Is it wrong to win money on your own captain’s weekend?

The Scoop

Our club golfer signed off his year as skipper with a weekend in Lancashire. So how did his Titleist custom-fitted clubs perform in battle and why has he suddenly had a eureka moment?

Was anyone scowling in my direction? I couldn’t tell you. My face was firmly fixed towards the floor as I conducted the prize presentation in the clubhouse at Formby Ladies.

I was squirming because I’d just shot 76, for 42 points, and bagged second prize on the opening day of Captain’s Weekend – taking place at this Southport delight and the championship Formby the following day.

Now this should have been a cause for celebration. But there was a rather large elephant in the room. It was my weekend away.

I’m not sure whether it has been a tradition, or whether previous skippers just didn’t have the benefit of custom-fitted clubs upon which to lean, but the top man doesn’t normally win a prize.

Until now.

You’ve got to be a straight and accurate hitter to succeed at Formby Ladies. My struggles with driving have been well documented but, on a course measuring no more than 5,400 yards, the big stick remained in the car.

It was about how good you are with your hybrids and irons and whether you could hole any putts.


And if you don’t mind me being boastful for a fraction of a second, I knew I was going to be great.

In the right conditions, I’ve been throwing darts with the AP3 irons ever since I got them just before Christmas.

Ten pars and two birdies later, having hit 10 greens in regulation and 10 out of 14 fairways, I’d say my game is starting to feel on point with the first medal of the year only a few days away.

Even my driver prayers have been answered.

And oh how I have prayed – a mournful cry to the heavens, round after round, as one tee shot after another trod the same trajectory, a low scuttle left into some deep rough.

This has paralysed me with fear. It’s fine hitting hybrids in the winter, with Sandburn Hall 1,000 yards shorter, but the white tees were on the horizon and I was struggling to see how I could compete despite the rest of my game being in generally good shape.

I’ve had lessons, toiled on the range, and tore what was left of my hair right out of the roots. Nothing seemed to make any difference.

But it was after another low dipper that I suddenly found the answer. I grabbed another ball out of the bag, set my driver behind the ball and caught a glimpse of my left hand or more accurately, my left thumb.


No wonder I couldn’t square the face. They say you’re supposed to show two and a half knuckles, don’t they? Not all four.

I’ve always had a strong grip and my hand must have moved, in small increments, until I couldn’t get the club properly on line.

I’ve almost lost my mind wondering why I could hit the hybrids and irons but not the driver. The answer was simple. I didn’t push my thumb so far across the grip with those clubs.

So now I’m hitting it a lot straighter and I’m finally able to unleash the full potential of the Titleist 917D2 driver.

God it’s satisfying when you smack one out of the centre. It’s got a really meaty sound to it and, for me, it’s long.

I went from not being able to reach the green with a hybrid to hitting a 7-iron and from being the opening approach hitter on every hole to 30 yards past a couple of my playing partners.

It’s taken two custom fittings but I’ve dialled it in to a 9.75 degree loft and a fade setting to straighten the face when I look down at the ball (It’s C1 for any SureFit fans out there).

Want to know what difference it really makes? When our white tees came back, I shot 83 on a course that was saturated by rain and playing 6,723 yards. And I didn’t putt well.

With our SSS having increased to 74 for this season, that’s a handicap cut in a tournament.

Find out over the page what Steve has been working on in practice with Ingite Sports’ Duncan McCarthy…

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