Monthly Archives: January 2015

Golf Right – Part 2

Golf pros made me do it.  Here was I, cheerfully plodding along in the nether world of left handed golfers, hopefully chipping away at the worst of my bad swinging habits. If Mike Weir could do it, why couldn’t I show them that lefties are golfers too. But they insisted that, for me, leftyism just was not right. And they got me to try it, time and time again in off season practice sessions, working away at right shoulder swings, head down, eye on the ball, ad nauseam. And overnight, more or less, I managed to get it right. Sort of.

Operation Transformation has been in full swing, so to speak, ever since. The net-draped walls of that golf school hideaway somehow stood up that spring to a barrage of spectacularly misdirected hits. Fellow learners were too intent on their own pursuit of perfection to notice anyway. For over four months, at three or four hours a week, the practice sessions continued. A tough grind, learning the finer points of grip, stance, back swing, weight transfer, follow-through, etc., but someone had to do it. And believe it or, it just seemed to work.

0 points for posture

0 points for posture

True enough, the right handed swing did feel better, but somehow that ball never seemed to go straighter or longer. I bought myself a little insurance, sneakily tossing an old leftie seven iron into my bag, ready to let loose when the righties went all wrong. Yet slowly though by no means surely, the switch-over swing got to feel almost natural, and a few good hits began to show. No miracle make-over, mind you, but the odd three wood success works wonders for the hacker’s morale. And a few setbacks now and then are to be expected, aren’t they?

Then time came for another National Press Club Tournament, I was in a foursome in a best ball format. With me was my golfing buddy who was normally pretty sound on any old course. But we all had an off day. You can guess the result: Another Most Honest Player award! Oh well, as consolation, we got first pick of the prizes after the least honest – er, the winners. But hope springs eternal, doesn’t it.

A challenging course

A challenging course

Never did hit a ball through the clubhouse window, but the thwacking sounds got sweeter day by day. Sweet enough to raise expectations that maybe, just maybe, I’d get to the stage where I could break that danged 100 mark. Yes, indeed, I told myself, at this rate, I’ll be knocking that ball a full 100 yards before you know it. Yep, maybe I’ve finally gotten it right!

On Getting It Right

Just a good walk … spoiled! How aptly this ageless gibe sums up my intermittent efforts over the years to wrest enjoyment from Scotland’s second most notable contribution to civilization, the damnable game of golf.

Were it not for sheer pig-headedness, or mere unwillingness to confront reality, I would have totally forsaken the wretched pastime years ago. And I should have, for the sake of restoring my customary image as a quiet, unassuming fellow seldom given to angry outbursts or mouthing nasty cuss words. But stubborn refusal to accept the inevitability of inept performance kept on luring me back for just one more round.

Where it all began

Where it all began

How could I forget the fateful day when I lost my first golf game to my then-midget sized 13 year old son? Never to have beaten him again! And now he’s a lean six-footer with a gloriously rounded swing. Even the inglorious honour of winning the Most Honest Golfer plaque in a National Press Club Tournament failed to convince me to quit. The hacker’s curse had me wholly in its thrall.

Most Honest Player

Most Honest Player

So what else was there to do when that magic moment of retirement from the workaday world arrived? Oh, I tried escaping to other pastimes and pursuits. A little travelling here and there, a bit of reading and dabbling in household chores. A few ventures into writing for fun instead of pay cheques. A lot of time and money on photography. Even a reawakened energy to play the odd game of squash. But all to no avail. Visions of that perfect golf stroke danced provocatively in the mind’s eye awake or asleep. The call of those rolling fairways just was not to be denied.

Well, you never know – maybe there is some way to teach an old dog a few new tricks! So, off I go one cold day in December to check out a brand new golf school, eager to plunk in someone else’s hands the challenge of correcting a few little shortcomings in my game. Just a few tips here and a few practice hours there, and I’d be all set to break 100 by the spring thaw.

A school like this starts out more like a doctor’s office – first steps: testing and diagnosis. Given a few minutes to warm up and swot away with a driver, I see golf pro Steve watching me with practised critical eye.

“You’re not left handed, are you?” It was more like a statement than a question.
“No, but I hit left, just like I used to when I played hockey.”
“Not any more you don’t. You’re going to have to learn to hit right!”
“You’ve got to be kidding. I can’t hit right.”
“Well, you’d better hope you can, ’cause you sure can’t hit left.”
OK, maybe he got that right.

National Press Club Tournament

National Press Club Tournament

And so the unthinkable comes to pass. Under protest, I am given a right hand 7-iron and instructed in the rudiments of swinging it on the right side. I am assured that other duffers – he doesn’t use that word – have been taught to make this change, and some of them are even older than me. How could one say no?

Next move: the patient submits to the shooting of his very own live action video. Front-on and side-on views of the hero banging away at those little white balls on a make believe green fairway. Just to be fair, try hitting left first, and then right.

Second golf pro Mike, who has shot the video, reviews the whole thing with the patient/customer on a TV monitor. Sure enough, something seemed to go better on that right swing. So why not – let’s give it a whirl.

Our home club

Our home club

It can’t get any worse, can it?

Tackling the techno challenge!

Now is the time to get something going with this blog thing. All of a sudden, we’re plunged knee deep into cyber mania or maybe call it techno trivia. It began with wanting a website, and presto, thanks to Adrian’s magic, it all came into being.

Then, old joe ambitious here thought he was ready to blog. So blog #1 fast appeared. But then the lengthiest of lulls. Until now. Partly Christmas distractions maybe, till temptation raised its guileful head.

purple Christmas

purple Christmas

First, the lure of smart phone updating came into play. Not before time, the old phone nearing dotage status after five years or more as a mere long distance phoner.

Smart Phone

Smart Phone

Flashing apps screens by the dozen, fast photo’ing, texting, other charms on offer, a Galaxy family device commanded total absorption throughout Christmas tide. Its downloaded manual of biblical proportions burbles with facts about its capabilities but hard to find pointers on how to do them. Then, in post Christmas fervour, bursting blindly into Facebook, steered hopefully by dummies for seniors.

Facebook page

Facebook page

A veritable trifecta of new age play things, in overnight profusion. Whatever.  My  new found interest in the heralded wonders of social communications probably bears out that ancient l adage that it’s never too late to try something new.