It’s all good addictive fun!
An Ode to Golf
I was born and bred in Percy Main village and even though the cricket club was a mere 200 metres from my house, I didn’t play cricket until I was 29 years old. After 20 years of playing I was still no good, so I joined a golf club.
One of the main attractions of playing cricket is that it is a team game, with great camaraderie involved. Golf, on the other hand, is a challenge against oneself, with the added bonus of playing with and against other people. Golfers are given an official performance rating by their club, which goes by the name of a ‘handicap’. Besides trying to beat opponents an eternal battle is fought attempting to improve, or at least keep, the rating of this handicap. It’s all good addictive fun!
Most serious golfers think a lot about their game and I’m no exception. Not being averse to a verse, I’ve put some of my thoughts down in poetry, based on the experiences I’ve had with some childhood friends, Ron and Bal, and the games we’ve played together at Bedlington Golf Club. By the way, I’m the ‘Lex’ in the story and I hope these verses swing for you.
An Ode to Golf
Bal’s swing is such a thing of beauty
To help his pals they thought his duty
For many games and many a year
He told them how they should prepare
To build towards great clubhead speed
The ‘this’ and ‘that’ you certainly need.
Great clubhead speed I do aver
Is something which does not occur
By grace of God or chance remote
But only after careful note
Of certain things which you must do
To make your swing both strong and true.
To Ron and Lex he did explain
That his advice would be in vain
And each good shot a blatant fluke
They would continue to slice and hook
Beyond all hope, beyond the Pale
If on one vital point they fail.
He never seemed to lose his cool
As he stressed ; ‘the hands and wrists are the tool’
For they alone provide the strength
The great control, the extra length
Which you require to murder par
And hit a golf ball straight and far.
He then gave Lex a proper grip
Two well trained hands which could never slip
To Ron a stance with knees quite bent
His head well down, his eyes intent
Upon the ball which, with no doubt
They both must strike from inside out.
You’ll start your swing with firm left hand
This time do your BEST to understand
The clubhead must be taken back
With action smooth along a track
how many times do I tell you, I have to say
Lex, your right leg must never sway
If it does you’ll be forever a golfing minion
As the man with the wooden leg said – ‘it’s a matter of a pinion’
The shift of weight if not done with care
Will wreck your swing beyond repair.
Your steel thewed wrists swing clubhead back
But never let your grip go slack
Your shoulder turn should be complete
And once again Lex, to repeat
Your fixed right knee provides the clue
To strength and balance known to few.
To Ron, your back swing is unique
How can it not disaster wreak?
Try very hard to keep control
Avoid the plague of shoulder roll
For you must learn there’s nothing worse
Than this, which is golf’s greatest curse.
Just let your shoulders roll about
If you’re intent on finding out
Where daisies grow among the trees
And grass sways gently in the breeze
Why fairways are not wide enough
And Bedlington seems choked with rough.
I say again Ron, your hips must lead
And turn away with lightning speed
To build up pace and clear the way
For waiting straight left arm, which may
Now strike a really powerful blow
Down past your steady head below.
It has not moved, nor must it yet
Until your strong left side has met
The forward thrust and fearful shock
of all your great power on which you call
at this late stage, to hit the ball
You both have power, so long contained
But now released and unrestrained
Explodes from your right hand and wrist
To whip the club without a twist
Straight through the ball and very low
As far as outstretched arms will go.
How can we be consistent? I hear you say
There’s more to this than simply to pray
But pray with all your might and main
That your left wrist will stand the strain
For if it quits and fails you now
May heaven help your shot, and how!
You cannot play good golf for long
Unless your steel thewed wrists are strong
I’ve told you Lex, I’ve told you Ron
That if your game should be spot on
Follow my words right to the letter
You’ll say ‘I can’t hit the ball any better’
There’s nothing more except that you
Can now complete the follow through
Have all these thoughts at your command
And then I know you’ll understand
How length is yours if you succeed
In building up great clubhead speed.