Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for July, 2016

Memoirs of a Shanker

Memoirs of a shanker

.

600388_1680257338930631_8661112091993003723_n

.

First of all, for those non-golfers reading this, let me explain. A shank is a golf shot (with an iron club) which comes off the hosel. This is the part of the club which is neither head or shaft, just an evil addition contributed by golfing equipment manufacturers. The resulting shot shoots off almost sideways, generally into an unplayable position that you have never even considered at the point of address. So much for the technicalities, so here is my story.

At the end of my footballing career I tried out this crazy game of golf, and soon was hooked after hitting a few good shots. Didn’t know if I was left or right handed at the time, it felt so strange trying to hit that little white ball that didn’t move, so why did I miss it? Anyway, I eventually became a member at Outlane Golf Club at the ripe old age of 34, and tried my best for the next 30 odd years. Starting off at a handicap of 24 (that was the maximum then) I soon reduced that to 14 with what little natural talent I had (mainly based on my cricketing history). Over the next few years I actually got down to 7 (without a lesson I may add!), if only for a week, after my best ever return of 67 gross. Generally I then fluctuated between 8 and 10. I also managed to get 5 hole-in-one’s – how did I manage that when I couldn’t hit an iron? Well, one of them was on a downhill par 4 with a 3 wood! (see below).

.

SAM_3138_1_1

.

However, it was not all plain sailing. After the long cold winters with temporary greens and tees we all looked forward to the new season in springtime. Strangely, this seemed to be the signal for my shots to start going sideways, and usually left me playing catch-up for a couple of months until it mysteriously vanished as quick as it came. If I survived the early rounds of knock-outs I was in with a chance. I finally succumbed to having a lesson with the professional at Bradley Park, John Ambler. My problem was not just with the short shots (which is common) – every club in the bag from the 3 iron upwards suffered the same fate. He explained that there were two ways to shank – the swing is either in to out or out to in. After watching me hit a few shots he came to the decision that I was doing both, and he hadn’t got a clue how to fix it!

.

.

And so the pattern continued, although I did manage to win several competitions in my non-shanking windows. It is very frustrating as all sufferers will testify, but my nadir (lowest point) came on a once-in-a-lifetime golfing trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I had arranged the 2 week break for a party of 16 golfers and wives, with 8 rounds of golf on the most spectacular, wonderful courses I had ever seen. Every one seemed better than the last, truly a golfing Disneyworld.

What happened? I hit ever drive 250 yards down the middle, then EVERY iron shot went sideways from a perfect position either left into an alligator infested lake or pulled to the right (compensating) into a clump of prickly bushes inhabited by venomous snakes. I finished up buying a 7 wood (would be a rescue club now) without a hosel, to hit every shot from 160 yards to 20 yards from the green. It was the only time that I have ever cried on a golf course! I had bought a brand new set of Titleist blacks to replace my old pinseeker clubs (bought a few at a time from a catalogue), but 12 months on they were traded in with hardly a mark on the centre of the club face. Then I gave up golf for 6 months.

Since I have retired to Spain (to live on a golf course) I have had success on occasions, and often misery, as my problem has never left me. If anyone tells you that they have ‘the secret’ don’t believe them – relief is only temporary. I never practice now, I have found that hitting great shots on the range doesn’t transfer to the course (for me anyway). Why leave all your good shots there? Save them for when you need them. I work my strategy out lying in bed, thinking the swing – well, it is less tiring! Try listening to your partners also – Chris McAllister gave me 2 swing thoughts stood on the first tee and they worked – he didn’t know I was listening. As I have said though, no secret ever lasts! Even Chris is not immune to the dreaded lucy locket – this is how it gets you………………

.

.

