Golf! That gadfly game that maddens even the most tame. -- John Kerr, From his book The Golf-Book of East Lothian (1896)
It’s Monday, September 10th and I am in a Dublin, Ireland, hotel. Yes, this is definitely a Monday that is better than most. On the first day of this trip, September 6th, I played Royal Portrush GC’s Dunluce Links course, which will be hosting next year’s Open Championship. This will be the second time Portrush has hosted The Open and only the second time The Open has been played outside of Scotland and England. (In 1951 at Portrush, Englishman Max Faulkner won his only Major title, two strokes ahead of the runner-up, Argentinian Antonio Cerdá.)
I have been playing with six other members of my club and our teaching pro, Evan Scobie, at Portrush and we will play five other Irish courses over the course of this trip. This is my first trip to Ireland and needless to say I am excited – and very nervous given the fact that my game is rather brittle right now and these courses are not known to be overly forgiving. So with a few more rounds left, it is time to pull up my crew socks and be ready to play some serious golf. (Okay, I admit it. Maybe I should be thinking about playing “okay” golf.)
In preparation for the challenge, I put together a list of BASIC tips that I hope will keep me from blowing up on too many holes.
“I can’t think of many sports where you make an athletic move with your feet close together. That’s why I like a nice, wide base. It keep me balanced, which is a huge factor in driving.” – 2004 U.S. Amateur champion and current PGA player Ryan Moore
“Turn your shirt buttons toward me,” said our Head Pro Andy Fisher as he stood behind me during a recent lesson.
“Perhaps the biggest effect that a windy tee shot can have on a player is a mental one: wind can make you tense and affect your swing mechanics. With a headwind, you must fight the urge to tee the ball low and muscle it – that will inevitably result in too much backspin. Instead tee the ball up normally, swing smoothly and hold your finish position.” -- Private Playing Lessons, Golf Magazine
“Pitch and Run: A good pitch and run shot requires a solid hit. Pretend you are driving a tack into the ball.” – From the website hookedongolf.com
“When putting off the green, stand taller than usual. This will allow you to make a longer putting stroke.” -- Private Playing Lessons, Golf Magazine
“Eyes over the ball. Most great putters either keep their eyes over the ball, or at least over the target line. This makes sense because then you get a true picture of the line and you’re more likely to aim correctly.” – Gary Player, from his book, Golf Begins at 50
This has been the trip of a lifetime with old friends and one new...an Irish Wolfhound who my family would like me to bring home.
Allan (Currently a 13 handicap on my home course.)