Dr Felix Shank 103

Naturally, I don’t want to let my friends down and I’d much rather play golf than go to a funeral

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.

Dr Felix Shank


I’m a member of a rather smart club in Surrey to which I take my father-in-law Harry every year on his birthday. He comes from rather humble origins and is absolutely thrilled by the luxury and opulence of the course and clubhouse. He loves golf and really enjoys the whole experience, which pleases me enormously. It’s a great club that is striving to be even better and is constantly improving. Every year there is something else to impress him – a new computerised sprinkler system, GPS in the buggies, a Jacuzzi, etc. One of the first things he asks when I pick him up each time is, “What’s new this year?” However, there is a problem. The first time we played I noticed that he nicked a couple of wooden coat-hangers from the locker room. The following year I checked his bag when he took a shower and discovered one of the club’s bottles of aftershave. Last year it was a towel complete with the club crest. I can’t say anything to my father-in-law but I really must put a stop to it.

Richard Greco, Solihull



Easy. Next time you pick him up and he asks what’s new, tell him they’ve installed CCTV throughout the clubhouse!

Dr Felix Shank 103 - Priorities and the golfer


My husband doesn’t play golf and so I teamed up with a young man for our club’s mixed foursomes knock-out competition. He’s a very good golfer but suffers from Tourette’s syndrome and is prone to occasional outbursts of expletives. We progressed comfortably through the first three rounds without incident. In the quarter-final, however, we reached the 18th green all square with our female opponent needing to hole a four-footer on the last to win the match. Just as she drew back her putter, my partner yelled, “Miss it, you bitch!” Her putt went about 30 feet past and her husband understandably missed the one back. Probably the correct thing to do would be to pull out of the competition but I’ve never won anything of any consequence and rather fancy seeing my name up on a board. However, another incident like the last one and I might die of embarrassment.

Jennifer Lazzaro, Dublin

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Tourette’s is a fascinating condition for which there is no known cure and so there is nothing that can be done medically to help your partner. However, I think there is a way that can both reduce the chances of a repeat of the incident and improve your prospects of winning the competition. I suggest you speak quietly to your opponents before you tee off in the next round and explain that there is a possibility that your partner will swear at them and this is most likely to happen at the top of their backswing. You should tell them that they must ignore it completely. Worrying what might be about to happen should so unsettle your opponents that they will almost certainly play badly and you should win both the semi and final quite comfortably thus reducing the likelihood of your partner suffering another outburst on the course…

Dr Felix Shank 103 - Priorities and the golfer


Sheila, my mother-in-law, has just passed away and the internment is scheduled to take place the same week as I am supposed to be away with seven friends on a golf trip to South Carolina. Naturally, I don’t want to let my friends down and I’d much rather play golf than go to a funeral but my wife says that she will never forgive me if I fail to show respect for her late mother.

Wesley Wilson, Torquay


You must show respect to her mother but in a way that allows you to go golfing as well. I suggest you buy a cheap trophy (the Sheila Shield?) and compete for it on your golf trip. Thus you will have honoured you mother-in-law in a way that might just appeal to your wife without sacrificing your golf holiday. You might even ask your friends if you can hang on to the trophy so that you can tell your wife – preferably in an emotional way – that you won it for Sheila.

Dr Felix Shank 103 - Priorities and the golfer

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