I have reflected on my golfing career at this moment as , despite my troubles, in my 70th year I have just had the most amazing 10 months of my golfing life. In August I unexpectedly won my 2nd major at Condado de Alhama, President’s Day, which is surely one of the top competitions. (4 years earlier I won the Anniversary Pairs Trophy with Robin Wilson). October saw the only time that our top competition (the Viking Cup) was played as a major, with 46 players from UK & Ireland facing the same number from Scandinavia. I was very proud to collect the trophy as captain of the European side. December was a good month, winning the monthly edition of the Apollo Air Trophy (basically our monthly medal) and the Clover Xmas Cup. Not finished yet, in March a 4 man team of myself, Barry Answer, Daniel Don and Steve Bell won the Celebrity-Am Texas Scramble at Camposol Golf Club. And the piece de resistance came in June, when I finally won Captain’s Day ( a dream I have always had). And to top off a fantastic year, I was elected as lifetime vice president of the Condado de Alhama Golf Society at the AGM in March. What a year, it can’t be repeated, so I will just coast along in my final golfing years enjoying the company, sunshine and beer and waiting for my handicap to go back up!

.

Viking Cup, Presidents Cup, Xmas Cup, Apollo Air, Captains Cup, Celebrity-Am Texas Scramble

.

A shanker is never cured – relief is temporary. Like an alcoholic, just get through one day at a time. It seems unbelievable that only 12 months ago I would not put my name down for a pairs or team event so as not to let my partners down. All I wanted was to compete and avoid embarrassment. But the cycle continues, and the highs and lows must be enjoyed and accepted as they come along. At the present moment, the magic has gone again!

Read Full Post »

just had to include this photo of Barry Answer and Les Hurren trying to sit side by side in the Clover.......yes Barry, there isn't room for a beer mat between you!

just had to include this photo of Barry Answer and Les Hurren trying to sit side by side in the Clover. they were wedged between two tables!……….yes Barry, there isn’t room for a beer mat between you!

.

This week we had 62 players in a pairs stableford, but both played individual and added their scores together at the end. Some exceptional scores were handed in, so new handicaps for them next week!

 

1st     Paddy McKee & David Gibson………75pts (on countback)

2nd   Terry Burgess & Dave Storey………..75pts

3rd    Jeff Ruellan & Dave Crossland……..71pts

4th    Borre Hagen & Lasse Ringom………70pts

 

With the captain, vice-captain and president away, Chris McAllister and Kevin Smith conducted proceedings in the Clover. I would have stood in, but I am the photographer!

.

Paddy & David were both division winners last week, they must have been favourites today - and they delivered.........

Paddy & David were both division winners last week, they must have been favourites today – and they delivered………

 

.

a fantastic score from Terry & Dave, but just pipped at the post.......

a fantastic score from Terry & Dave, but just pipped at the post…….

 

.

Borre & Lasse got into the prizes.............

Borre & Lasse got into the prizes………….

 

.

A notable feat this week was a hole in one on hole 17 by Tom Toner………..so never give up, you don’t know what is coming! Well done Tom, you will receive a trophy from the society.

 

.

well done Tom!..........

well done Tom!……….

.

Just one photo from the course this week, showing how I  set off lucky – how did I manage to find the grass between the fairway bunkers on the first?…………but I am glad I didn’t get snapped having a fresh air shot on the 2nd tee!

.

wish I could be so accurate all the time...........

wish I could be so accurate all the time………..

 

.

Also an interesting encounter with a lovely parakeet on the 12th fairway. The white bird with a yellow crest on its head almost sat on Les Hurren’s finger, so must have been an escaped pet.

.

about the only creature not frightened by Les........

about the only creature not frightened by Les……..

.

No starter this week, so players had to pay entry when they came back in – if anyone can volunteer for the next few weeks it would be a great help……………..

 

Last Friday we held a collection for our head green keeper Jonathan. It raised 169€, which will be a nice start for his move to France.

 

Dave Lloyd has organised the next away day to Altoreal. It is on Monday September 26th for 40 players with buggies, at 35€ per person. The first tee time will be 10.24, and there will be a free bus. Please email me at barry@cdagolf.com . No doubt we will be able to squeeze a few shoppers onto the coach and drop them off at Nuevo Condomina – can they manage to fill in 4/5 hours there?

