Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Thanks, Paul Lawrie

This tip was in a recent issue of Golf Monthly and that it came from the pen (?*) of Paul Lawrie, my countryman, who was there to catch the claret jug when Jean Van de Velde let it slip from his grasp at the infamous Open at Carnoustie in 1999.
The tip is very simple and one I’ve seen or been told about before. It’s also one that’s easily forgotten in the middle of a bad round or (even more likely) when you are playing fabulously well one minute with several pars on the card (birdies? don’t be silly) … and the next minute it all goes wrong. We’ve all been there.
Paul’s tip is to always make a tiny pause at the top of your back swing. This ensures you can start moving your weight forward from the hips and prevents you bringing your arms through too fast, a very common fault in beginners (and a lot of people who should know better). In my case the result is usually a ball that flies way left, or one that fails to fly anywhere. What stuck in my mind about Paul’s solution is the way he put it, ‘Rotate and wait’. Very neat, and memorable, a mnemonic in fact, so it’s easier to remember. I suggest that next time your swing stops working, give it a try. Paul refers to it for fairway woods, but I think it applies to driving and irons too.

Re Carnoustie 99, an article in Greenside magazine reminds me that Paul Lawrie has done a lot more than this in his golfing life, even if his form hasn’t been great of late. I saw him myself at the only pro tour event I have ever attended at Celtic Manor (2004?) where his was the first shot I saw played and it went into the trees. I found it quite comforting that even the great and the good have to play out of bad positions.
Stand by for a deluge of articles about whether or not Paul will come into his own again on the home links this year.

*?Just a thought. Why do top tour pros take the time to write tips for golf mags? I can’t think they really need the money. Maybe the manager puts them out with a batch of photos to keep those shekels rolling in during the off-season, or maybe there’s a secret cabal of second-string pros acting as ghost writers? Feel free to educate me on this point.

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