Please, please tell us the secret Hank, Mr Haney, sir.  Spare us years of digging in the dirt and hitting shanks and sclaffs* and make half-decent golf easy-peasy instead of an impossible dream.  This plea comes from the heart but even so I hadn’t the stamina to make it to the end of the promo; lacked the devotion to press ahead and commit to what it took; I guess I just have to admit that I don’t have what it takes; no stickability.

For goodness sake, what on earth is she wittering/whittering on about now?  Is there much more of this?  As an increasingly bored and disinterested copytaker really did say to me once – only once??! – as I was struggling to string a coherent piece together under the strains of a looming deadline and very little info of any interest whatsoever.

In the days before computers and t’internet, you used to have to file your story by picking up the phone, often reversing the charges (younger readers can give up now) and dictating your well-chosen words to a copytaker, a professional typer-up of stories good, bad and indifferent.  If you were lucky, you’d get a chirpy soul like the man who coped with Danielle Ammaccapane – enunciated carefully letter by letter – by saying, “Ah, normal spelling…”  I still love that man, whoever he was.  As for the sour woman who could do no better than the dreaded classic, “Is there much more of this?”….Well, I now feel much sorrier for her than for me.

Dai used to talk fondly – well, irascibly if truth be told – of Deaf Jim, one of the Birmingham Post’s stalwarts, who was a bit hard of hearing and used to panic when he realised that his correspondent was ringing from America.  It wasn’t as though Jim had to pay the phone bill but he took it very personally and of course, his hearing got worse.  You can imagine what that did for Dai’s, shall we say, demeanour when he was at the Masters, say, right up to deadline.

Dai at his keyboard, by Harold Riley.  No more copytakers to worry about, just technical gremlins.

Ah, deadlines.  What a joy to have a proper cut-off time, beyond which you could do nothing more.  It’s all 24/7 now, non-stop around the clock.  Rest is a four-letter word.  No wonder AI is the in/coming thing – no need for food, sleep or reflection if there’s no human involved.

Now, where was I?  Ah yes, Hank.  I was scrolling down my emails the other day, not making much progress because I kept reading and clicking on stuff that might be interesting when I came across Hank’s 1-SHOT SLICE FIX, under the auspices of but also as featured in, apparently, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, ESPN, Golf Digest and GOLF.

From Hank’s website,

Hank is a big cheese in the world of coaching – legendary even – and his credentials are beyond question.  He coached Tiger Woods for many successful years until they had a big falling out and those who can afford it travel many miles and pay big bucks to have lessons with Hank.  He knows what he’s talking about.  I like to think of my stock shot, a left to right thing sometimes known as a slice (I play golf right-handed) as a wee fade, possibly a cut but who wouldn’t be intrigued by the blurb that promised nirvana:  a quick, permanent fix.

Here are some quotes:  It Takes No More Than 5 Minutes Of Practice Swings…and Then ONE SINGLE SHOT On the Range…(It looks prettier and more compelling in the original layout)….to eliminate decades of horrible slicing habits and start crushing ultra-controlled drives down the fairway…Shot after shot…consistently….

Who wouldn’t be intrigued but I started to lose the will to live, let alone improve as Hank went on and on about how good he was/is (I know, Hank, I know), how many thousands of people he’d taught over the years and then all these happy people, all men, mostly middle-aged at best, who’d spent years spraying their balls to the right (I didn’t last long enough to see if there were any lefties included) and now couldn’t slice if their lives or the lives of their loved ones depended on it.

Come on Hank, there’s no singing this week (half-term) so I’m not in a rush but please get on with it, you’ve made your point, cut to the chase, how much?  What do I have to pay for this nugget?

You’d have been proud of me – or thought I was bonkers – because I made it to the nitty-gritty.  The price was $47, a snip but there was some sort of caveat that involved signing up to Performance Golf – cancel at any time, that sort of schtick.  That’s when I gave up.

A little slice of heaven….

Trouble was, I thought I’d gleaned enough to try it out on the golf course and since this week’s comp was a Texas Scramble, what better test event?  Apologies partners.  Not surprisingly I didn’t get it quite right but I did hit a few drives well left – not my usual miss – and couldn’t be sure that my trusty fade would pop up whenever I needed it.  We weren’t last but weren’t that far off the bottom.  Perhaps I should have paid up.  Perhaps I should have hit a few balls on the practice ground.  Perhaps I should just have stayed in bed…

Ah well, there’s always next week.

*a stroke in which the sole of the club scrapes the ground before striking the ball; any horribly mishit shot.

A Mary McKenna special, November’s photo, serene enough to calm the soul of any sclaffer – or Halloween bride of Frankenstein…