, but as they keep addressing the ball the pressure will increase. Waggling the club before takeaway or a forward press of the hands will alleviate gripping too tightly, but the simplest way is to practise relaxing the grip just before you take the club back.

If you take a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being as tight as you can hold the club, your long-game grip pressure should be 5/6 and your short game 3/4, even lighter if you can. This will help you turn better in your backswing, be freer on your downswing and give you an improved release of the club through the ball.

Practise this and you will be a better ball-striker immediately.

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

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week