Well-meaning people are always giving us hackers tips on how to improve our ball-striking but none has worked as well as that given to me in a bar last week by former England and Glamorgan cricket star Peter Walker.
For obvious reasons, I usually can’t recall tips given to me in bars and for a week this one lay dormant in my mind. Suddenly, it came back to me at Royal Porthcawl on Wednesday of this week.
Since I was three down at the time, it seemed worth trying. Peter, recovering well from a recent heart attack, suggested that I might hit the ball further if I put more weight on my right leg when addressing it.
When I address the ball my weight is usually evenly spread on both legs. Try, he said, to put 60 per cent of your weight on the inside of your right leg at the address.
’ It stops you swaying and after you’ve turned with your shoulders your weight will automatically switch to the left on the downswing, ’ he said.
Peter, who plays off six, has proved it works in his own game so who am I to question his wisdom. And I am delighted to say it worked for me.
Playing at Porhcawl on Wednesday was a delight. It was cold but the sun was brilliant, the air was crystal clear and, although it wasn’t all that windy, steep waves crashed onto the rocks of Rest Bay close by.
It was spectacular and, across the bay, Swansea glittered like Naples. But don’t tell Naples I said that.
As for the course, the greens and the fairways were magnificent and they’ve cut the rough back with a generosity not normally seen there.
All that didn’t stop me slipping swiftly to a three down situation against my normal companion John Dodd. Then, I remembered the Walker tip and it had an immediate effect. I was striking the ball cleaner and it was going further.
I have been hitting the ball better lately but it wasn’t consistent. I tend to sway when I swing instead of turning properly and that doesn’t help. But putting my weight on the inside of the right leg made a big difference.
Always one to share, I told Doddy about it and his game went to pieces. It was working off the tee but not off the fairway and I fought back to one down with two to play.
Sadly, my drive on the 17th was soundly hit but it wandered slightly off line into some nasty rough. I chopped it out into a lie that wasn’t much better and even my inside leg couldn’t prevent me from finding another bad lie.
Since he was down the middle, I conceded the game and we went off for a bacon and egg toastie.
I look forward to trying the tip out in the winter league on Sunday and if the weather wasn’t so horrible I would go out right now and practice. That’s how excited I am.