Anyone who plays Monday or Friday should be aware that there are no committee members available to oversee scores, and therefore adjust handicaps. For example on Wednesday one card has 4 names on – problem being one says ME! Who is me you may ask when you weren’t there?. Several other names were completely unreadable, so we cannot use them for adjusting handicaps. Please be aware that names must be clear (on start sheet also) or they will be void (full comments on previous blog).

I am away for the next 2 weeks, so not sure what will be on the blog (if anything). I will try to get info and see if I can post it on my kindle.

But there will be an extra blog on Monday – to celebrate my 70th. I will make a special post about my golfing experiences over the last 40 years – the title is – Memoirs of a shanker!

.  

Next week is a 4 person texas scramble.

A few normal? jokes this week:

 

What has 4 wheels and flies?

……………….a garbage truck………….

 

What did the man say to the wall?

………..one more crack like that and I’ll plaster ya!

 

What did the judge say when the skunk walked into the court room?

……………odour in court………………

 

What did the fish say when it swam into the wall?

………….dam!………………..

 

Barry      

Read Full Post »

 

Geir was this year's strokeplay champion......

Geir was this year’s strokeplay champion……

 

.

73 players (5 did not arrive) and took on the ultimate challenge in golf – hit your ball, find it, hit it again, until it is in the hole! That is how golf started, and although usually we play stableford to speed the game up, I think this homage to this special game is worth persuing just once a year. (There is always the option to pick up your ball and mark a no return when it is obvious that you have no chance of winning, and have had enough pain – as I did!)). Also on that theme, I have given a best gross prize –  in those far off days, there were no handicaps and shots start, just the player taking the least shots won!

The weather was perfect (if you call 37 degrees of wall-to-wall sunshine perfect), intense heat, especially for those without buggies. We were out last, and were very grateful for the drinks stop at the 12th – ran out of water, and had to call on Denise for more. The contest culminated in a super presentation evening at the Spaniard Inn at Hacienda del Alamo.

A few thanks at this time, especially to Alicia who organised the venue, coach, entertainment and all the necessary notices. Have a good trip around the south of France, and enjoy the cooler climate! Also to Barry Answer, Neil Simpson and Dave Lloyd who gladly offered to go out last with me so they could help with the starting etc. Barry and Dave have come over especially to play in the event. Kevin and Chris were responsible for checking the cards and ranking them in categories. And to Sue who was giving out cold drinks on a scorching hot day at the 12th tee……..

 

Thanks again to Sandy Simpson who has again provided his never- ending bucket of balls to replace those lost in the lakes……………….

.
IMG_3363_1

 

.

Anyway, now to the winners:

 

Strokeplay winner

Geir Ovsthus (28.0)…………………………67

 

Best gross

David Gibson (1.4)……………………..74

1st division

1st     Robin Wilson (13.6)…………….69 (on countback)

2nd   John Bownas (14.0)…………….69

3rd   Les Hurren (14.6)………………..70

 

2nd division

1st     Paddy McKee (16.7)……………..69

2nd   Jeff Ruellan (21.7)………………..73

3rd    Peter Reeves (22.1)………………74

 

Ladies

1st     Jane Hutchinson (25.0)…………75

2nd   Bente Larssen (33.4)……………76

 

Men’s nearest pin

17th……………….Ray Rollett

8th………………..Tormud Vaage   (in two)

 

Ladies aggregate

Par 3’s……………………Mona Johannsen

Par 5’s……………………Patricia McCormack

 

Guest prize

Twyla Gibson (12.0)…………………..77

 

Booby prize

Asbjorn Hiksdal……………………..net 90

 

.

Geir wins the trophy......

Geir wins the trophy……

 

.

Robin wins division one ...............

Robin wins division one ……………

 

.

Les was 3rd in the 1st division................

Les was 3rd in the 1st division…………….

 

.

took this before play as Jeff couldn't come - runner-up in 2nd division..........

took this before play as Jeff couldn’t come – runner-up in 2nd division……….

 

.

Jane won the ladies.......

Jane won the ladies…….

