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Readers Letters - May 2013

Dragging the anchor...

Having read and listened to the numerous pros and cons concerning the use of the belly putter, I cannot help but think that golf’s governing bodies, the R&A and USGA, could have nipped this fiasco in the bud by being considerably more stringent when examining this product when it first entered the market.

There must have been a degree of doubt regarding the anchoring of the putter to the belly? With regard to stringent checks it seems another repeat performance of the driver fiasco, whereby large numbers of those clubs having been manufactured and universally used for many months were banned from use in competition.

In my view, the governing bodies have no option but to ban this particular putting technique and it is pie in the sky if the PGA Tour think otherwise.

If the powers that be were to accept that this particular method was legal, then maybe they should also allow golfers to use the croquet style of putting as used by Sam Snead.

Now that is food for thought!

R. C. Cox, Harrow, Middlesex

What on earth is Rory doing?

Within a month of me writing this, I realise that Rory McIlroy may have won the Masters, which might leave me looking a bit foolish. But his schedule for the early part of the season doesn’t seem to have been a sensible one if he wants to win at Augusta.

First tournament – missed cut. Second tournament – knocked out in the first round. Third tournament – withdrew with toothache, bad attitude or both. Fourth tournament – did OK. Fifth tournament – about to be played, in Houston, as I write this. Tiger Woods, meanwhile, who missed the cut along with Rory in Abu Dhabi, has won three times since then and fully justifies – yet again – his position at the top of the world rankings.

I don’t think it’s simply his new clubs that Rory has got to get used to. He also has to deal better with all the mental baggage that comes with being, or trying to be, the best golfer in the world.

Stephen Spencer, London via Email

The right way

I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Naga Munchetty in your last issue and I wholeheartedly endorse her opinion that golf broadcasting could do with her likes of her among its presenters. She obviously has a good knowledge of golf, witness her performance on Celebrity Mastermind, but more than that her background would make her an ideal example of someone who could help to raise the profile of the game and make it seem more inclusive.

Sadly, of course, the BBC now covers so little golf that there would be no opportunities for her or others there. So how about it, Sky?

Jeremy Sampson, Lincoln

Inspired reading

Golf International continues to put all of the other magazines to shame with its insightful editorial and quality instruction – two recent examples being the lessons by Sir Nick Faldo and a fascinating interview with the BBC’s Naga Munchetty (Confessions of a Golf Addict, issue 115).

First, I’m indebted to Sir Nick for a beautifully photographed article on sand play, and especially his advice on ‘thumping the line’ as a practice exercise to develop the confidence to play these shots correctly. Faldo has a wonderful knack for describing his thoughts and creating images that all club players can visualise and focus on – all we need now is the weather to get out and practice!

As for your interview with Naga Munchetty, well, what a woman! In all my years playing the game I don’t think I have encountered such a force of nature – and a beautiful one at that, as captured by your photographer. Naga’s love for the game shone through and her story is one that should inspire young girls all over the country to get out and give golf a try. And she’s absolutely right in her observation that ‘golf broadcasting could do with an injection of someone like me’. Ten minutes in front of the turgid coverage of the game on Sky Sports is enough to convince any golf fan of that.

Keep up the good work.

Brian Turner, Liphook, Hants

Editor’s note: I’m delighted to tell you that Naga and her coach, Moor Parkbased Lawrence Farmer, have agreed to a series of instruction pieces scheduled to run through the summer. Watch this space...

Golf’s dilemma...

In issue 115 Peter McEvoy urges the R&A to take actions to protect golf from ‘evolving’, arguing that as a sport it requires a very high degree of difficulty.

It may well be a sport for those few at the upper echelons, i.e. professionals and top amateurs (though regretfully for some of these it is possibly mainly a business).

Yet for the club player, in all honesty, golf is not even a game but a pastime? A wholly brilliant, infuriating, humbling and addictive pastime granted, but a pastime nonetheless. (A clue may be the fact that the many will have to shorten their 35-inch putters once rule 14b comes in for fear of inadvertently anchoring the club to their middle aged spread!)

As a pastime I want golf to remain challenging in order for me to feel good about my occasional successes. But it must also be fun. I’ve found using a broom-handle putter suits me, though not to the point where sub-30 putts a round is common. I’ve found speed pockets add distance, but not to the point where par fives are reachable in two, or where accuracy is still not the primary objective. I could go on; balls, shafts, even performanceenhancing clothing, etc, etc,.

All of which leaves the decision makers at the R&A and USGA with an extremely difficult balancing act to perform in restricting the elite (who are the only ones to see significant advantages in any advancements) and yet allowing ordinary club golfers the freedom to find something new to maintain the fun. Fail to do that and it won’t matter if golf is included in the Olympics in 2016, how much sponsors throw at the game, or how likeable Rory McIlroy seems to be. Because people like me will find other things to do at playtime.

P Horsman, via email

Print and digital in a package, please

I am a big fan of your magazine and have had a subscription for a couple of years now. I do keep most of the back issues and often refer to previous instruction articles in my journey to keep improving my game. I recently downloaded your App onto my iPad only to find that if i wanted to download previous (back) issues of the magazine I could do so, but at a cost of £1.49 per issue.

Can I suggest that you make this a free aspect of your subscription deal? It would certainly encourage me to keep taking the magazine. In fact, why not include it as one of the incentives to encourage customers to sign up in the first place or for another year. I would take this option ahead of a dozen golf balls.

The App could be further developed to allow searching across multiple editions and via category – i.e. tutorials by Nick Faldo or Putting Techniques, Driving the ball, and so on. This is how I currently use the hard copy of each magazine, albeit I do have to search through the pages manually. When I suggested to my wife that I was going to cut out all the instruction elements of the magazine and put them into a folder to save a bit of space, I got a look suggesting that perhaps I was taking my golf a little bit too seriously and I had lost sight of my priorities!

However, it would be fantastic if I could hold all of these articles on my iPad in a searchable database accessible at my leisure.

Love the magazine.

Andy Hicks, West Midlands

Editor’s note: Agree with you 100%, and we are currently trying to make this a part of the service – i.e. subscribe to the print issue and have access to the digital issue for free. Bear with us...

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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