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.
For the last seven or eight years I have regularly
played golf with an old friend ofmine
on the third Wednesday of every month.
We visit the same 12 courses every year
and it’s always been great fun. However,
my friend is becoming what I would terma
‘grass bore’, that is to say he seems to continually
steer our conversation back to the
extremely dull subject of grass and then
bangs on and on and on about the relative
merits of bent, fescue, rye, Bermuda, yawn,
yawn, yawn. His latest favourite topic is
over-seeding. He’s drivingmemad! I
don’t want to say anything to offend him
but I can’t takemuchmore of it and am
rapidly coming to the regrettable conclusion
that, unless I can stop him, I shall have
to give up what have in the past been very
enjoyable golf games.
S KILLICK, LEWES
‘Grass bores’, as you call them, are unbearably
dull to the point of terminal tedium
and I very much sympathise with
your predicament. The obvious trick here is
to discourage your friend from talking
about grass without giving offence, thereby
preserving both your sanity and the admirable
institution of your monthly encounters.
I suggest you take a big box of tissues to
your next game and sneeze every time your
friend mentions grass..When he asks if you
have a cold explain that you suffer from a
condition that is similar to hay fever but
much rarer, harder to treat and a yearround
problem. Say that you
have developed an
allergy to the mere mention of the word
‘grass’ and everything connected with it.
Even if someone were to say, for example,
something seemingly innocent like ‘mowers’,
you would suffer a slight reaction. Although
you are on medication that is not dissimilar
to anti-histamine, there is, as yet, no
known cure and the only thing you can
do, at least for the time being, is avoid
all conversations involving grass.
Reg, the greenkeeper atmy club was fired
about six months ago because, frankly, he
spent more time searching for balls than he
did maintaining the course. Feeling sorry for
the bloke, who’s in his early 60s, I offered
him two days work a week gardening in my
modest country estate. Although he’s
happy to mow the meadow where, incidentally,
I practise my pitching, he is very reluctant
to doing the necessary digging and
weeding in my vegetable patch.
SIR WALTER FFRENCH-STATELY,
Greenkeepers often have
an arrangement with the
pro shop whereby they
sell them any balls they
find. Even though he no
longer works there, it’s entirely
possible that your man
still supplies your pro shop and that’s
why he’s keen to mow the meadow
where doubtless he finds plenty of
balls. I suggest you discontinue pitching
in the meadow and instead start
chipping in and around the vegetable
patch. You might even try
burying a few balls among your potatoes
as they might encourage Reg to get
I have an awful feeling that my views are considered
worthless and I’m being totally ignored. It’s
very upsetting because I have some very definite
and strongly held opinions, which I believe
are worth expressing. Take golf, for example.
I love the game but believe that there are a
number of aspects to it that need remedying.
To this end I have written dozens and dozens of
letters to the Editors of various golf magazines –
including Golf International – on controversial
topics as varied as equipment, drugs, prizemoney
and Peter Alliss. In fact, over the years I’ve
penned no fewer than 117 letters to golfmagazines
and amstill waiting for the first one to be
published. Please, can you help me?
P TMURPHY, ASTON
Yes, I just have.
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine