By Larry Canning.
WHILE I was taking a drop out of a lateral hazard the other day on the way to losing another nice bottle of Shiraz, my mate Owen and soon to be recipient of the beverage, said something that made a bit of sense.
“Hey Larry, Its unlike you to miss a fairway by so much! What happened with that drive and why don’t you share it with your readers so they can avoid the same mistake?”
Well that’s how I think I remember it anyway … in reality it was probably more like:
“Hey Larry, that’s the 3rd snap hook in a row! Your look like you’re as much chance of hitting a fairway as John Howard has hitting the stumps! It’d be safer for everyone on the course if you went back to the Clubhouse and wrote a column!”
It made perfect sense so here I am readers, sitting in the bar, laptop in hand, attempting to offer up some pearls of wisdom based on my recollection of all the mistakes I made while attempting to win enough cabbage to fly to my next tournament.
I know there’s a tour size golf bag full of terrific golfing tips in every edition of INSIDE GOLF [and on ASG of course] on everything from what bits you need to stretch before you jump on the first tee and rip a latissimus dorsi fin clean off the bone, to the mental preparation it takes to play the back nine putting with a sand wedge after you’ve snapped your putter shaft clean in half. So I’m coming from a slightly different angle.
Let’s start with how to avoid hitting a 4th snap hook in a row.
Assuming it’s a tee shot that’s seeing you reaching for that old reliable but slightly embarrassing 15th club, “The Retractable Ball Retriever”, try this – I’m assuming you haven’t had the honour for a while – so grab the offending bat, place a tee in the ground and take a practice swing at the tee. Try and knock the little fella out of the ground and send it flying to the left. Best you don’t try this with one of those tees that cost more than a ball.
When it’s finally your turn to hit, place your pill on the tee with the brand sitting at about 2 o’clock to the target. Now try and strike the brand on the ball with the same motion as the practice swing. It may not be the prettiest flighted drive you’ve ever struck but your next shot could well be with an iron not a ball scoop.
“…the only spots left were in between Greg Norman and Bernard Langer”
I’m sure I’ve told this story before but for the sake of credibility with experiencing a “Hilary Swank” in front of thousands of people, I’ll give you the short version. I was having a good Aussie Masters one year and found myself in one of the last couple of groups on the weekend. Despite my caddy/wife/therapist (Sandra) always pushing me to embrace the moment and not hide, when it came to warming up on the range I always tried to tuck myself as far away from the superstars as possible. Unfortunately on this particular occasion, the only spots left were in between Greg Norman and Bernard Langer. Sandra headed straight there but I practically jogged right down the end. That far away I actually had to move the rope so I could swing. It wasn’t perfect but I was going to make it work.
My plan all turned to organic fertiliser when I throated my first pitch shot at roughly 30.49 degrees to the right and it slammed into the metal 50 metre sign! The noise was that loud it caught the attention of everyone including the Great White Shark himself.
Now I know we have all had critical shots we’ve had to play at vitally important moments but my next pitch shot that day was one of the toughest ones I’ve ever faced. And I hadn’t even left the range yet!!
With all the spectators pondering if this clearly talented young prodigy who just hit his target with his first shot of the day, can he do it twice in a row I had no choice but to aim right at the sign and try desperately to catch the ball out of the much safer “toe area” of the face. It worked! My next shot wasn’t overly impressive but it avoided me being frog marched off the course and being charged with impersonating a Tour Player.
What I learned from this was that you can actually avoid the heel of the club by simply trying to make contact with the toe. The next time you find yourself over a pitch or chip shot hoping none of your mates are fielding in front point try this – Maybe a little practice on the chipping green before hit off would be smart.
Take your normal stance with the ball set up in the centre of the face. Now take a swing and clean miss the ball on the inside. See! You can actually manipulate the club if you try. Now, still without moving your stance, strike the ball right out of the toe. Now pat yourself on the back, you’re better than you thought!
I figure I might right a little Larry tip (that didn’t come out right did it)… I might write a more than adequate Larry tip every now and then in my column in an attempt to help my loyal readers avoid all the ludicrously bad mistakes I have made.
That’s assuming I still have a job next month.
Good luck readers!