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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.

Not only does my father-in-law look rather like Nigel Farage, he shares a lot of his opinions and attitudes. His only redeeming feature, in my eyes at any rate, is that he’s a keen golfer. Aware that I go to The Open most years, he has often hinted he would like to accompany me because he loves watching top competitive golf. However, I’ve sat and watched golf on TV with him several times and find his rabid xenophobia rather hard to take. He screams abuse at every non-British golfer and cheers loudly whenever they miss a putt or hit a bad shot. Then, if a ‘foreigner’ wins, he’s really annoyed. Frankly, I don’t fancy taking him with me but it’s getting increasingly difficult to find an excuse not to.

Alex Rumbelow, Newcastle

You might be just in time to accompany your father-in-law to the Glenmuir PGA Professional Championship, which is to be played very near you at De Vere Slaley Hall from June 11-14. Although it perhaps lacks a little of the prestige associated with The Open, it’s a ‘top competitive tournament’ and, rather importantly, invariably produces a British winner, which should please your father-in-law enormously. If you’re too late for this year, it will be staged again in 2014.

My partner is an ardent feminist, doesn’t really approve of golf, only reluctantly tolerates me playing once a week and banishes me to my study if I want to watch it on television. Because of her hostility, I have not yet summoned up the courage to tell her that I’m going to The Open for the first time ever this year. I was about to break it to her when she launched into a tirade against Muirfield for what she regards as their hostile attitude to women. Although I’m slightly sympathetic, I've already bought a ticket for all four days and paid for accommodation. What on earth should I do?

Peter Whittaker, Maidstone

The next time she brings up the subject of Muirfield’s attitude to women, you should agree with her totally and say something along the lines of, “I'm going to do something about it!” Then disappear into your study and emerge half-an-hour later brandishing a leaflet you’ve just printed which attacks Muirfield’s outdated policy. Explain that you’re taking thousands of these, together with a banner, to protest outside the course for all four days of the championship.

I’m a 22-handicapper who is utterly baffled by the difficulty some of the top players seem to encounter making adjustments. Take the golf swing, for example. I remember plane old Mr Nick Faldo, as he then was, taking a couple of years, or thereabouts, to re-build his swing. Tiger, too, was in the wilderness recently because he was tinkering with his swing plane, or something similar. And now we have Rory McIlroy apparently having trouble adjusting to new clubs. Because I began shanking half-way through the April Mid-Week Stableford, I decided to alter my grip so that four knuckles are now showing on my left hand. Mercifully, the problem immediately went away. But my point is it didn’t take me 18 months to adjust. Similarly, when I inadvertently let go of my seven iron a fortnight later and it got stuck up a tree, I decided to go on eBay and buy a replacement half set. Two days after that, I racked up 27 points in the May Mid-Week Stableford. Again, I picked up where I left off without any noticeable drop in form. So how come these so-called top players are unable to do what I did?

M L Korn, Dundee

The only explanation I can suggest is that you evidently have much greater mental fortitude than Messers Faldo, Woods and McIlroy. It’s only a pity you lack their talent otherwise I’ve no doubt you would be a considerable force in the professional game.

 

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 
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