Those of you who gave glanced at previous confessions may have come to the conclusions that golf hacking is a solitary affair. I don’t think I have mentioned Old Bob and Invisible Andy, have I?
When I decided to become a golf hacker I didn’t have the bottle just to turn up somewhere and whack a golf ball about. This is where Old Bob came in. He’s called ‘Old Bob’ because he’s older than I am and his name is Bob. I am sorry if he sounds like an over strength Yorkshire ale, but there you are.
Anyway, I have known Bob for over twenty years and recalled that he was a member of a prestigious golf club over the border (in north Leeds) and knew how to swing a golf club or two. I also knew he could keep a straight face under severe provocation. So, I asked him if he would escort me somewhere I could take my first faltering steps on a golf course, preferably far from the madding crowd so I could make a fool of myself in relative privacy.
He suggested we go to a golf range and then, perhaps, play a few holes on a par three course*. Now it’s possible you may not have been to a golf range or know what one is. Well, for a certain amount of quid you are supplied with a quantum of golf balls. This, in my experience (but then I don’t get out much) is the most exciting bit. You put a token in a machine, lining up a plastic basket under a chute and the quantum of balls shoot into your basket. Magic! There are then a series of bays and you choose one – which one is very important but I’ll come back to that – and start hitting golf balls (or attempting to) into a green field which is surrounded by (very) high wire mesh fences to prevent someone being decapitated by a flying golf ball.
Now most ball sports can be played either right handed or left handed and golf is no exception but most play right handed i.e. with their left shoulder pointing in the direction the ball is meant to travel. This is because golf clubs are either made for right handed or left handed players and at the quality end of the market left handed golf clubs are more expensive.
Unless the hack golfer is a masochistic exhibitionist – quite possible in my view – (s)he will choose a bay nowhere near anyone else (see men’s conveniences in a previous article) and as far left as possible so you don’t have your back to Anyone Who May Be Watching You.
Bob proceeded to give me some advice and about every tenth ball I hit got up in the air and went more than 20 yards. This was no comment on the quality of the teaching or his patience – Bob would have given Job a run for his money – but a combination of the:
- Imbecility of the pupil;
- Determination of the pupil to blast the ball into outer space and
- Difficulty of the exercise.
We then proceeded on to the par 3 course and arrived at the first tee at the same time as a young man in his mid twenties who was apparently just beginning to play golf but had all the gear which probably cost him £500 plus. I was sharing Bob’s clubs at the time, which were well over twenty years old. It doesn’t reflect well on me I know, but I had to suppress a smile when the young man duffed his first shot. After he had concluded the first hole I proposed Bob had the honour* of playing first.
For reasons I don’t understand and it has not happened since and if Bob weren’t a Yorkshireman I might think he had done it on purpose, he completely mishit his shot and it went about thirty feet along the ground. I hit a half decent shot and to this day that is the only time I have won* a hole against Bob.
And what, I hear you ask about Invisible Andy? I’ll come to him in due course…
Glossary of technical terms
Par 3 course – a course where all the holes are of a short length and a high quality golfer can be expected to complete each hole in 3 shots
The honour – the person who plays first at each hole is said to have ‘the honour’. After the first hole the person who completed the previous hole in the least shots has the honour
Won a hole – If you complete a hole in fewer shots than your playing companion you have won the hole