Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Golf Gadgets: Swingyde

Another week, another golf gizmo, this time the Swingyde which 'reduces incorrect wrist cocking and encourages correct radial deviation of the wrist.' Caught MOH havng a go with it in the garden and realised I really had forgotten about my propensity to roll my wrist over on the back swing. Attempting to correct this on the course certainly didn't result in a particularly good round, but I could feel the difference in my swing and think it might be worth a bit more practice.
In fact the Swing Factory (possibly the most detailed treatment of the takeaway and backswing you can find anywhere) is equally emphatic on this element of the backswing. I studied this two years ago, but recently have been concentrating on shoulder turn, so that the whole wrist thing had gone out of my mind. By the way, if the above description means nothing to you, try, 'identifies the correct hand and wrist position to achieve a square club face at impact'.
It does seem to help achieve bringing the club down in the right plane and also combats any tendency to overswing (not that I've ever had that probem!)
What exacty is it? In brief, a plastic thing you attach to the club, a bit pricey at £19, but if you're interested, shop around! I would think it's better value than the Swingsetter (£50+?) which didn't do much for me.

Monday, 18 February 2008

February Bookshelf

MOH has just invested in Private Lessons, a collection of tips from Golf Magazine. I don't know the (U.S.) magazine but really love the presentation of this book. Each 'lesson' is a double-page spread with just the right balance of text and illustrations to make things crystal clear. The drawings, which give the book its distinctive look are all by Barry Ross, and I'm happy to say that almost 50% of them are of women golfers. (How refreshing!)
The only minor grumble is that the arrangement is a bit odd, with some topics covered in more than one section, but the contents and index make everything pretty easy to find.
Now the crucial question, is it any good? Well it looks like it should be, and if my golf has taken a distinct downturn of late, that's probably to be expected. Or, as someone quipped when MOH had a bad round, 'Have you been having lessons?'
Moral of the story: things get worse before they get better.

Talking of morals and stories (neat segue?), Tom Cox has found a golfing bonkbuster called Private Members which had got under my radar. It's about a golf club where, to quote Amazon, 'only the over-sexed, the over-rich and the over-beautiful need apply.'
I have to agree with Tom that this doesn't sound like any golf club I've ever seen. Clearly the book is the most arrant nonsense appealing only to sex-starved escapist fantasists. On the other hand there are reviewers who think it's a lot of fun. Maybe I'm just writing for the wrong market?
Review of Private Members pending - (if I dare.)

Monday, 11 February 2008

Summer Weather, Winter Tees

On the other side of the world (climatically speaking) there's a new Star of India but here in the South West we are basking under the same sunny skies we enjoyed last month in Cornwall. On Saturday it was warm enough for shirt sleeves (pity I was wearing two sweaters!) and Sunday much the same. Sadly the summer weather doesn't seem to be helping my stubbornly winter style of golf (uninspired) and I'm feeling as cross as ever about the winter golfer's bugbear, the dreaded mats. If I'm off form (yes, you guessed) it really doesn't help to have to step up on a niggardly square of green astro-turf flung down at random on a strip of muddy and uneven grass. These particular mats have a 'choice' (LOL) of two tee-pegs (neither of them the height I'd like) and precious little room to take a practice swing or adjust my stance. They're also positioned in a completely haphazard direction which may or may not line you up with the fairway, the pin, or the nearest water hazard.
Recent visits to local courses show that around here mats are inevitable in the winter months, but that it's possible to provide a much better teeing surface than what we're having to put up with. Saltford Golf Club, for instance, has good size mats with slots for 'real' tee-pegs. The mats are set on larger bases of an open design that lets air travel between the two surfaces, a solution that should please the green-keepers as well as the winter golfer. Our club is mainly 'pay and play' and has little or no regard for the interests of the membership, but surely investing in some decent winter tees would be a good business decision. The course stays open in pretty much any weather and could attract players from a number of the local clubs that reguarly close after heavy rain, but if any self-respecting golfer turned up at the moment, they would take a look at our winter tees and probably run a mile.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Blood and Sand

Some high jinks from Ian Poulter and the possibility of Tiger not winning has at last got me interested in the Dubai Desert Classic. I was glad to see Ian setting the record straight on his apparently misquoted remarks, though I don't think that a bit of self-belief is so much of a bad thing. Since then Tiger has dropped out of the lead with Els starting today at the top of the leader-board. Will he make it? Not being blessed with Sky I'll have to wait for the match reports. I think a lot of people would like Ernie to win but suspect fewer really believe he can do it. I myself wonder if some of the hunger has gone. At least from a distnace it looks like he has it all - happy home life, charitable interests, multi-million pound business, not to mention a sunny temperament. How much does winning matter? And this clearly begs the question - what keeps Tiger going?
Whoever wins I think it's not going to be Tiger, i.e. another shock-horror situation, a bit like the Australian Open Tennis where Federer failed in the semis. I'm ashamed to say that I had to go out checking blogs to find out who the winner was. I hope Dubai is remembered for its winner, not just as the time that Tiger failed.

Give me sunshine

This prayer was answered last weekend when we decided at the last minute to join friends who had booked in at the gorgeous Carlyon Bay Hotel near St. Austell. The course (and a fine birdie!) is commemorated on my old golf blog but this year the weather proved, by comparison, blissfully fair and the course in excellent condition. At this time of year the joy of springy turf underfoot is hard to beat and I did play rather better golf than a year ago, twice managing a 6 on that evil uphill 13th - good enough for me.
One small complaint on Sunday when we were on winter greens for three or four holes. Obviously this can't be avoided from time to time, but on this occasion there was no warning and the so-called temporaries were completely undistinguishable from fairway. In fact we failed to even find the seventeenth green and were forced to abandon the hole! Still, I don't think that will be our abiding memory of such a lovely weekend.

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