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 DR FELIX SHANK

Do you have a golf problem that’s keeping you awake at night?
Is there some aspect of your game that you simply can’t sort out?
Stop worrying because Dr Felix Shank, a more or less genuine expert on all aspects of the game, is here to help.
Illustrations by Tony Husband.

A very good friend called Andy snapped his driver about six weeks ago when he and I were playing a friendly game. As I was flying to Spain the following day, I said he could keep mine for the time being. I returned from holiday to the dreadful news that Andy had died of a heart attack on the golf course. He and I had known each other for more than 40 years and had enjoyed literally hundreds of rounds together.

Naturally, I went to the funeral and have kept in close touch with his family. I have tried to bring up the subject of my driver on several occasions but it seems so heartless to fret about a club when a man has died. I would like my driver back but how can I go about recovering it without upsetting everyone?

J K O’LEARY, SHANNON, EIRE

You’re absolutely right it would create a bad impression if you simply said that you would like your driver back. What you should say is that you would dearly love something to remind you of Andy and all the wonderful games you enjoyed together. Say that you and he had often swapped drivers so as to negate any advantage either of you might enjoy because one driver might be better than the other and therefore his driver would be the most fitting memorial you could possibly imagine.

I’m fortunate in being able to afford membership of an extremely smart golf and country club. It's one of those clubs that has a box by the first tee in which there are tee-pegs, pencils and ballmarkers from which players are welcome to help themselves. Every year I invite my socialist brother to come as my guest for a round of golf and lunch afterwards. The problem is that he metaphorically fills his boots with dozens of teepegs, numerous pencils and a fistful of ball-markers.

He has separate compartments in his golf bag for each of these items and stuffs so many in that there literally isn’t room for any more. Although he of course says nothing, the starter raises his eyebrows and I’m sure mentions it to others in the club. I know that I could tell my brother to exercise restraint but that would only provoke a tedious tirade about the inequities of capitalism.

M AARONSON, FARNHAM ROYAL

Over the course of the next few weeks you must accumulate all the tee-pegs, pencils and ball-markers you can. Then, when you come to play your brother and he is in the changing room, you must fill the compartments in his bag with everything he normally takes. Then, when the time comes, there won’t be room for any more and you will at least be spared the sight of your brother helping himself to fistfuls of bourgeois booty.

Like you, I write a regular agony column but mine is in a rather raunchy men’s magazine. I’ve been doing it now for nearly seven years and am finding it increasingly stressful coming up everymonth with solutions to my readers often rather sick problems. What is more, I fear that reading lurid accounts of sexual deviation is adversely affecting my own love life to the point where I now find myself progressively less interested in sex. Indeed, although still a bachelor and only in my late 30s, I haven’t slept with a woman for more than a year. The irony is, of course, that, unlike my readers, I have no one to turn to… except perhaps you. A keen but not very good golfer, I have always enjoyed reading your column and wonder whether you might be able to offer any advice to a fellow practitioner.

NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD

I was a single-figure handicapper when offered this job roughly five years ago but immediately recognised that, to be able to give correspondents the very best advice I needed to be sufficiently detached from the game to be objective and so I quit golf. Curiously, the concomitant effect was that I became sexually very much more active. Indeed, after 12 years without any success in starting a family, my wife and I have had three babies since I accepted this job. So my advice to you is forget about sex, focus on your golf and let me know what happens to your handicap.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 
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