I watched the Open from Sandwich and when the wind doesn’t blow golf looks like an easy game. Is it? Absolutely not. Most of the professionals you were watching have spent more than 20 years practising every day to make it look so easy. The one exception is Bubba Watson, an American left-hander, who was described by one of the commentators as “making the game look difficult”.
I still want to learn. What should I do? Head to your nearest golf club or driving range. Ideally you should spend six months or so having lessons, hitting buckets of balls and learning how to putt.
What’s the most cardinal sin on a golf course? Slow play. We can all hit bad shots, but they seem worse if you hit them slowly, and if you are behind somebody hacking about, it is infuriating.
A few weeks ago in England I had occasion to visit Walton Heath, one of the series of great heathland golf clubs that fringe the south of London.
Having not expected to play, I had left my clubs at home so I was forced to borrow some from the local professional. My playing partner produced a spare driver, which he insisted that I borrow. The first drive went straight down the fairway, as did the second, and most of the subsequent blows, even though there was a stiff breeze shaking the heather.
"What is this thing?" I asked him.
"It's a Callaway 9.5 degrees loft, FT Tour, with a voodoo shaft," he replied.
This was so much goobledegook.
"Would I be interested in buying it?"
I noticed that he did not use it himself, but stuck to his 3-wood, which he hit with a degree of accuracy and ferocity.
The problem, as many golfers know, is that a new club will perform miracles until you actually part with any money. Once you are saddled with the damn thing, it then reverts to type, spraying it left, right, left, right with military precision. I thanked him for his generous offer and said I would think about it.
On returning here, I told a friend about this experience. He told me he had just bought a new Titleist driver that was put together by a friend as a trial club at the Butch Harmon practice ground.
He borrowed it for one round and then didn't give it back until after a trip to Ireland a month later. He returned to his friend and told him he wanted to buy it so he went and got him a new one from the shop.
No, said the purchaser, I want to buy the club I have been using, the new one might not behave so well.
Golfers are a superstitious bunch. Where best to buy clubs here in the UAE? Most courses will have shops that sell them, although much of the stock is limited. The most extensive range can be found online at www.golfstoreeurope.com, where you can have them made to measure, then shipped.
Top 5: Drivers
1 Callaway RAZR Hawk, £299 (Dh1,765)
2 Nike Victory Red STR8-Fit, £181
3 Titleist 910, £305
4 TaylorMade R11 TP, £340
5 Mizuno MX-700, £140
The Quote: Golf is so popular simply because it is the best game in the world at which to be bad. AA Milne, the English author of children’s books such as the Winnie the Pooh series