On teaching

Well my tournament golf is certainly at a low point with successive 86’s on the Eden in the last 2 medals. My handicap is currently 8.7 and I’ve been agonizingly going through swing adjustments over the past few months.

I’m now going down the self-teach route, as my experience with golf instructors per se has been awful. You tube is handy for watching different swing actions and does give some insight. But like ski teaching there are far too many little fixes out there which can leave you heading rapidly down the 19th hole road.

I taught skiing for 15 years and am very cynical about the efficacy of a lot of the teaching out there too, to be honest. In fact most of the canon is pretty drivel and you only have to sit at the bottom of Hillend for half an hour at ski school time, to get an idea of the paltry, inane stuff that is dressed up in the name of professional ski instruction.

For mostly you learn to ski by watching and finding a natural balanced posture that suits you. You can’t really be told how to ski.

I always go back to the commencement of ‘teaching’ ski turns. There are chapters in ski manuals about pressure and angles and other mind busting stuff (squeezing your big toe nonetheless!), people being made to hold their hands on their knees and all such ridiculous piffle.

However, I found the best and most immediate way was to get the pupil behind me, head down the slope, start turning and say ‘follow me’. And they did.

And they did it naturally. Without their head full of unwanted, restricting and damaging nonsense.

The same mostly goes for golf I think, but after a few fundamentals are appreciated. A good balanced set up, a square take away and then a good coil of the body involving a slight tightening of the abdomen and a full shoulder turn.

It’s taken me forty years to approach getting this right and ridding my mind of bad habits born through bad teaching and my own misunderstanding. It’s a fact that the person who has given me by far the most insight into the dynamic of the golf swing is my local butcher.

Anyway, I must say I feel mildly confident with things now. But only mildly. It’s still very early days.

Let’s watch this space over the forthcoming year to see if the kilted caddie’s new golf method works for the kilted caddie.

And by the way, anyone wanting a kilted caddie ski experience (yes experience not lesson), can take me out to Val D’Isere for a week at that new 5 star pad.

I specialise in apres-ski.

Crazy Golf

It was indeed crazy golf at the end of the women’s ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills, which saw Mirim Lee chip in for the third time of the day to secure a playoff place and eventually win at the first extra hole.

But that third chip-in was not the craziest part of the day. Because that centred around a tarpaulin ‘wall’ erected behind the green on the last. Officials seemingly wanted to recreate the feeling of the usual grandstand. But all they did was effectively provide a wide back-stop to dropping into the lake. It was so placed that it invited an over-hit second shot on the critical par 5 last and a free drop from the back of the green. Mirim seemingly hit a huge hook into it, dropped and as said, chipped in for her eagle.

But this is surely not cricket? Or in fact maybe it is more cricket than golf? Well at the least it was crazy golf. For such a situation in a major is just crazy.

The LPGA should have some serious questions to answer over it. They should surely have envisioned this farcical outcome?

And I suggest a wee rule change whereby this cannot again happen. You should not be allowed to gain advantage by intentionally hitting into a place whereby you gain the advantage of a free drop.

The kilted caddie rule.

Now, there’s a crazy thought?

Oh, I can just sense my destined calling to the Bautherwhillery Club becoming ever so much closer to a reality. Think I could make quite a rum job of it on the rules committee.

Crazy how things work out.

Watch your balls!

I was rather aghast and taken aback yesterday, as two older couples were party to stealing my ball which I hit to the front of the 18th green on the Old.

Not only did one of them steal it (one of the ‘gentlemen’ by all accounts), but they all denied it when I ran and confronted them! Blatantly lied to my face! How very pitiful. I had to make the salient point that we had all left primary school. Indeed way back.

Two guys, independently, who were looking on at the 18th green, attested to the fact that one bloke in that group had definitely picked up my ball. They willingly gave me their names and numbers in evidence.

I immediately phoned the New Club Secretary to complain and got a very sympathetic ear from the nice and helpful chap there.

