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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.

I played recently in a celebrity-am in the Midlands to help raise money for a children’s charity. My celebrity was a very well known actor whom I used to quite like.

Caddying for him was an extremely attractive, blonde, young lady called Samantha who, not altogether unsurprisingly, turned out not to be his wife but a girlfriend. They giggled, frolicked and cuddled their way round. Although I thought their behaviour inappropriate for a golf event, I nevertheless suppressed my disapproval for the good of the team.

When we came to the final hole the celebrity asked if we wouldn’t mind if Sabrina hit one off the tee and, furthermore, suggested she try my new, extremely expensive driver. To cut a sad story short, by hitting about two feet behind the ball, she somehow contrived to snap it. As if that wasn’t enough, both she and the celebrity seemed to find the whole episode hilarious. Instead of paying me for a replacement, he offered a signed photograph of himself instead. Needless to say, I declined the offer. Although it all happened over a week ago, I’m not only still seething but also seriously out of pocket.

R T JENKINS, PORT TALBOT

You might be interested to learn that I’ve played in three celebrity-ams as, would you believe, a celebrity! Although only one of my playing partners had ever heard of me and all of them, I suspect, must have felt fairly disappointed to be teamed up with an obscure academic, I was nevertheless able to offer them wise counsel during the course of the round and like to think that, by the end of it, they were not altogether sorry that I was their ‘celebrity’. As for your celebrity, he should have promptly given you the money to buy another driver. Since he acted so badly you should have no qualms whatsoever about tipping off one of the red-tops about his infidelity. They pay handsomely for such juicy showbiz titbits and, after replacing your driver, you should have enough left over for a couple of dozen balls at least.

I’m a security guard who is fortunate in being able to watch TV while at work and am writing this immediately after the USPGA Championship on Sky Sports. It was thrilling, as were all the other majors this year. But now I feel totally bereft and will almost certainly spiral down into a deep depression as I do every year because I feel there is nothing of consequence happening in my life until next year.

You see, I don’t care about the FedEx Cup or the Race to Dubai or who wins the Latvian Open, I’m only interested in the majors. And now stretched out in front of me are months and months of bleak and joyless winter nights. I’m honestly not sure I can survive. You have to help me!

PATRICK CURTIS, READING

Your condition is a variant on SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). To be honest, your work is aggravating the problem. Because of a lack of daylight, in the winter months your body will be producing too much Melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy, and not enough Serotonin, the lack of which causes depression. In short, quitting your job and working outside in the fresh air would help. However, I appreciate that that may not be feasible and, in any case, switching jobs would cost you your valued perk of being paid to watch Sky Sports. Depression is, of course, a state of mind and it would therefore help if you shifted your perspective. So instead of regarding the USPGA as the final major, you should think of it as the first. The Open then becomes the fitting climax of the year after which you don’t have long to wait before the new season of majors gets underway with the USPGA. If that doesn’t work, try watching compilation DVDs of former championships for a couple of hours each day whilst sitting under several 200-watt bulbs.

A friend of mine is not a member of a club and consequently likes to play fairly frequently at mine. I don’t mind, especially as he pays the guest’s green fee. However, he never helps me look for my ball, which I find extremely irritating. Whenever I go into the deep rough he claims to be “starving” and, rather than help me, starts eating the blackberries, mushrooms, damsons, wild asparagus or whatever else he can find.

DANIEL TAYLOR, KENILWORTH

Whenever he starts grazing you should say something along the lines of, “I shouldn’t have too many of those if I were you as they sprayed the rough earlier this week with deadly Ingratisbastardiocillium.” As it’s hard to enjoy anything that might be killing you, he should give up this deplorable practice immediately.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 
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