Lessons learned

Golf Monthly - - Your View -

The in­clu­sion of the 2nd at Royal Porth­cawl as one of your ‘five of the best tough par 4s’ (Septem­ber is­sue) re­minded me of two very im­por­tant golf­ing lessons that hole taught my 12-year-old son (and me) dur­ing the 2014 Se­nior Open.

The hole was be­ing played as the 3rd that week and Tom Wat­son had started birdie, bo­gey and he was very cross in­deed. My son and I were stand­ing on the right-hand side of the fairway about 250 yards from the tee when Tom’s drive whis­tled past our ears and landed in the rough about ten feet from us. He for­tu­nately got a pretty clean lie.

Tom ar­rived at the ball with steam clearly com­ing out of his ears and de­manded “yardage to the mid­dle.” “Er… 148” said the cad­die. “Right, 8-iron” barked Tom. Then a beau­ti­fully smooth Wat­son prac­tice swing was fol­lowed by a com­plete and ut­ter duff. The ball went about five yards. Tom marched for­ward and, no prac­tice swing this time, whacked the ball straight in the deep bunker to the right of the green.

And the two lessons my son and I learned? Firstly, if the great Tom Wat­son can duff it then we hum­ble golf­ing mor­tals shouldn’t be overly trou­bled when we do it; and se­condly, you will never hit a de­cent shot if you are an­gry about the shot be­fore. Andy Wig­gins, Sta­ple­hurst

Edi­tor’s re­ply:

Andy, your story just goes to show it can hap­pen to the best of us. Keep­ing a clear head on the course is an of­ten over­looked skill, but one which can save us all valu­able shots. I’ll try to re­call your ex­pe­ri­ence the next time the red mist de­scends!

Tom Wat­son in a calmer mo­ment at Royal Porth­cawl

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