The Links Trust chap, however, was not so keen to pursue the matter and asked me what I think he should do about it? saying that they were snowed under.

In fact he kind of irritated me a bit when he asked if I’d apologised for hitting into them! To which I rather pointed out that I was not going to apologize for hitting into them after one bloke had nabbed my ball.

Bit of a shame all round. It was the first time I’d driven the eighteenth and a wee birdie would have secured the match.

Such is my luck!

But it does still appear that the Links Trust and me are nay entirely on the same wavelength yet like?

Swedish virologist had huge point

Yes I remember listening with great interest to the Swedish virologist chap who masterminded that country’s alternative response to the Covid pandemic.

And what he said most presciently was that once you are into a lockdown, it’s very hard to come out of it.

I don’t think this was at the forefront of Boris and clan’s minds’ as they quickly put the UK into a full scale lockdown back in March. And I suppose that’s very understandable. But what truth is in the statement now as our country struggles to get back to work and find a coherent policy and way forward. It’s become a nightmare and you just feel that the political response is very unsatisfactory and just wildly shooting in the dark.

It bodes very badly for the UK economy for sure and I don’t see any easy way back now. You just have to be very surprised that there’s not been a much bigger hit on the stock market. The jobs market is getting dire and heaven help the many independent business’s on the edge of all this.

And in the meantime we seem to have forgotten all about Brexit.

But what a relief that is.

Poor poor Anthony McGill

I was fortunate enough to watch one of the most extraordinary games of snooker ever yesterday. And it was most extraordinary.

Anthony McGill had valiantly fought back in the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship against much higher seeded Kyren Wilson and looked like he had the final game and match sewn up. In fact the way he was potting you would have placed a sizeable wager upon it. He had a simplish ball off the cushion to push two reds into the middle of the table and set up a pretty straightforward clearance. But remarkably the white ball somehow whistled through a ball’s width gap between the two reds and ended the break. I reckon if he’d actually tried to execute that shot he would have been there the remainder of the day. But it went through and ended his break.

Kyren then hit a poor shot and it looked like he had left a sitter for Anthony, but was just saved by a green ball, which made what was looking like a simple pot, now impossible. Kyren breathed again.

A few shots later Kyren put Anthony in a deadly snooker. Anthony tried eight times to get out and failed. Kyren then had a one shot lead and so necessitating Anthony to make a snooker. With the balls as they were positioned this looked well nigh impossible and so he decided to take command and the next shot. But then something remarkable happened. He was attempting a very low risk shot in putting the white safe down the table, but got a fluke kiss which sent it into the middle pocket! Kyren shouted ‘no’. The unfathomably unimaginable had happened.

Anthony was somehow back in the game! But the the plot thickened again as Kyren unintentionally potted a ball, basically a fluke, to again require Anthony to get a snooker. Kyren was visibly ashamed at this ridiculous stroke of luck, apologising to a now shell-shocked Anthony and both men looked they were going to burst into tears (and one kill another).

The commentator made the salient point though, that Kyren would have to gather himself to finish this off now, because it wasn’t quite over with the pink and black still on the table. However, as Steven Hendry commented, it was almost impossible now for Kyren to lose.

However, Kyren hit a safety shot and almost staggered in disbelief at what he’d just done, for he should not have done what he’d just done, and any sane professional snooker player in this situation would not have done what he’d just done, for he hit a safety shot with a tiny, tiny chance of a double-kiss and the white ball going into the corner pocket. And he should not have done that.

And for one unbearable second, for it must have been truly unbearable after all that had just passed, it very nearly did, as Kyren’s white ball perilously wobbled over the pocket. His heart must have been not only in his mouth but heavily weighing his jaw Crucible-floor-bound. It actually would have been too ridiculous for words after all this. It would have almost in fact been tragic. I don’t think he would ever have recovered from that to be honest.

But most unbelievably fortunate for Kyren, it didn’t drop and you could see him remonstrate with himself for the crazy waywardness of that shot. For it was indeed crazy.

