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 DR FELIX SHANK

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Illustrations by Tony Husband.

The least liked member of our club, Thomas Osborne, sadly died of a heart attack at our Christmas dinner. It is testimony to his unpopularity that, in order to persuade members to sit with himat that dinner, tickets for his tablewere sold at a substantial discount. Anyhow his widow, Mrs Osborne, gloriously unaware of the low esteemin which he was universally held, has generously donated his wedding ring mounted on a plaque to the club as a trophy to be awarded in his memory. Our problem is finding a suitable competition to which we could appropriately attach his name without giving the false impression that we cherish his memory.

M WHITTAKER, HORLEY

Anything to do with death has to be handled with great sensitivity, whichmakesmy initial thought that the trophy could be awarded annually to the least popularmember of the club one that I instantly dismissed as gratuitously offensive. However, the integrity of the club, its competitions and the names on the other trophiesmust be protected and not devalued. After careful thought, could you not create a low-key eclectic event to run in conjunction with themonthly Stableford competitions from, say, June to August and award the Thomas Osborne Summer Stablefords Eclectic Ring to the winner? That should satisfy his widow, whilst those who knew himcould refer to it colloquially as ‘The Tosser.’

After a moderately successful amateur career, I turned pro ten years ago and sought to make a living as a tour professional.Bad luck, however, has dogged my career. Five years in a row, Imissed the final cut at qualifying school by just onemiserable shot.On no fewer than four occasions on theEuropro Tour and twice on theChallenge Tour, I lost a play-off. Iwas the only one tomiss out on theOpen in 2004when there were three of us left at the end of a qualifying event competing in another play-off for the two remaining places at Troon. Three years ago, after finally receiving awild-card invitation to a European Tour event, and when leading by three shots after two rounds, I turned my ankle walking to the first tee and had towithdraw. Last year, fed up withmy failure,my wife leftme and took our two small children with her. Incidentally, she also took our home. Then, just at the point when Iwas seriously contemplating giving upwhat has become an unequal struggle, an extraordinary thing happened. In a pro-am last month, I was the last to hit on a 195-yard par three and,with all three of my playing partners already on the green, I sliced a five-iron and watched in amazement as the ball cannoned of a tree, bounced three times on a cart-path, hopped over a bunker and rolled towards the pin. Unbelievably, it dropped. Do you think it’s a ‘sign’ that my luck has at last changed?

NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD

Are you sure it was your ball that went in the hole?

My golf club has askd me to editt there nuesletter. To be honist, I’m not shure that I am eny good at it. Wot shood I do.

G REDDINGTON, SOLIHULL

Resign immediately.

There’s amember at my club – let’s call him Jim– who has the extremely irritating habit of waiting until you are hunched over a putt before stooping to repair his pitchmark. Although I amprepared to give himthe benefit of the doubt, others are convinced that he does this quite deliberately in order to distract opponents at these criticalmoments. I am reluctant to ask himto desist partly because repairing pitchmarks is a good thing and partly because it could create an unpleasant incident.

MK DOBERMAN, LOSSIEMOUTH

It’s very charitable of you to believe that Jim is acting innocently as it sounds to me that what he’s doing is a deliberate gamesman’s ploy. The solution is perfectly simple.When you arrive on the green, repair his pitchmark for him. If he protests, just explain that not a second must be wasted as the sooner pitchmarks are dealt with, the sooner the recovery process begins.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 
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