 

.

Tormud was nearest on hole 8 in two..........

Tormud was nearest on hole 8 in two……….

 

.

Ray was nearest on hole 17................

Ray was nearest on hole 17…………….

 

.

well done Asbjorn for finishing - some were worse, but put in no returns...............

well done Asbjorn for finishing – some were worse, but put in no returns……………

 

.

 

an excellent prize table, but a pity that so many of the winners couldn't attend........

an excellent prize table, but a pity that so many of the winners couldn’t attend……..

 

.

The photo of the prize table only shows the boxes that the ladies prizes were in – this is what was inside………………

.

something different for the ladies winner........

something different for the ladies winner……..

 

 

.

wind chime for ladies 2nd also.................

wind chime for ladies 2nd also……………..

 

.

A great night at the Spaniard in their private outdoor courtyard – just loved Dee who has everyone involved, and is so naturally funny (also a great singer).

.

Dee was great............

Dee was great…………

 

.

Barry Answer must have though that it was his birthday..... well it was!l

Barry Answer must have though that it was his birthday…..
well it was!l

 

.

all a bit too much for the old guy.........Dee had to help him back to his seat........

all a bit too much for the old guy………Dee had to help him back to his seat……..

 

.

Phew!..............

Phew!…………..

 

.

some of the girls having fun with Dee..............

some of the girls having fun with Dee…………..

 

.

 

Next week is an aggregate pairs stableford – add both your stableford totals together and hope it is enough!

 

Barry

Read Full Post »

Tormod is on fire!

Tormod is on fire!

 

.

This week was the July Apollo Air, not long since the last one! I have been in the UK (again!) for the weekend so this week’s blog may be brief and a little late.  58 players this week, and a fantastic score from Tormod – 8 shot cut on the slope!

 

Apollo Air winner

Tormod Vaage (27)………………………..48pts

 

1st division

1st     Geoff Cotter (14.0)…………………….39pts

2nd   Bjorn Spieler (12.0)…………………..38pts

3rd    Ray Vivian (9.0)……………………….36pts (on countback)

 

2nd division

1st     Phil Cooke (19.5)………………………43pts

2nd   Dave Wareing (18.0)…………………42pts (on countback)

3rd    Gunnar Sten Larssen (16.9)………42pts

 

Ladies

1st     Karin Dahl (12.8)……………………..32pts

.

Geoff was division one winner...................

Geoff was division one winner……………….

 

.

Phil is still playing well........

Phil is still playing well……..

 

.

Karin is back!............

Karin is back!…………

.

Next week is the Barry Barker Strokeplay (major event). A leaderboard will be displayed in the bar area at the golf club so players know if they are likely to be in the prizes, which will be presented in the evening at the Spaniard Inn. The overall winner MUST be present to receive their prize.  If you have to leave before all players have finished you can ring me on 0034 602620723 to check if you are the winner.

Details are on the notice board and have been posted on the previous 2 week’s blogs.

Cold drinks will be provided on the 12th tee, along with a replacement ball if you have just put one in the lake on 11! (courtesy of Sandy Simpson – ball recovery expert!).

Prizes on offer are:

Overall winner

Best gross

Division 1 – 1st, 2nd

Division 2 – 1st, 2nd

Ladies       – 1st, 2nd

Men’s nearest pin on 17, also nearest in 2 on 8

Ladies best aggregate on par 3’s, par 5’s

 

Bus leaves 7pm return midnight. Meals are not included – if you want one there will be a menu on your table and order when you are ready.

.

I hope none of our golfers lost their tempers this week – sometimes you just can’t take any more and crack up!

 

.

12705296_1667845013505197_5544909324430983591_n 12088235_1672129723076726_1173641209976614653_n 10259809_1676283235994708_600957561762799823_n 12963789_1691642514458780_7167348602375277793_n 13015469_1691644117791953_2583608754243319399_n 13007372_1693529360936762_790084110378754660_n 13015445_1695562357400129_6018183660267337614_n

 

.

Barry

Read Full Post »