Pro Shop: Putting yourself first

golf-putter1So how do you go about choosing a new putter? Are you one of the legion of golfers for whom looks means most? One of those, ‘Wow, will you look at that! I really like the look of that and my putting recently has been dire so let’s have a go with that beauty.’ A few quick practice putts on the pro shop carpet and bingo! You are the proud possessor of a brand new putter. Would you ever buy clothes in the same way? Continue reading

England Golf still off piste on the Slope

?????????????Picture the scene. Two golfing pals still meet up regularly for a game although one has left the course where they first met to join a club that is altogether more of a challenge. Both still play off a 14 handicap although when they play for their standard post match bottle of wine the player at the tougher course always wins and his friend is getting more than a little fed up with it.

It is at times like this that the slope system pioneered in the USA would be perfect because it adjudicates how tough a golf course is and allocates strokes accordingly. In the US the minimum slope rating for a course is 55 and the maximum 155. The average course stands in at 113 although different tee positions may have different ratings. Continue reading

The Unsettled Golfer

765240-golf004We were sitting in the spike bar the other week when one of the members sloped in in a very sorry state. His head was down, his lips pursed and he had a wild look in his eyes. He even forsook his usual pint of ‘Gunner’ for something much stronger and a large one to boot.

Gazing at his glass he shook his head slowly and sat down on his own looking, for all the world, as though this could well be his last day on earth and the VAT man had just impounded his favourite gun dog.

He had taken a regal thumping in his match and his game had slowly and steadily dissolved in his hands as he whiffled, foozled, topped, shanked and generally slashed his way around the course in the manner of an irate matador trying to bring his bull to ground by carving at it with a broom handle.

One of the bolder chaps in the bar went over and asked him precisely what had happened to produce the lengthy catalogue of errors that had left our man shaking hands on the 12th and collecting his ‘Dog license.’

Apparently it was no fault of his but entirely down to his opponent, who had whistled, chattered, told gags, sang songs and genuinely been as chirpy as the proverbial linnet as he knocked his ball greenwards on every occasion.

And each time our man lashed his ball into a thicket or topped it into a brook his opponent laughed merrily before crying, ‘What rotten luck, I thought you had cleared it on that occasion.’

That great wordsmith, P.G. Wodehouse, wrote of such a golfer, ‘The least thing upset him. He missed short putts because of the uproar of butterflies in an adjoining meadow’ and, sadly, there is no doubt our man fits most into that category of player who can blame absolutely anything onto an opponent, and very often a partner, without ever facing the sad reality that he is not really cut out to concentrate on the 95 or so times he has to hit a golf ball, whilst also expecting with total sanguinity that one day, given a following wind, a decent slice of good fortune and if those damn putts finally drop he will most certainly shoot 78.

But golf, being the game that it is, it is with utter certainty that our man will be out again tomorrow hoping against hope that this day will be the one when everything falls magically into place and par will beget par.

Perhaps he would find the game a much less self lacerating experience if he simply followed another of Wodehouse’s splendid maxims: ‘Sudden success in golf is like the sudden acquisition of wealth. It is apt to unsettle and deteriorate the character.’

What is the best excuse you have heard or used for a shocking round? Do let us know.

Pro Shop: Cool tops for hot days

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Back in the 1950s and ‘60s there was no such thing as golf wear. The likes of Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer simply pulled on what was popular in casual fashion back then and teed off. Hence the advent of knitted cardigans; V-necked pullovers and slipovers, self-coloured, short sleeved shirts and narrow brimmed hats appearing on the golf course. Continue reading

The Long And Short Of It

Belly putterOn one side of the green holding the short putter is Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient Club of St Andrews. Snarling at him from the other side of the greensward is PGA of America, President, Ted Bishop, who thinks the last thing needed is the banning of the long stick, which is precisely what the R&A have done starting January 1st. 2016.

Continue reading