Is throwing a golf club a lost art?

2008-07-29 00:00

Television golf commentator David Feherty recently mentioned the absence of characters and club- throwers on the professional circuit. This is obviously because there are hefty fines for players and club-throwing is regarded as bad behaviour. According to administrators, it brings the sport into disrepute.

Twenty or 30 years ago, club- throwing was far more prevalent. Throwing a club after hitting a bad shot was common, but it was usually done in a fit of temper — which of course displays a lack of self-control. It must be remembered, though, that it was a spontaneous act.

For any of the older amateur golfers who did occasionally give the club a “helicopter” after a bad shot, they will fondly remember those days.

They will recall the importance of a full, flat backswing with the thumb firmly behind the shaft, the cocking of the wrist, and that late final release. A flat swing didn’t break the shaft when it landed, unless it hit a tree or, God forbid, another golfer. Regular throwers developed a skilful technique and they rarely broke a shaft. They would even throw a new club, such was their confidence.

The putter could be thrown the furthest distance, and second was the sand wedge. Ironically, the driver was the “shortest” club, but was “helicoptered” more than any other.

Most club-throwers will remember that exquisite whirring sound the club made that was pleasing to the ear, sounding a little like a startled flock of pigeons taking flight from a lurking cat. Then, immediately after the throw, there was the feeling of remorse with a dash of shame, but the act definitely released the pressure and anger in seconds.

At prize-giving, it was the captain’s standard weekly fine. “Any helicopters?” he would ask, and sure enough, at least half a dozen players would rise from their seats and drop their coins into the fines box.

Club-throwing was often found to be amusing to the playing partners, but there were a few who didn’t approve of club-throwing at all.

Could one say that club-throwing is a lost art? It is a shame that someone didn’t record those skills and write instructional books with titles like Club-Throwing for Beginners or The Secret to Perfect Club-Throwing. Had club-throwing remained popular, we would surely now have regional and national REMAX long- throw championships. It’s a pity that we don’t have many club-throwers any more, because this activity was a great topic of conversation, and to the spectator it was indeed entertaining.


Last week’s results:

At Maritzburg Golf Club on Saturday, a four-ball better ball Stableford competition. The winners on a count-out on 44 points were Petrus Jonker and Gus Gubba. Second were Neville Xaba and Charles Severn. In third place were Franco Pessenbacher and Fana Nkabinde on 43 points.

A four-ball better ball Stableford was also held at Victoria Country Club, where Erica Kahler and Tish Kauffman won with 47 points. Second were Piet Claasens and Bok Fourie with 46 points and third, Sya Giles and Marieke Ackerman, also on 46 points.


KZN golf

The KZN team to play in the SA Interprovincial Tournament in September was announced after the KZN Closed championships at Umhlali Country Club last weekend.

The team will be led by Ryan de Beer and Jared Harvey (both Royal Durban). Gavin Sole (Southbroom) and Mark Cox (Kloof) are back from last year, joined by Jon Campbell (Kloof) and debutants David Brown (Mt Edgecombe), Cobus Oosthuizen (Bluff ) and Thomas Lovett (Darnall).

Reserves are Steven van Heerden (Bluff National Park) and Mikhail Tewary (Royal Durban).

The KZN team: Ryan de Beer (captain), David Brown, Jon Campbell, Mark Cox, Jared Harvey, Thomas Lovett, Cobus Oosthuizen and Gavin Sole. Reserves: Steven van Heerden and Mikhail Tewary.

Tewary’s short game carried him to an exciting one-stroke win at the Closed ahead of the fast-finishing Gideon Pienaar. Gavin Sole, three off the pace, was third.

Leading scores:

281 - Mikhail Tewary 68,72, 67, 74.

282 - Gideon Pienaar 75, 70 69 68.

284 - Gavin Sole 71, 71, 73, 69.

293 - Steven van Heerden 73, 72, 78, 70.

294 - Brian Dougherty 70, 72, 78, 74.

296 - Martin Rohwer 72, 74, 77, 73.

300 - Krelen Govender 74, 76, 72, 78.

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