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.
Even though I have always been a very much
better golfer than he is, my regular playing partner
and I have golfed together more or less
every week for the past 15 years. In that time we
have become the very best of friends and
never forget to buy each other a birthday
present. Because he had expressed
an interest in them, for his last birthday
I gave him one of those power, balance,
sports, bracelet, hologram wristbands.
He was thrilled and the effect
on his game was both immediate and
dramatic. He has steadily improved and
come down, believe it or not, from a 21
handicap to 12 in ten months and is now
only one shot worse than me. Because I
was hugely cynical about their effectiveness,
instead of purchasing a proper
wristband for what I thought was a
vastly inflated sum, I spent considerably
less on an imitation one on eBay.
Feeling incredibly guilty about deceiving
an old friend, I now feel compelled
to own up to my deceit but can’t seem
to find an appropriate moment.
G LAMBERT, TUNBRIDGE WELLS
Reluctant though I am to do it, I feel obliged
to question your motive in now wanting to
reveal your dark secret to your good friend.
Do you feel guilty or threatened? If you are
genuinely contrite about giving him a fake
present, should you not have said something
long before now?
Perhaps you have said
nothing because it’s only recently that he has
challenged your supremacy. Although it’s a
fake, your friend clearly believes in his wristband
and that is why it has worked. To reveal
to him now that it’s not genuine would
almost certainly undermine his belief and
I’ve no doubt that his game would suffer as a
consequence. If, as I hope it does, your friendship
matters more than being a better golfer,
you should say nothing but instead consider
buying a wristband yourself in the hope that
it might do for you what it has done for him.
I’ve been very happily married to the same
lovely woman for nearly 22 years. Although she
doesn’t much care for the game herself, my wife
is perfectly okay about me playing golf as often
as I like and, partly because of this, my handicap
is now in single figures. Even though we have
three beautiful children, she has never once
complained about the amount of time I spend on
the golf course. For my part, throughout our
I have never once been unfaithful. Indeed,
even though I have a very important job in
the fashion industry and am surrounded by extremely
pretty women, I honestly hardly notice
them. However, whenever I’m playing golf and
spot a woman on a fairway, no matter how unattractive
my playing partners assure me she is, I
fancy her. Frequently my friends have to physically
restrain me in the bar after a round from
chatting up women I’ve spotted out on the
course. This behaviour is embarrassing me enormously
but I can’t seem to stop it.
NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD
You are obviously a very successful and fortunate
man who has a beautiful wife and
family, a top job, enough money and, I dare
say, a sound swing and solid short game. But
not many of us are ever satisfied with what
we have. The only serious disappointment in
your life is that you wife, although beautiful
and understanding, doesn’t play golf. This
disappointment manifests itself in this seemingly
inexplicable attraction to anyone of the
opposite sex who can swing a club. There is
only solution, you must buy your wife a set of
clubs, a few lessons and insist that she take
up the game.
About three years ago I was suddenly
stricken by the yips since when I have
tried every grip imaginable in a desperate
attempt to find a cure. Far from solving
the problem, it has grown
progressively worse. Not only that, but I
have also recently developed an involuntary
scream whenever – which is pretty well
every time – I miss a makeable putt. Although
my playing partners are willing to
put up with my dreadful putting, they won’t tolerate
my screaming and I am finding it increasingly
difficult to find people at my club who are
prepared to play with me.
R M TAIT, CUMBERNAULD
You say you have tried every grip imaginable.
How about gripping the handle of your
putter between your clenched teeth? That
should put a stop to the screaming and enable
you to vent your frustration by silently
biting the grip instead.
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine