Winter brings longer drives and fast greens

2011-06-16 00:00

WE are fairly close to mid-winter in this part of the world and we are starting to see our drives running further on the fairways.

This pleases most golfers because we reckon the closer to the green the better. Putting greens are also affected in winter.

There is little or no growth now, so we have to contend with greens running much faster than usual.

The putting stroke has to be extra smooth and precise and in hitting a putt just a tad too hard, you could find yourself having to deal with a tricky two-metre return putt.

Very fast greens make some golfers nervous, especially if the golfer has a defect in his putting technique, and if this is so, he is a potential contender for the dreaded “yips”.

This is one of the strange quirks and peculiarities of golf. Golfers know exactly­ what this is, but try explaining this to a non-golfer.

The yips are more of a mental thing than physical. It is an involuntary jerk or twitch of the hands when putting or chipping. Every golf club has a couple­ of yipping members, but there are various ways of overcoming the problem.

Some of the cures vary from using an extremely long putter, a medium length putter that rests in, believe it or not, the belly button, a cross- handed­ grip and various weird styles of the bottom hand clasping the putter.

Virtually­ anything is acceptable providing it works for the person putting and it’s within the rules of golf.

The yips are a very serious problem that has cut short some professional golfers’ careers.

Names like Hogan, Snead, Miller, Watson and Langer come to mind as known yippers.

Langer, however, managed to overcome the yips with use of the long “broomstick” putter.

For us weekend golfers, the green-keeping staff have a role to play in winter.

More thought and consideration must be given to the position of the hole on the greens.

The second major of the year, the U.S. Open, starts today. The Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland­ is the venue. It will be late-night television viewing with the last round played on Sunday night. Don’t miss it. Last weekend’s results

Maritzburg Golf Club held its 125th anniversary competition on Saturday and it was played as a four ball betterball Stableford.

The winners were R. Goodayle and N. Bharat on 47 points. Second on a count-out were D. Fourie and S. Maries on 46 points.

Dux Deysel holed his tee shot at the short fifth hole.

Victoria Country Club held a betterball competition on Saturday. It was a fundraiser for cerebral palsy.

The winners were J. Gopaul and P. Govender on 47 points. Second place went to P. Muller and D. Schaup with 46 points.

From the 19th hole: A new young member from the country club asked an old wealthy member how he made his money.

The old man said: “Well son, it was 50 years ago and times were tough. I was down to my last five cents and I invested it in an apple. I spent all morning polishing it, then I sold it for 10 cents.

“The next morning, I invested the 10 cents in two apples, spent the morning polishing them and sold them for 20 cents.

“I continued the system­ for the rest of the month and I had accumulated a fortune of R7,30.

“Then my wife’s father died and left us R10 million.”

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