Hitting a long drive is good for the ego, but it’s not everything

2010-02-17 00:00

THERE is no doubt that there is an advantage in smashing the ball miles down the fairway to have just a short pitch to the green. Driving the ball a healthy distance is one of the ingredients in maintaining a low handicap. However, it is not essential; you will often find that many golfers who play off low handicaps don’t hit the ball very far. This is because they are generally straight, they never slog the ball into the bush and they chip-and-putt very well. Their scores are often more consistent than those of players who are long off the tee, spraying their tee shots. When their handicaps are similar, it is always a most interesting contest when the brute squares up to the short hitter in a matchplay contest.

Every golf club has certain individuals who are very keen to tell you how far they drive the ball off the tee. In fact, some brag about it and often mention that only a short club was needed for the approach shot to the longer holes on the course. These guys sometimes tease the short hitter, saying to him that he has a good short game … off the tee!

Golfers don’t brag about the number of times they chipped and putted for par. It may be accepted that there is far more skill in that than just bludgeoning the ball miles into the distance, but nothing inflates the male ego like a really long drive off the tee. It’s a macho thing. Another reason could be that chipping and putting for par in the professional ranks is called “scrambling” and it is almost a derogatory term. Professionals must hit greens in regulation in order to score well, so in “scrambling” it intimates that the pro hasn’t played well.

“Scrambling” for weekend golfers is a skill, but it unfortunately does not quite receive the credit that it deserves.

One thing for sure, if you are playing a match against a low-handicap short hitter, beware. He could frustrate you and break your heart before he beats you.

Last week’s results

Both Victoria Country Club and Maritzburg Golf Club were unable to complete 18 holes due to the thunderstorm over the city on Saturday afternoon.

From the 19th hole

Dan was a single man and a single- figure handicap golfer living at home with his widowed father and working in the family business.

When he heard he was to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided to find a wife with whom he could share his fortune.

One day at the Country Club, he met a new lady member. He had never seen a more beautiful woman.

“I may look like just an ordinary man” he said to her, “but soon my father will die and I will inherit R200 million.”

Impressed, the woman asked for his business card and three days later she became his step-mother.

Women are so much better at financial planning than men.

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