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.
For the last seven or eight years I have regularly played golf with an old friend of mine on the third Wednesday of every month. We visit the same 12 courses every year and it’s always been great fun. However, my friend is becoming what I would term a ‘grass bore’, that is to say he seems to continually steer our conversation back to the extremely dull subject of grass and then bangs on and on and on about the relative merits of bent, fescue, rye, Bermuda, yawn, yawn, yawn. His latest favourite topic is over-seeding. He’s driving me mad!
I don’t want to say anything to offend him but I can’t take much more of it and am rapidly coming to the regrettable conclusion that, unless I can stop him, I shall have to give up what have in the past been very enjoyable golf games.
S KILLICK, LEWES
‘Grass bores’, as you call them, are unbearably dull to the point of terminal tedium and I very much sympathise with your predicament. The obvious trick here is to discourage your friend from talking about grass without giving offence, thereby preserving both your sanity and the admirable institution of your monthly encounters.
I suggest you take a big box of tissues to your next game and sneeze every time your friend mentions grass. When he asks if you have a cold explain that you suffer from a condition that is similar to hay fever but much rarer, harder to treat and a yearround problem. Say that you have developed an allergy to the mere mention of the word ‘grass’ and everything connected with it.
Even if someone were to say, for example, something seemingly innocent like ‘mowers’, you would suffer a slight reaction. Although you are on medication that is not dissimilar to anti-histamine, there is, as yet, no known cure and the only thing you can do, at least for the time being, is avoid all conversations involving grass.
Reg, the greenkeeper at my club was fired about six months ago because, frankly, he spent more time searching for balls than he did maintaining the course.
Feeling sorry for the bloke, who’s in his early 60s, I offered him two days work a week gardening in my modest country estate. Although he’s happy to mow the meadow where, incidentally, I practise my pitching, he is very reluctant to doing the necessary digging and weeding in my vegetable patch.
SIR WALTER FFRENCH-STATELY, TEWKESBURY
Greenkeepers often have an arrangement with the pro shop whereby they sell them any balls they find. Even though he no longer works there, it’s entirely possible that your man still supplies your pro shop and that’s why he’s keen to mow the meadow where doubtless he finds plenty of balls.
I suggest you discontinue pitching in the meadow and instead start chipping in and around the vegetable patch. You might even try burying a few balls among your potatoes as they might encourage Reg to get digging.
I have an awful feeling that my views are considered worthless and I’m being totally ignored. It’s very upsetting because I have some very definite and strongly held opinions, which I believe are worth expressing.
Take golf, for example. I love the game but believe that there are a number of aspects to it that need remedying. To this end I have written dozens and dozens of letters to the Editors of various golf magazines – including Golf International – on controversial topics as varied as equipment, drugs, prize money and Peter Alliss. In fact, over the years I’ve penned no fewer than 117 letters to golf magazines and am still waiting for the first one to be published. Please, can you help me?
P T MURPHY, ASTON
Yes, I just have.