Where we should stand on the coach...


So, the 2011 Masters turned out to be a quite unmissable finale (Unless you’re Rory McIlroy, who missed pretty much everything bar the clubhouse verandah), and who is it that seems to be getting the lions share of the credit? The coaches apparently. The obvious talents and mental stamina of the golfer haven’t quite been eclipsed just yet, but on more than a few occasions the pros appeared on screen saying stuff like “I worked hard with my coach, and it paid off”, or bemoaning the fact that “I just didn’t spend enough time with the coach” when things didn’t go to plan.

I’m sure the coach has a great amount of input when it comes to honing a player’s swing plane, but there’s only one guy striking that little white sphere next to the pin from two hundred yards in front of thousands of spectators when it comes to it. And let’s face it, Harmon, Leadbetter, Haney, Bennet et al were hardly known for topping the leaderboards themselves, so how come they end up with so much credit (And Dollars) whenever their man pulls off a Major win?

I thought I’d have a look at the advice they were offering, and it doesn’t warrant the sort of cash dividends they’re being handed if you ask me. One of the nuggets of advice from the supercoaches is “Make sure you only swing at 90% power”. Yeah, great piece of advice Mr Leadbetter - now my putts all keep coming up 10% short! It made me wonder whether any of theso-called tips would improve the chances of our very own THUGS members triumphing in Majorca this coming October.

“Drive for show, Putt for dough” is one old classic that doesn’t appear to be relevant to our annual trip. After all, one or two of us have done very nicely from the ‘Longest Drive’ kitty over the years, yet I don’t remember too many Euros being picked up for the hundreds of putts we accumulate during the week. And if Graham were to misinterpret the advice to ‘Make sure you always follow through’ I can’t see him getting much further than the first tee before he had to abandon his round.

Back with poor Rory McIlroy, I overheard his caddy saying “Allow for the break” at one point. Now that actually seemed to be good advice he was offering this time, because if I had gone on to four-putt like Rory did, I’d wish I’d shoved another putter in my bag just to ‘Allow for the break’ that my putter’s shaft suffered over my knee. Two holes later, Rory was being told to keep his chin up after throwing away certain victory. Make your mind up! - I may be wrong, but I was always led to believe you should keep your head down at golf. Mind you, it would be an interesting sight seeing the Ulsterman trying to bow his head and raise his chin simultaneously.

No thanks, guys. I’m sure you mean well, but your idea is to channel your drive 350 yards down the middle of the fairway, followed by a deft chip to within two feet of the hole, and a simple tap-in for birdie. I’m a THUG, and my idea of golf is to down several bottles of lager the night before, then stagger on to the first tee and lash my ball into the trees, taking a couple of wild attempts to get it back on the fairway, before nobbing it along the ground for 120 yards, where it comes to rest on the apron of the green. Two lucky putts later I’m picking the ball out of the hole for a point - now that’s more fun!

You can stick your advice.

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