Ivan Morris Column - Golfting tips

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In his weekly Limerick Leader column Ivan Morris ponders the values of golf tips

In his weekly Limerick Leader column Ivan Morris ponders the values of golf tips

It’s an old story: three amateurs were playing in a pro am with a curmudgeonly pro. One guy was plagued with a quick hook.

Halfway through the round, he asked the pro what he was doing wrong? “Loft” was the sharply delivered response. Player No. 2 sliced every other shot to the right of the target.

When he, too, sought advice he was told exactly the same - “Loft!” The third golfer couldn’t stop ‘skulling’ his chip shots.

When he tentatively sought assistance the same diagnosis (Loft!) was brusquely delivered without further elaboration.

Afterwards, the three got together to compare notes and try to interpret what precisely the pro meant?

It never dawned on them that it stood for “Lack of F---ing Talent.”

Maybe, the pro should have said that tips ‘on the run’ aren’t that helpful and better off ignored? At best, they are ‘quick cures’ that never last very long.

If you want to improve at golf, there’s a lot more dedicated work involved than seeking quick fire tips.

In a different era, I may have learnt most of what I know about golf technique from reading instructional articles in magazines but I’d have learnt ‘quicker and better’ if I could have had the advantages of studying the best players in person or on film.

I did not understand back then that a golf swing is firmly based on ‘fundamentals’ that are applied in a movement that largely relies on timing, grace and rhythm?

Good golf is not founded on copying another player’s static positions. It’s so much easier to improve your golf by watching a good player in the flesh or a filmed demonstration than reading a book or magazine article.

These days, the Internet is awash with golf instruction.

This may be bad for the golf magazine business, which for decades was the biggest (by far) purveyor of golf tips in all of their shapes and sizes - but is it good for golfers?

Today, there are so many tips, demo lessons and swing analyses available online—most of them free. It’s a shame not to take advantage of them but you do need to know what to look for!

Internet access could be one of the reasons why young golfers learn so quickly nowadays. For good and evil, they seem to know how to exploit what is available.

There is a big problem with tips - even the best ones do not always work.

To cure a slice, one piece of advice will be to close the stance; another will say keep the stance open but strengthen the grip. They’re both right, but it’s confusing.

Another problem with tips is their abundance. It’s hard to stick with one instruction long enough to fully integrate what is needed into your game before one becomes impatient or bored and begin to try out something else.

One thing is for sure there is never a shortage of contrary advice and the best way to improve your game is take lessons from a qualified PGA Teaching Professional.


While Augusta National was basking in the reflected glory of its two, new, women members, the Mid West Ladies Golf Society held its Inaugural Outing at Rathbane on Sunday April 7.

The Baltic conditions and a clash with the Munster-Harlequins rugby game failed to daunt the 15 enthusiastic participants who enjoyed themselves on and off the course afterwards.

The team of 3, 9-holes scramble was won by Norma Costelloe, Ann Sinnott and Kay Grimes with the prizes generously sponsored by Harmony Health and Beauty at the George Boutique Hotel. Barbara Hackett, Golf Professional at Coonagh Driving Range, organizes the Mid West Ladies Golf Society, which provides golf opportunities for women golfers of all levels. Beginners are particularly welcome and are given extra special attention and direction.

Next month’s outing is at Dundrum House Golf Club on Sunday May 12th. Membership Enquiries to barbara@bhgolfpro.ie

I was very surprised to see Tom Watson being quoted recently that he ‘did not know anything’ about how to swing a golf club until he was 52-years of age.

I don’t believe that! But, what he learned at 52 I, too, may have figured out at around about the same age.

It’s the importance of maintaining one’s spine angle and it is as simple as it sounds.

The posture of the player should vary as little as possible during the swing.

With the spine angle set at address, rotate the shoulders at 90-degrees to the spine – back and through.

To keep the club path on plane with ease be careful to turn your shoulders and not tilt them.

Words of the Wise

Golf may have its problems - slow-play, steep green fees and subscriptions, stagnant participation rates and a decline in course constructions but this negativity can never completely over-ride what a great game golf is and why we love is so much. As the weather improves and the summer approaches, we should celebrate the game of golf because that’s what we, and it, deserve!