Six characters you’ll see at the range this off-season

Train it, trust it. And then panic and hit another 100 balls

Train it, trust it. And then panic and hit another 100 balls

This off-season will be different, this will be the one where I make more than two after-work trips and one token Sunday foray to the driving range.

Come March my work will be done, the technical changes complete, a new pre-shot routine in place and the kinks of 2014 ironed out. Come March I will own my swing.

Or, alternatively, I will head to the first Stableford as clueless and out of kilter with my ‘golf game’ as has been the case for the past 33 years. 

But, as the range demonstrates on a daily basis, I will be in good company. Forget the weekend warriors who take to the course come rain or shine, or just a mild January morning, the real heroes are to be found popping in their #codes to ball dispensers up and down the country in the vain hope that this visit will be different.

Mr Tour Sticks

I’m prepared to give this character the benefit of the doubt that he/she is a good player and therefore knows what he’s doing with his flexible friends. 

He/she (for the purposes of brevity I’ll just say he from now on) will be working on something or merely using the winter to ‘take it back to the basics’.

He also, on the other hand, might play off 23 (nothing wrong with that of course though, he says in a condescending manner) and just likes the fact that this is what the grown-up boys on TV do.

Mr iPod

He has watched a little bit too much of Ian Poulter and thinks that by listening to Depeche Mode at full blast he is going to start striping it further and straighter from within a cocoon of positivity.

The only snag being that being able to swing a club at somewhere around 100mph and finding a spot on your windproof blouson to clip your music machine to is a tricky business and you are likely to spend most of your session re-attaching things together as Aztec Camera starts blasting out.

Mr School Shoes

Given a wardrobe that just says navy blue I’m not in a position to start firing any shots but wearing a pair of work shoes to knock a few balls away is no good for anyone, even on a sly lunchtime adventure.

Equally turning up to the range, on a Tuesday night in January, dressed for golf
is inexcusable. 

In the same way that going straight to the pub after a normal round will quickly single you out as a bit of a wrong ‘un.
Every shot begins with a Justin Rose-type pointing of the club and squinting of the eye and finishes with a commentary of what’s just happened Mr Wannabe Pro

Struggles to get through his three large baskets, bowls up with his full tour bag and wears the shoes with his initials on.

Every shot begins with a Justin Rose-type pointing of the club and squinting of the eye and finishes with a commentary of what’s just happened. Then runs through instalments of his magic moves in slow motion.

Intersperses his practice routine with various phone calls, carried out in too loud a fashion, where boasts are made of various conquests on and off the course.

‘Played like a dog, 15 greens, shot bundles, back up to scratch.’ Shut up.

Mr Big Dog

Turns up with just his driver. No need here to work his way through the bag before heading to the 1st tee/car.

Instead just cut straight to the chase and try to outhit the bloke in the next bay. 

And, when you do, let him know by puffing out your chest, hold your finish that bit longer and make everything worse by regaling a glazed-over stranger with the deal that you got online.

‘Can’t miss with it mate.’ Big block right.

Mr Ball Retriever

Despite all the signs and any common sense, he just can’t help himself when it comes to a few stray balls lying about.

Finds it impossible to finish on another scuttled top so, after a shifty look left and right, begins tiptoeing his way along the nether regions of the range to collect another half dozen balls.

Should know better at 48.

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