So how can I end this?

Well, as Kyren was seen to say to members of his family in the audience as he worked through this episode.

‘This is mad’

Yes it was.

Golf swing

The golf swing is a complex thing. Well let me clarify. My golf swing is a complex thing.

But now I may even clarify this. I think I can now put the latter statement into the past tense.

And this may be the most wonderful thing to have happened to me for a very long while indeed. Well apart maybe from Nirodhi coming in at 8 to 1 in the 4.55 at Haydock yesterday.

But I do think I’ve made a quantum leap with my golf. And it’s been a most protracted story to get to here may I say. Actually a 45 year journey. A painful one at that.

I can’t be certain about this for sure. And of course the acid test will be my forthcoming outings with a card in hand. But put it this way, I’d be putting me at odds-on favourite at having cracked it this time. We’ll see how the handicap fares? It’s eight now.

And of course you will want to know the changes I’ve made? And you shall. But you will have to wait. It’s too secret and valuable stuff that. Hard earned too I’d say.

I’ve been pretty entranced by the World Championship snooker to be honest. It’s a pretty fascinating game all told and has major parallels in golf. Technique, ball striking and of course mentality.

I’m wholly impressed with Kyren Wilson. For a man of 28 he’s sure got a composed head on his shoulders and is a brilliant player. Of course he’ll find it hard to break Ronnie O’Sullivan who looks nothing but a genius with a snooker cue in hand. But at 3 to 1 my money is on Kyren.

I’m back into my old club, Mortonhall, next year which is lovely, as it’s a super course and club, and is well tied up with memories and all that. I will be looking forward to a few Mortonhall Casual Barmy Army matches and gunning for a second champ win.

I wonder if they ever found their trophy?

It kind of went missing and occasioned many interesting and well tramelled conspiracy theories. My money is on the Earl of Wessex. Nice chap but mad as a hatter.

And I suppose you could say that’s quite ripe coming from moi?

Fair weather player and tribute to Miguel

After yesterday’s round in the rain on the Eden I am now firmly of the opinion that I’m a full-on fair weather player. Like skiing I don’t enjoy the sport otherwise. Into the bargain I’ve now got a bad cold and I shot a glorious no-return.

All a bit of a shame because I thought I was onto something really big with my golf swing. But is this just another false dawn? I hope and think not, but it’s a wily old game golf.

I was never fortunate enough to have a good solid natural swing and I really wonder at other people’s struggles with it. I am very sceptical about golf tuition per se to be honest, but that may be just because my bag of golf tricks swing was just too much for the golf pros that I encountered over the years.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of golf lessons but to no avail. So now I suppose I go more down the self analysis route and the use of video is entirely enlightening here. I watch you tube videos and pick up ideas etc. But still it’s all wonderfully hard and there are many turns and twists down wrong alleyways.

And then you look at someone like Miguel Jimenez and his story and you are left to wonder. This guy who doesn’t have the most polished swing in the world, came from a poor background with I imagine little recourse to any funding or pleasantries, then burst onto the main professional golf tour aged 18 and has been there since. Yesterday he tee’d up in his 707th European Tour event, aged 56, and lies in second place after an 8 under round.

He’s obviously had a fabulous life doing what he’s loved and has now all the trappings of success that he has deservedly achieved (importantly good rioja, alongside the fit blonde, the Ferrari and the fifteen million bank balance)

What I really wonder about him though is how he thinks about the golf swing and if he had a good teacher and the trials that he has had mastering this oh so difficult game.

Yes his biography is one book that I would certainly read. I think he’s a bit of an old character to say the least.

And it’s a shame that some of the young guns nowadays seem well bereft of that. It seems they are mostly all rather production line types.

But oh la to Miguel.

Seniors Golf

Today is a big day for me.

I’m playing at 11.20am on the Old against Adrian Simpson in the first round of a St Andrews Golf Club match play competition, The Seniors Cup!

