Doughtie Sr. on Golf (February) 2014)


Happy New Year.....Bliadhna Mhath Ur.
 
I hope that Season 2014 has commenced for all our readers and that ,unless we get a late winter,our skates will be confined to the garage,for at least another year or more.....however keep then sharp and clean just in case!!!!!!!!!
 
Now is the time to get an extra layering of clothes on and get out practising either on the course,if open, or at the driving range(better to be referred to as practise ground otherwise you are tempted to only blast drives over the fence instead of developing your swing etc, with a mid-iron)
 
 
Some of the top golfers spend hours hitting thousands of balls and I know a lot of club members who can also occupy themselves with umpteen buckets of balls,trying to hit them out of sight.....
 
For low handicappers and professionals this is just part of their daily routine.We,the average golfers, should also use this period to fine tune our games for the coming season,with perhaps a lesson from the local professional thrown in.This will assist in ironing out any flaws in our swings and hopefully get a straigher flight of the ball,which should give extra distance too.It is remarkable how your game improves and your handicap reduces if you are constantly playing from the middle of the fairway.
 
Ben Hogan spent hours hitting balls until his hands were bleeding,whereas,Lee trevino said "I don't practise too much before a round.I prefer to keep my good shots for the competition".Take your pick.....
 
In the very old days there were no practise grounds.Most of the old courses and clubs to this day have very limited facilities.A mat and a net ,out of sight ,beside or behind the clubhouse,may be available for the "fanatic".A hundred years ago players, like 5 times Open Champion James Braid,and his contemporaries would just play three rounds per day (all under 3 hours)if practise was required.
 
At St Andrews the practise ground(driving range) is far enough away from most of the 1st Tees to discourage anyone wishing ,or requiring, a warm up prior to a round.The more modern and luxurious establishments,not only provide cultivated ranges but also new ,top mark balls.
 
Whatever is your preference before you start your round, or prepare for the season ahead,some form of practise or warm-up is recommended.
 
I had the pleasure of commencing my 2014 season on 1st January on the Jubilee Course at St Andrews,far away from the practise facilities,with our professional James.At 0 deg C, with a wee breeze and no help from him,I recorded my first victory of the year, albeit at the 18th......In all fairness to him, he only had a half-set,was freezing cold and gave me a stroke at 14 holes........or was it due to him not being able to warm-up and practise prior to our tee-off time??????.....I wonder!!!!!!!...
 
Have a great season and don't forget   IT'S ONLY A GAME
 
1st round 2014  
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