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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.

Before I married my very beautiful wife Judith three years ago, I explained to her that I was a golf nut. She seemed perfectly happy with that and promised not to come between me and the game I love. She didn’t even object when I took her to Doonbeg – a spectacular golf resort in Ireland – for our honeymoon. She loved it, happily caddied for me and said she had never been happier in her life.

Although very keen, I must confess that I’m not terribly good at the game. In fact, I’ve never broken 100. Crashing through the magic century barrier has always been my dream. Stuart, a very good friend of mine who is something of a sports psychologist – and, coincidentally, went out with Judith a few years ago – persuaded me that the only way I would ever achieve my goal was to make some supreme sacrifice and deny myself something that I desperately wanted until I broke 100. In that way, he assured me, I would hasten the day that I finally fulfilled my dream.

We thought about what I should forego and finally settled on sex. Okay, I said, I won’t indulge in sex until I break 100. It’s been nearly eight months now and although I’ve come close with rounds of 103 and 105, I’ve still not done it. The problem, which will come as no surprise to you, is that abstinence is putting an almost intolerable strain on my marriage. Despite her earlier promise of not coming between me and my golf, Judith is now threatening to leave me.

R Kearney, Saffron Walden

Reluctant though I am to question his motives, has it not occurred to you that Stuart might still fancy Judith and is trying to wreck your marriage? In any case, research has dramatically demonstrated how much more effective incentives are as compared with penalties. The carrot is more efficacious than the whip. You must make love to your wife as soon after reading this as is practical. Then tell her that, when you break 100, you’ll take her back to Doonbeg to celebrate.

About 10 years ago when I retired, I used the lump sum from my pension payout to buy a modest little villa in the Algarve. Because I took the lump sum, my pension annuity is considerably reduced but still just sufficient to enable my wife and I to fly out to Faro twice a year to play golf. Because we leave a couple of old sets out there, we are spared the punitive costs budget airlines charge for sports equipment. However, as we grow older, we find queuing to board the aircraft increasingly unappealing. We can’t really afford ‘speedy boarding’ and, in any case, I resent swelling the airlines’ coffers by paying for sneaky extras.

A J R Woolerton, Winchester

You must join the speedy boarders when they’re invited to board the aircraft. You will inevitably be stopped by whoever is checking the boarding cards and asked to stand to one side, which will effectively be at the head of the regular queue. You will then be the very first to follow the speedy boarders and will be able to choose from a wide choice of available seats. To deflect any resentment those who have been queuing patiently for the best part of half-an hour might feel towards you, you should explain to whoever’s checking the boarding cards that you’re very hard of hearing and that you mis-heard the announcement. At your age, that’s a very plausible excuse and those now behind you in the queue should feel less antipathy.

I’m a vicar who, for very obvious reasons, can’t play golf on Sundays. However, I regularly join three friends on Monday morning and usually have an enjoyable round. However, I know that Michael, who is one of the three, not only always plays on Sunday but also invariably ‘borrows’ my electric trolley. Although I appreciate that it’s not very Christian of me, I very much resent it and wish he would desist. Apart from anything else, I have to pay the club for the electricity I use when charging the battery while Michael contributes nothing. It’s not a huge sum but we vicars don’t earn very much.

Reverend James Catchpole, Prestatyn

After your next Monday round, instead of putting the battery on charge leave it on so the power drains away. Then, before you go to church the following Sunday, plug it in so that it has some charge and pray Michael doesn’t spot anything untoward, which he shouldn’t. The battery will soon go flat and leave him stranded out on the course somewhere, preferably a long way from the clubhouse. The hassle and effort of pushing a non-functioning electric trolley for the rest of the round should prove a salutary lesson which you might care to reinforce with an appropriate biblical reference or sermon on the following day; perhaps something along the lines of ‘The Power of the Lord’.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 
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