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Readers Letters - January/February 2011

Rhythm is the answer!

I have been asking myself now for quite some time whether to write this letter or not but today I have decided to do it – it could be useful to some other golfers.

I first saw Golf International during a trip to the UK in June. At one of the golf courses we visited Gi was available to read in the clubhouse and I took advantage of the opportunity. I was very interested in the content, so much so that I took the magazine home with me and have since become a subscriber. In that issue (June) I read John Novosel’s article on Tiger Woods’ swing troubles – ‘Swinging to an Erratic Beat’. It was fascinating and I have since applied Novosel’s writing on the rhythm of the golf swing to my own game – with pleasing results.

To make a long story short, I started counting on my backswing – ‘1, 2, 3’ – which I found really helped my timing. Taking Novosel’s advice, I focused on gradual acceleration so that the ratio of my backswing to downswing was 3:1 (that being the magical ratio, according to his study). I am only an average player – 15 handicap – but this focus on my timing has transformed my golf. Other players at my club here in France took notice of what I was doing and several have started counting in the same way.

Moreover, I have also enjoyed a real improvement in my short game, an area that before I had real trouble with. Counting now 2 frames for this kind of swing (i.e. sand, pitch, 9-iron) has enabled me to take just the right amount of divot (which you seldom see women do), and many times other golfers have commented on my accuracy and consistency.

And so many thanks to you and to Mr Novosel for his valuable advice. I look forward to reading more suggestions that will help my game.
Mrs M. Boguschewsky Berthecourt, France

More please!

No doubt your invitation to comment upon Alan Winter’s suggestions to improve the game (in your Letters pages, Nov/Dec) has brought many responses. I’m sure some of these have argued the need to have different rules for the pro game while others have pleaded against this.

Personally I can see the merit in a tournament ball and a reduced number of clubs (especially the high lofted wedges) in order to make televised golf more interesting. Just please don’t inflict these limitations on me! I love the way modern golf ball enables me to achieve soaring distance with my driver and create spin with my irons. They seem to be less prone to getting blown about on the wind, too. And my occasional mis-hits don’t immediately scuff up the cover and render the ball obsolete. Which saves me money.

The technological advances in equipment have made clubs so easy to hit that I don’t fear using any club in the bag, and because they all do their job well I’d hate to have to leave any out. Better still why not increase the number us club golfers can carry!

Perhaps a second driver of 12 degrees or more to use as an even easier option than a 3-wood off the tee? Certainly a highly lofted fairway wood, say 30 degrees, to pop the ball high out of the rough and from fairway traps whilst still getting distance. And I would like the option to be able to include a low bounce lob wedge as well as a normal sand wedge. So let’s see – about 17 clubs would do me! (Actually, make that 18 – my usual putter isn’t too good from long range, so a heavier back-up model would prove useful in that department!) I also think there is a sound business case for the above. Because any loss the manufacturers might make from the professional players not carrying and thus endorsing all their clubs would be negated by the likes of me buying more of them anyway.

Everyone’s a winner…!
A Snell West Ewell, Surrey

Better not to travel at all?

In the November/December issue of Golf International Clive Agran’s treatise on a holiday without golf struck such a chord with me.

Because in an effort to glean every last bit of parenthood pleasure before our daughter becomes a teenager my wife (and me, apparently) agreed that we would leave my clubs at home this year and have a purely family holiday. With that decision made I magnanimously left all the arrangements to the two of them. I no longer had any specialist interest (like proximity to a Jack Nicklaus course), so why not? I’ll tell you why not – they didn’t just choose Portugal, they chose the Algarve.

So there I was on the approach to Faro getting an aerial view of the spectacular Vale Do Lobo cliff-top holes. At the airport I was just about the only person picking suitcases off the carousel rather than golf clubs. On the motorway we sped past the new and impressive Amendoeira Faldo / O’Connor tracks. And on our days at Slide and Splash waterpark, as we waited again and again in the queue for my daughter's favourite kamikaze slide, I had a view of a beautiful looking Nick Price design, Gramacho.

I never thought I’d say it, but roll on the teenage years.
N Horwood Sutton Common, Surrey

Golf drops a clanger

Have you ever been asked about your hobbies and hesitated to mention golf? There have been at least a couple of times that I have and I know of other golfaholics who will admit to the same. Why is that? Because of the perception that golf is dull? Because it is mostly played by the well-off elderly? Because of the way it mistreats women and juniors? Or because it is governed by a myriad of stupid rules?

At the play-off in Dubai once again golf shot itself in the foot by allowing a silly ruling to grab all the headlines – and didn’t it grab the headlines! In my office there is always a bit of banter on a Monday morning following the weekend of sport. Ordinarily this is dominated by the antics of some over-rated and over-paid footballer. But even Berbatov’s goal-fest could not divert my colleagues away from ridiculing golf and its silly officialdom.

Picture the scene. It’s the end of a long season. A major winner has already secured the Race to Dubai/ Order of Merit and two terrific players are left to duel a playoff for the last title. Can you imagine a more ridiculous anti-climax than the match ending on the careless drop of a ball? Any non-golfer could not.

They’ve been glued to the televised golf, enjoying some truly fantastic shot-making and real excitement down the stretch. To then see Ian Poulter denied by a ridiculous rule only sours their view of our great game. And this at a time when golf desperately needs to be attracting new participants!

Contrast that with the magical Federer/Nadal final at the O2 that same Sunday afternoon. What a brilliant advert for tennis.

Now, I do understand why rules about marking your ball are important, as indeed are many of the rules that may, at first, seem weird to outsiders.

But it seems to me that those rules are there to help us amateurs police our game. Surely they’re not needed for the professional game where there are rules officials, spectators and cameras to ensure the spirit of the game is upheld?

It would have been so easy for the referee to consult with Robert Karlsson, explain what happened, and suggest that Poulter’s ball be replaced as closely to where it originally lay, with absolutely no advantage gained. But then that would mean having different rules for pros and amateurs – something that is obviously required given that televised golf depends upon it’s entertainment value, yet somehow one step too far.

Had Karlsson been a similar distance from the hole it would have been marvellous to have seen him three-putt on purpose after Poults made his bogey to so the two of them could have returned to the 18th tee one more time to settle the matter in a fashion the tournament deserved. As it was, of course, he had pitched very close (for the third time in succession) and indeed made a great birdie to take the title. All credit to him – but what a ludicrous rule!
P Wells, via email

Editor’s note: It was farcical – as so many of golf’s rules are. Had Poulter hit his third shot as close as Karlsson and then incurred the penalty it would have all looked very silly. My question is where is the Equity in all this? Had the referee the power to officiate under the rule of Equity, and asked Karlsson if he had any objection to Poulter replacing his ball, I am fairly certain the Swede would have agreed. All it takes is common sense...


Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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