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Readers Letters - June 2012

Triangulaid opens up a whole new dimension

I am writing to congratulate Stephane Bachoz on presenting a thoroughly unique teaching article that has helped me to at last experience what it feels like to hit a golf ball properly (and I’ve been playing this game for 6 years!).

I have taken my share of lessons but have always struggled with a slice. Whether or not that is because I find it awkward to stand ‘square’ to the ball – as I’ve always been told to do – and then rotate my body correctly, I don’t know. What I do know is that as a result of going out and trying Stephane’s ideas, laying clubs on the ground to create my homemade version of the Triangulaid device he used in his feature, I have experienced a totally new sensation in my swing.

Out of curiosity I googled Stephane and found a series of lessons on youtube (several featuring Philip Golding) that have helped me to more fully understand his ideas, and would urge golfers who find themsevles in the same category – i.e. not getting any better! – to do the same. The ‘swing as you walk’ ideas really do help you to find your natural rhythm, and it’s refreshing to be told that there is another way to play. I look forward to reading more from Stephane in Gi.

Adrian Banwell, Grayshott, Surrey

Golf 2.0 - back to the future

No less a leading light than Jack Nicklaus has put his backing to Golf 2.0, an attempt to widen the popularity of the game, while admitting hardly anyone in his family participates.

Club memberships are falling. Other more accessible distractions abound.

And (now we are back in Thatcher’s Britain) there are many people without the money to spend on golf and many others too busy desperately earning money to spare the time.

In wondering what might attract more people to golf I found myself reminiscing about my introduction to the game: I first hit a ball on a terrific 9-hole par-three course, which I could whiz around in no time at all, using less than a half-set of clubs. Where, even for a beginner like me, every shot was at the flag and there was none of those endless fairway shots to ‘just keep it in play’ that we face on these modern elongated golf courses. Where there was no unreasonable dress code and trainers were permitted. Where I could play with all my family. Where there were difficulties (bunkers, raised and tiered greens, etc), but the general principal was that it was playable and fun.

Then, as my competency increased, I progressed to visiting a few municipal tracks. They were competitively priced. Cheap even. Everyone there accepted you got what you paid for.

We just embraced such hindrances as unraked bunkers, uneven tees and sometimes iffy fairways and greens as part of the challenge. We carried eight or nine clubs at most and had a blast trying to manipulate shots when we were in-between clubs. And we played matchplay all the time. Par was a distant and unlikely dream, so it didn’t matter if you’d shot a six or a seven as long as your opponent had an eight or a nine.

And since then? I joined a club. It’s very well-tended and somewhat tricked-up to make it difficult. I’ve spent serious money on equipment and always carry 14 clubs even though I now have the ability to manipulate shots more. I dip in and out of single figures through the year. I play almost exclusively medal or stableford golf.

And this is all fine and gives me satisfaction in other ways compared to my start in the game. But the thing is, I had the choice. The golf boom of the 1980s and ’90s saw long, hard, exclusive courses being built. I’m not so sure there are great par-three courses around these days. And certainly there is little in the way of truly cheap and cheerful golf venues for beginners.

So for Golf 2.0 can I suggest we need every new course to have an accompanying par-three course open to all. Only 1% of courses should be over 6,000 yards, as only the top 1% of golfers are capable of playing them. Running costs – and thus costs to visitors and members – should be kept low by not manicuring every inch of every course. Sets should comprise of a maximum of nine clubs. Everyone should be encouraged to play matchplay.

In other words, it’s time to re-discover the simple fun of golf!

Pete Wells, via email

Lovin the iPad version

I have been a huge fan of Golf International since discovering the magazine at my golf club a couple of years ago. Not only do you write features the true enthusiast wants to read but you deliver your editorial in a style that is second to none. And as someone who subscribes to various digital magazines (and a daily newspaper – yep, I’m an iPad convert!) I am currently enjoying issue 109 via your excellent App. This is surely the future of publishing – especially for a magazine that produces so much fantastic instruction.

But I do have a query: where are the Dan Frost videos on sand play mentioned at the end of his feature within Planet Golf? I have enjoyed Dan’s teaching over the last couple of years and immediately went to look for more help on bunker play...which I need! But, alas, no sign of them in the download? Here’s hoping they appear very soon.

Pete Wells, via email

Editor’s note: Enthusiastic young coach that he is, Dan travelled to Morocco to shoot a series of video lessons specifically for Gi...but not one of them features a grain of sand! But he will be appearing in the digital version of this issue - stay tuned

Contemplating a soft-shoe shuffle

I must say that I was most interested to read about FootJoy’s spikeless shoes (page 21, issue 109). With my advancing years I seem to suffer increasingly from uncomfortable feet, so these seem like a very good idea. (Though of course let us not forget there is nothing new under the sun. It’s just that my dear old mum used to refer to such footwear as plimsoles, and I doubt any of the advertising will include such a reference. In fact my computer’s spell check thingy won’t even recognise that word!)

I guess their use would be best kept to the height of summer when there was absolutely no mud to slip around on or to spoil the look of them? Having said that, even then I’m not sure about the idea of wearing them freely around the clubhouse. I mean they are golf shoes and as such will bring in grass and dirt unless scrupulously cleaned beforehand.

In fact, I bet there are many long laborious discussions going on right now up and down the country in golf club committees on whether these casual golf shoes should be restricted to the spike bar or not. No doubt this is just the sort of debate that The Major might soon do justice to within the pages Golf International!

Time permitting, perhaps these committees could also have a motion on the re-naming of the Spike Bar which is a bit of an anachronism these days. Cleat Bar would be a more apt description, and would then allow us to rather pleasingly refer to the huddled groups within as the ‘cleat cliques’.

Peter Horsman, Epsom, Surrey

 

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 


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