Does that mean I’m old? Plus 55, over the hill, downward trajectory, past it, yesterday’s man, and all that?

Not a whit! I’m in fine shape and feel like a thirty year old, albeit the hair’s flown and I’m not allowed to eat and drink for Scotland anymore. But that’s a very good thing indeed.

My golf is also showing latent potential. I’m now much more cognizant of the dynamics of the golf swing. In fact I’m hitting it as far as ever and it even goes straight sometimes.

But of course, this old age lark is relative as well. My friend Azzie was telling me about Dr Carrie who is in fine form at 88, still getting his 3 rounds a week and managed to get out practicing on the West Sands, every day, all throughout lockdown.

Hope I’m able to do that in 30 years time. And maybe be able to join him in the ranks of the Bautherwhillery Club too.

But that’s another matter.

Hope springs eternal and all that.

What a complete load of tommyrot

I had been reflecting on the issues surrounding Boris well before he got in as PM. But it’s only now that he’s confirmed his status as a class-act buffoon.

That bobbling, blustering, blundering, babbling, bimbo-headed, back-slapping Bullingdon Beedle Bard, should only really be allowed into the pages of a PG Wodehouse novel. And certainly not into number 10 in any real capacity.

Last night’s press briefing was embarrassingly bad. Not only was he still unaware as to how the thing ran when he missed the cue to read a question out, he brazenly stood up to the country and gave such a pitiful and inexcusable defence of young Dom, who has been caught slipping up to the old in-laws castle in Durham when he and his wife were showing symptoms of covid. And yes with their 4 year old son (in the car all that way!) Not least either that the father in law is in his eighties! And that our Dom was spotted on a ‘day out’ at a nice wee village 30 miles away (I suppose his symptoms may have abated a bit?).

Deary me.

But Boris you should have got advice on this old boy, because we know how calamitously out of touch you are. But yes, I suppose you did. Dom profered it!

And it appears now that he’s as arrogant, insensitive and over-privileged as they come.

And that you’re as wet as a whistle.

Steer clear for Keir.

Now that’s a fair old slogan. What do you think Dom?

Department of Injustice and wobbly Bertie

You have to be slightly aghast at the goings on across the pond in their high-end Justice Department. For this is what has happened. That bloke, General (nonetheless!) Mike Flynn, who was Trumpy’s first national security advisor got caught (and admitted) telling lies to the FBI about talking to the Russian Government. Fact.

But the case has now been chucked out by Trumpy selected, Attorney General Bill Barr, on the grounds that the FBI didn’t have to ask the question to Flynn (because they knew the answer already!) and therefore Bill has lobbed out the case.

Flynn can only think that Christmas has come rather formidably and rather early. While Trumpy has made the astonishing claim that Flynn has been exonerated!

Yes. Exonerated! (and I’m pretty sure that Don does know what exonerated means)

For the love of Christ! Give me strength.

But that’s what has actually happened. Seriously.

Added to this, Paul Manafort, served one year of a 7 year sentence in jail and has now wangled his way out to spend the rest of his term under house arrest (because of the risk of Covid even though there is no trace of it in his jail), drinking Crozes Hermitage, tucked up in Egyptian cotton and eider down with the wife, counting his numerous pennies (got from who knows where?) and having a bit of a laugh on the phone to Donald, I’ll bet.

It’s all beyond belief. Next thing we’ll see that, oh so unbelievably nauseating, Roger Stone set free.

One thing that poor old Bertie does not feel anymore, by the way.

Yesterday, at the end of Prime Minister Questions, he looked like he’d been 10 rounds with Tyson Fury and rather wishng someone else was facing the acute onslaught coming from the other side of the house. Sir Keir Starmer QC, had him well and truly against the ropes from the opening bell and it was painful to watch.

Sorry Bojo, but this job is not a thing you can bluster your way through. We’re not in the Bullingdon Club no more. This is serious. And I feel it’s going to get a lot worse for you old boy.

I don’t think it’s going to be the Churchillian dream job you had envisaged.