In this edition of Fourball, NCG’s resident basket cases Mark Townsend, Harvey Jamison, Alex Perry and Steve Carroll tackle the dreaded golf lesson…
First of all, do you ever use YouTube to try and solve your own problems?
Alex: I usually go on looking for short game tips and end up watching Phil Mickelson flipping shots over his own head.
Mark: After a recent trip to Ireland I spent Monday night searching ‘how not to double cross the driver’ which made for a welcome break from ‘how to stop flipping your chips’ which I’ve had on a loop since 2001. Given what I think I’m doing wrong I couldn’t find the solution online so wasted an hour trawling through a collection of well-meaning men in bad trousers all to no avail. The answer is, of course, to find a good teacher and stick with him/her.
Steve: I usually start with ‘how to play golf’ and then cherry pick whichever fault is depressing me most at any given time. Right now, it’s ‘stop a snap hook’.
Harvey: There’s one video entitled ‘How to break 80’, it has 42,000 views and I can account for at least 41,000 of those. I’m addicted to it, I play it throughout my 20 minute drive to the course and when I pop my headphones in on putting green. In reality, it does nothing and is merely my safety blanket. Send help please.
You’ve got a free one-hour golf lesson, how would you spend it?
Mark: I’d want half an hour on playing the six-yard chip over a bunker with 20 yards of green to play with. Nothing too much, just three things at the very most to think about when a club with any loft is forced into my hands. Then I’d want the rest of the time spent on how to best nudge a driver/3-wood/hybrid into play and two things to remember when I’m really tired and my back is creeking.
Harvey: If you’d asked me this five years ago I would want the pro to look at every club in my bag and then cram a course management lesson in. But, in this second stage of my blossoming career we’d hit wedges for half an hour, drink some coffee, do some driver drills for 20 minutes and end the session with chat over Newcastle United and Mike Ashley.
Alex: Fix my “power fade” with the driver. We can freestyle the other 55 minutes.
Steve: In an ideal world, we’d enjoy a brief warm-up before really drilling down into technique. The more stats the better, for me, so by all means blind me with numbers. After we’ve decided my iron play is the equal of Nick Faldo, we’ll head over to the green where the secret to holing 6-footers would be revealed.
How relaxed/desperate will you be to make the most of your time together?
Steve: So you’ve seen my ideal. The reality is 60 minutes of ever-increasing frantic despair. I’ll have spent my entire warm up shanking my short irons, meaning that any thoughts of doing anything productive will disappear as we embark on a fire-fighting operation to stop me snapping my 9-iron. I do ‘desperate’ most of the time I’m in a range so there will never be enough hours to sort me out.
Harvey: An hour is a long time to hit balls for and I don’t have a very good attention span, so I would be incredibly relaxed. If they want to talk about their own game or their kids winning the under-12 county swimming trials, I’ll let them. The only result I want to see is this left-shot with my 2-iron eradicated.
Mark: If time begins to slip away from us I’ll be at my most persuasive at getting our golf lesson back in track. It’s a bit like going to the doctor when you have five concerns and you’re only allowed to talk about one. An hour wouldn’t even get close to what I want to talk about though the person on the other end will likely think it’s more than enough. I’ll be at my worst if I hit a few good ones and then start reflecting on how much I like that ‘traj’.
Alex: I’m the least anxious person when it comes to my golf game – I’ve come to terms with the fact I’m never really going to get anywhere lower than about 12 –but when a professional is analysing my game I go to pieces and the golf ball may as well be made of popcorn. Back to YouTube it is…