Want your email in­box to get re­ally clogged, re­ally quickly? It’s easy. Just click on one of those ads on Face­book or Stuff or the NZ Her­ald web­site telling you how you’ll be able to add over twenty me­tres to your driv­ing dis­tance!

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENTS -

What hap­pens when you ac­cept one of those great of­fers on the in­ter­net.

I'll ad­mit it. I'm a sucker for those deals that should come un­der the head­ing “if it sounds too good to be true, then it most def­i­nitely is.” But heck, adding twenty me­tres to your driv­ing dis­tance when you're 63 years old is surely an of­fer than can't be re­fused.

It's not like I was giv­ing my bank de­tails to some guy in Nige­ria. I cer­tainly wasn't click­ing on a deal to make me feel frisky in the mar­i­tal bed.

No, no. This was a com­pletely harm­less - and free - of­fer to im­prove one of the most im­por­tant things in life. Not my bank bal­ance, not my sex life - but my driv­ing dis­tance.

Now to be fair, I've never been a Ryan Fox or a John Daly when it comes to dis­tance off the tee. But in the days when I played a bit of com­pet­i­tive golf like in­ter­club pen­nants and the oc­ca­sional tour­na­ment, I was never em­bar­rassed about how much I con­ceded on the drive. In fact, I could gen­er­ally keep up - es­pe­cially in sum­mer in those great old days be­fore fair­way ir­ri­ga­tion!

But some­thing's hap­pened in the last three or four years. 360 metre par fours are now a driver and res­cue club. If I get my drive out 210 me­tres, I've ab­so­lutely nailed it.

It's ac­tu­ally lit­tle com­fort to know that what has hap­pened is com­pletely nat­u­ral. For a man of my age, 210 me­tres is re­garded as an av­er­age to good drive.

But still, there's no harm in try­ing to get longer is there?

So I clicked on the ad. It was a deal from Hank Haney. Now here's a guy with a bit of a rep­u­ta­tion. He used to coach some­one called Tiger Woods. Had a fair bit of suc­cess with him.

Only a few months ago, I read a book by Hank Haney that de­tailed his coach­ing the­o­ries with Tiger.

The book was called “The Big Miss.” Es­sen­tially it was about how he taught Woods not to lose it left off the tee and put him­self out of play. It was a good read. But I di­gress. The free video and ad­ver­to­rial I clicked on showed Hank Haney ex­plain­ing that golf is lot eas­ier if you can hit it fur­ther off the tee. Stands to rea­son of course. Hit it twenty me­tres fur­ther off the tee and a 360 metre par four be­comes a drive and 7 iron in­stead of a drive and res­cue club. The chances of hit­ting it on the green with a 7 iron are much higher than with a res­cue club. And so it went on.

This was hardly ground break­ing stuff. What I wanted to know was just ex­actly how I could hit it twenty me­tres fur­ther?

Then it came on. It's the Speed Stik!

Of course. To get longer off the tee you have to swing this weighted, flex­i­ble shaft with a mag­net type thing on it that slides down the shaft as you come through the imag­i­nary hit­ting zone. The weight of the Speed Stik ap­par­ently im­proves your strength and hey presto, af­ter 15 to 20 swings with it, you're knock­ing it out 15 to 20 me­tres longer off the tee and .. you know the rest.

Now I had ab­so­lutely no in­ten­tion of buy­ing this gismo, but I made the fa­tal mis­take of pro­vid­ing my email ad­dress. I don't know why. I think it was to get some more “free video lessons” from Hank Haney.

Bad move. The am­bush started. Ev­ery day some­thing ar­rived in the in­box from my new friend Hank. The ti­tles were en­tic­ing - “He cut 22 strokes in 3 days - you can too.” Or “Here is your 24 minute Swing makeover Video” fol­lowed by “60 swings per round - make them count.” It was re­lent­less.

Funny thing was that when I had the time or the in­cli­na­tion to look at them, all of them came back to the Speed Stik. The price was en­tic­ing too. Down from $US119 to $US99. I mean how could you not buy it? So I'm ashamed to say I did. Ac­tu­ally, by the time it in­cluded de­liv­ery, and the con­ver­sion to New Zealand dol­lars it came to $179.53.

Naively, I though that if I bought it the del­uge of emails might stop. Some hope. In fact they only in­creased in reg­u­lar­ity. What's more, there were of­fers of more train­ing aids too. So as well as the Speed Stik, I could, for a few more dol­lars get the Plane Fin­der, the Pro Styx and the Power Con­nec­tor.

I didn't bother, but still the emails keep com­ing. One ev­ery day. Who knew that there was so much to talk about in a golf swing? Funny thing is, I noted that vir­tu­ally none of the lessons in­volved that lit­tle thing which usu­ally makes up be­tween 30 and 40 per­cent of your score - putting.

For now, I've got used to see­ing a Hank Haney les­son in my in­box ev­ery­day, and I hit delete straight away.

And how, you might ask, is the Speed Stik go­ing ?

Well, at the time of writ­ing I'd only played once since I ac­quired it. I haven't been us­ing it as much as I should be - that is 15 min­utes ev­ery day. But it's a good warm up tool to get the body ro­tat­ing and nice and loose.

So I had a few swings with it in the car park at Te Puke re­cently and went out and shot 76, which is pretty good for a 63 year old 8 hand­i­cap­per.

Was it the Speed Stik ? Maybe, but I think it was more the 27 putts that made the dif­fer­ence.

Will I keep us­ing the Speed Stik? Yes, be­cause it's good ex­er­cise if noth­ing else.

Will I keep delet­ing Hank's lessons? Prob­a­bly, be­cause the game is com­pli­cated enough as it is and a video les­son a day is just too much in­for­ma­tion.

FI­NAL WARN­ING if you're tempted by one of those ads on your Face­book feed or news web­site - click at your peril!

Peter Wil­liams with his Swing Stik.

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