I actually gave a golf lesson last week. Well, a sort of a one. It lasted the sum total of two minutes, was given in two bits several hours apart and the pupil, whose attention span is limited, was big sister Patricia. Very unlike when I did “proper” teaching or videos – see picture at top.
Patricia had been over staying with me and was driving me to my weekly lymphatic massage, which has become part of my armoury to defeat Long Covid, and was saying how little she had played and how dire her efforts were. Panic was setting in as she had a couple of matches coming up. I asked her to describe her shots to me (facts only, no opinion) and gleaned the information that her iron shots were thin. This seemed to concern her a lot, which surprised me, as most of her golf at this time of year requires woods – and plenty of them! This exchange took precisely 92 seconds and off I went for my massage.
Much later back at home, around the time you’re wondering if it’s too early for a first gin and tonic, we remembered we hadn’t finished the lesson. It was now nearly dark and pouring with rain so I stood at the kitchen door and sent her out with my 7-iron for a couple of swings. It was as I expected – her old fault of hitting up from “underneath” the ball instead of delivering a sideways on blow. This action of hitting up makes it difficult (impossible really) to get a good, online strike hence all her thin shots. This part of the lesson took the remaining 28 seconds that made up the two minutes – more than enough for both of us! The lesson concluded, we opened the bar.
The photograph below was taken several years ago at the height of her hitting-upward-through-the ball skills, A new improved version will be posted once procured!
The day of Patricia’s inter-club match dawned, a home venue, with seven-a-side playing off handicap. Sis was the anchor match – or perhaps the captain was hoping the result would be decided before it got to her. The latter is very probable as Patricia had announced to her team before the off that she was retiring from club matches after this one as “her nerves were shot!” Not what any captain wishes to hear before sending her troops into battle.
Anyway, as Patricia and her opponent made their way down the last the other team members were all gathered at the back of the 18th green with three matches apiece. They nervously enquired as to the state of the match only to be informed that it had already finished on the 15th. The two-minute lesson had done the trick and efforts to bring Patricia out of competitive match retirement have already begun! She, however, is determined to go out at the “top”.
Now here’s something for those who do play golf nearer the top of the amateur game. It was brought to my attention by Ken Schofield, former executive director of the European Tour (now the DP World Tour). Ken was at the tour’s helm for almost thirty years and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013 for his services to the game. He is still mightily involved with the sport and has taken over as patron of Surrey golf after the death of Peter Alliss last year.
The Peter Alliss Memorial, a new mixed event, will be held at Hindhead golf club in early July and all the details are on the poster below. Please spread the word far and wide – what an honour it would be to win the inaugural playing of the trophy that bears Peter’s name. It promises to be a great event and will hopefully grow into one of the “majors” on the amateur circuit.
One of the questions I am frequently asked is which is the greatest golf event I have been privileged to be present at. I haven’t been to a quarter of the number of my sister but my top events (in no particular order) would include: Woosie winning the 1991 Masters; Tiger’s first Masters win in 1997; the first away win for Europe in the Solheim Cup in Colorado in 2013; the Duel in the Sun between Watson and Nicklaus in the 1977 Open at Turnberry; Shane’s win in 2019 at Portrush. I could go on and on.
Whenever Patricia is asked the same question she faithfully comes back time and again to the same answer – Alison Nicholas’ historic win in the 1997 US Women’s Open at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon, where she held off the darling of the Americans, Nancy Lopez, denying her the opportunity to win her national title – the only treasure missing from her glittering resume. This gets Patricia’s vote every time.
I was reminded of this fact when I realised that Ali celebrated her 60th birthday last week. I just loved this photo posted on facebook and hope it leaves you with a smile – as it did me. Many happy returns, Big Al.