Hoped to end my holiday in West Wales with a game at Cardigan today (Friday) but the weather turned a bit nasty. I love playing Cardigan but I find it hard enough in the best weather and certainly can’t cope when it is wet and windy — although I did win the nearest-the-pin prize when we played there in a gale last May
So I’ll be returning home considerably under-golfed. One game in a fortnight is a small ration and since I hadn’t played or practised much in the two weeks before coming away I am scarcely on top of my game.
What’s needed is a burst of activity pretty quickly before embarking on my autumn offensive. If I’m going to break 100 in a medal this year there’s not much time to remove a few kinks and inconsistencies that have crept into the swing.
I shall have a lesson or two and spent time on the range trying to re-establish the tempo I had earlier in the season when I seemed to be making progress.
When you think of the time the pros spent on honing their game it is ridiculous for us hackers to think we can improve with the minimum of effort.
Take Tom Lewis as an example. One of England’s brightest prospects for the big-time he already holds a brilliant record for an amateur in The Open. At the age of 20, his 65 in the first round at Royal St George’s in 2011 was the lowest ever for an amateur in the long history of that tournament.
He went on to finish 30th and won the silver medal for top amateur. He turned pro just afterwards and won the Portugal Open in only his third pro event.
Unfortunately, after that meteoric start his success-rate slowed down, as often happens, and he has made only two cuts out of his last 12 events.
But on Thursday, at the Johnny Walker Championship at Gleneagles, Tom shot a five-under par 67 to remind us of his presence and by the look of his back-up team he means business.
He has the redoubtable Butch Harmon as his swing coach, Dave Alred and Bob Rotella as his mental coaches and Dave Pelz as his short-game advisor.
I once had short-game lessons from Pelz myself but he doesn’t like me mentioning it.
There’s nothing unusual about a pro availing himself of all the help he can get. Most of them do so and these days also get scientific assistance from tracking and ball-speed technology that accompanies them to the range.
I suppose if you were a rich hacker you could get advice from the top coaches but I‘m not sure they are willing to take on difficult cases which could rebound on them and sully their reputations.
A pro once returned my money when I ended up a lesson worse that when I started and it may well be that most of us are beyond help.
Perhaps, multi-lessons and multi-practice sessions are the way forward. Perhaps, I owe it myself, to the game and my long-suffering playing partners to have an improvement blitz. I’ll think about it.