• Old habits

    Andy Capostagno
    Old habits

    In Andy Capostagno’s hacker’s guide to golf, he looks at dusting off his clubs ahead of the Sunshine Tour’s annual media day. I took note.

    Frank Thomas recently wrote a list of things golfers should do to prepare for spring. Given that I was about to come out of retirement to play at the Sunshine Tour’s annual media day, I took note.

    Find your golf bag, empty it and throw away the stuff you don’t need, advised Frank.

    Found my bag, unzipped it, brushed away the rat droppings, couldn’t find anything I didn’t need. Broken tees, three different pitch-mark repairers, copy of the rules of golf, now 20 years old, but too valuable to archive, empty water bottle (just needs filling up), suntan lotion (ditto), hats (three). A man would have to be crazy to throw away this stuff.

    Check your grips. In most cases you should regrip annually.

    Are you serious? These grips are only as old as the clubs they adorn. So what if the 9-iron has been chewed by rats. It so happens that the little finger of my left hand sits perfectly in the resultant groove. Come on Frank, get a life!

    Be brutally honest with yourself: take those clubs you have not used and are wasting space in your bag and put them in the garage next to your ego. This will make space for clubs that will be more useful.

    Listen Frank, these clubs are old friends. I can’t just throw them aside like last year’s wife. You see this 2-iron? I carry it in case I break my putter. Two rescue clubs? In case I need rescuing more than once a round. It’s like ‘phone a friend’, you know; you can’t just use them willy-nilly.

    Select a brand and type of golf ball you like and stock up for the season.

    Get with the beat, Baggy. There are dozens of perfectly respectable ball manufacturers; how could I be so callous as to use just one? What do I do when I hit one into the bushes, lose it, but find a better one in the search? Throw it away because it’s the wrong compression? Yeah, right.

    Make sure you have an adequate supply of tees, ball markers and pitch-mark repair tools.

    Check. Two whole pockets of my bag are devoted to all of these.

    You will need a few Band-Aids on hand, especially as you get started into the season.

    For what? Didn’t you hear they invented the safety razor? Blisters, you say. I don’t hold my clubs any harder than I grab the steering wheel to avoid taxis coming the wrong way down the highway. My hands are harder than a bank manager’s heart.

    Check that the cleats in your golf shoes are all there, and make sure the shoes will last you a whole season. If not, replace.

    Cleats? You mean there are people out there who still use cleats? The moment Fred Couples started playing in deck shoes I threw my golf shoes away.

    Check your rain gear and make sure it still fits you.

    Come on Frank, this is South Africa. If it starts to rain you know where to find me. At the bar, getting wet on the inside.

    Forty-five per cent of your score is on the putting green, so invest in a putting lesson or two, or a few practice aids to help you until you can get on to the green for some real practice.

    What do you think I’m doing in the bar? Drinking? Well yes, but I’m also trying out Fruity Malcolm’s tip. Apparently Jordan Spieth never looks at the ball after he’s putted it. I’m experimenting with not looking at the ball before I’ve putted it. The theory is that if you don’t make eye contact, the ball won’t recognise you. For all the
    ball knows, I might be Jordan Spieth.

    – This column first appeared in the November issue of Compleat Golfer, now on sale

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