Q&A; The sinister aspect of golf

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Q. There seem to be many left-handed tennis players at the top level, but very few left-handed golfers. Why?

A. When a youngster picks up a tennis racket, it does not matter whether he or she is right or left-handed, for the implement in question does not vary. However in golf, someone who is naturally left-handed will have difficulty to begin with in obtaining specially made clubs. Only certain putters can be used by either player.

Thus in the absence of left-handed irons/woods at the beginner's miniature golf course, potential enthusiasts will either be discouraged, or simply try to play right-handed. And though it might be unnatural for them to change, my limited experience of trying to putt left-handed has taught me that with enough practice, a talented individual should largely be able to overcome this undoubted handicap. - Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby

Q. In the County Championship, which ground is the nearest to the sea? Does this benefit the batters or the bowlers?

A. Proximity to the sea depends on whether the tide is in or out. When the tide is in, the closest to the sea is undoubtedly St Helen's, in Swansea. The edge of the ground runs along the side of the road which forms part of the promenade to Swansea Bay. However, the tide goes out a long way and the ground which is consistently nearest to seawater is the United Services in Portsmouth. The pavilion there is about 400 yards from the area of sea between The Hard and the naval shore base of HMS Vernon.

Years of watching cricket at both grounds suggests that the tide has no consistent effect on the quality of the cricket. The most common influence on the balance between batsman and bowler is sea fret. The appearance of this almost invariably produces conditions which favour swing bowling and dampens the spirits of spectators at coastal grounds. - Barry Southwell, Dinas, Powys

Q. In a grand slam tennis match, has there ever been a score of 6-0 0-6 6-0 0-6 6-0? If not, what has been the most extreme swing of fortune?

A. In the 1927 final of the Cannes lawn tennis championship, Henri Cochet beat Jacques Burgeon 6-1 1-6 6-0 1-6 6-0. This is the smallest number of games contested in a championship final, as well as showing great swings of fortune. - Toby Bentall, Bath

Q. Following on from Birmingham's 49,000-strong support in the Autoglass final, which team has taken the most fans to a Wembley final?

A. It will come as a great surprise to most readers that Coventry City, those perennial Premiership strugglers, once took between 50,000 and 55,000 supporters (out of a crowd of 88,000) to the 1987 FA Charity Shield match against Everton.

You believe you can hold on to these fans, but within six months fewer than 15,000 spectators were attending home matches. - Rod Dean, London W3


Q. Is there any sports person in important domestic knock-out competitions who can equal Shaun Edwards, of Wigan RLFC? Edwards has played in 42 consecutive cup ties culminating in eight Cup winners medals in the Challenge Cup at Wembley. - Kevin Maguire, Batley

Q. Why, in the draws for the Wimbledon singles, are the seeds allocated different places in the men's and women's competitions? And why, in neither draw are the seeds not "planted" in the normal way, i.e. 1, 8, 5, 4, 3, 6, 7, 2? At Wimbledon the men's No 1 is seeded to meet the No 3 in the semi-final, while the women's No 1 is seeded to meet No 4. - D R Bell, London SW18

Q. Can anybody provide further information about S F Barnes, an England bowler from before the Great War who, according to his Test record, seemed to take wickets when he pleased. I am led to believe he was one of a small handful of players who played for England while playing for a minor county (Staffordshire?). Is this true or is it just rubbish? - Keith Stacey, Wolverhampton

Q. Witnessing the unedifying spectacle of players at Wimbledon chomping their way through pounds of bananas between games prompts the question: who began this sporting food fad and are there sound nutritional reasons for the players' preference for bananas to other fruit or food? Or is it all a subtle form of product placement? In what other sports (leaving aside lunch and tea in cricket) do the participants eat during the course of play? - Adrian Brodkin, London

Q. Why do England cricketers wear two different badges simultaneously? On their shirts they wear the TCCB logo (single lion over a set of stumps), while on their sweaters, caps and helmets they retain the traditional three lions and crown. - D T Balcombe, Northwood

If you know the answers to any of these questions, or have a sporting question of your own you would like answered, write to:

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