Post by Lonnie Faulkner.
I play golf 2/3 times a week in a fairly regular four ball. As normal we play this week as we did last week and even last year. Fred does his usual little dance, Bill aims well left hoping the ball will end up somewhere down the middle. Jim never uses a driver, instead he tops a four iron some 120yds in the rough. I belt the damn thing 240yds anywhere, working on the principal that I am now seventy and maybe in a few years time my full swing will be curtailed by half. So enjoy it while it lasts.
Putting seems to require a tortuous body position prior to swishing the blade at the top half of the ball, followed by cries of ‘good putt’ as the little white thing eventually stops short of the hole from six feet. Had it been from four feet or thereabouts it would have been a gimmie. The mark of the day having been set at the first hole by Fred. Less hassle.
Recently things began to change. There were mutterings like, has he (god forbid) had a lesson? Perhaps he just got lucky. Did you see him sink that twelve footer? Fair rattled the back of the hole and what about that up and down from thirty yards.
Must be a fluke they said as each shelled out my 50p winnings, of course tradition dictates that it cost me £3-50p for tea and biscuits, not to mention the ribbing I have had since my handicap dropped rapidly from a cosy 16.4 to a precipice 12.9 winning two good competitions on the way and I feel there is be more to come. Single figures by the end of the year!
Who knows how far I can go now that I have the secret?
Well now, if you come a little closer, spit and cross your heart and promise never ever to tell anyone, (if you do you will be condemned to playing Penfold Commander balls for ever!) I will whisper it to you. O/K here we go.
In a little booklet entitled ‘Think Smart’ that came free with Golf Monthly I came across these words… ‘Famously, Jack Nicklaus once said that golf was 10% physical and 90% mental’
Wow! I thought that’s for me. The physical bit was about right at my age and my wife is always telling me that I am mental, especially when asking her where that spanner is that I left on the mantelpiece four months ago. Well I left it there so I would know where it was when next needed. Just aggravating.
Anyway back to the booklet. Some guy named Bob Rotella kept harping on about things like pre-visualisation (thought that meant cleaning one’s glasses first thing in the morning!) and course management. No, that’s not standing on the 18th tee and thinking about the forthcoming pint. It’s not about how you hit the ball but more a case of what you want the ball to do and where you want it to finish by using your imagination.
Having read the booklet from cover to cover and thought that it all made sense, it was now time to put my newfound knowledge into practice.
The next morning there were some raised eyebrows on the first tee as I prowled around the back of the ball, squinting into the distance trying to focus on a distant tree. There were more funny looks as I flashed my eyes rapidly from left to right to wake up both sides of the brain. Then straining forward I focused on just a single branch.
The shot was nothing to shout about, semi topped but straight down the middle right at the branch that had been the last thought in my head prior to swinging. My second shot fell some ten yards short of the green, with the pin a further twenty-five paces on.
A 9 iron chip saw the ball finish some five feet below the flag. After doing the flashing eyes bit my focus was on a small mark at the back of the hole and trusting the grey matter struck the ball straight and true. The 420yds had been covered in four shots, quite a while since I had achieved that. Well pleased.
No longer do I dive out of the car and immediately make my way to the 1st tee. Where after a few fly-casting actions with the driver, I would wildly send the ball on a journey to god knows where.
My golf is improving and thanks to Ken Brown I now enjoy playing with my new friend Alexander Cadogan who is like a go-between my empty head and slack arm muscles. I practise (sad person) as often as I can and have even taken note of my divots, which start with a backslash. Could be that the toe strikes the ground first causing the heel to swing round resulting in a strong push shot.
Soon be time to pay Roger Morton a visit.