It’s a whole new ball game when you are in the Swing Zone

As Daniel Ze­qiri found out, every lit­tle tip helps when you are try­ing to mas­ter this mad­den­ing game

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sport -

Iwas armed with the usual ex­cuses: not played very much, not my clubs and too many beer-in­duced take­aways dur­ing a week away at the Open Cham­pi­onship. They were not go­ing to wash with Denise Hast­ings how­ever, PGA pro­fes­sional from Bed­ford­shire Golf Club, who took me to task at the ‘Swing Zone’ – one of the many at­trac­tions keep­ing fans en­ter­tained at Royal Birk­dale yes­ter­day.

Par­ents and chil­dren min­gle with the oc­ca­sional, strug­gling golfer look­ing for a magic bul­let, as they queue for a free 15-minute les­son with a teach­ing pro, in­spired by watch­ing the world’s best on Southport links.

My pres­ence prob­a­bly de­nied one of these poor young­sters a chance, but it’s best to in­tro­duce budding golfers to ha­bit­ual dis­ap­point­ment as early as pos­si­ble so they can get used to it.

With an align­ment stick over my left shoul­der and Denise’s hand on my head, we worked on stay­ing cen­tred over the ball and keep­ing my right shoul­der low through im­pact. Who knows if it will work, but there is re­newed hope that my next round could be bet­ter than the last: the def­i­ni­tion of the ‘golf­ing bug’.

The Swing Zone is fully booked every day, and across the way chil­dren are nav­i­gat­ing their way around the ‘Links Chal­lenge’ – crazy golf com­prised of minia­ture ver­sions of fa­mous holes on the Open rota.

For those who can­not face a Satur­day morn­ing with­out some retail ther­apy, the on-course shop was a sanc­tu­ary. ‘Shop’ does not do it jus­tice: it is the size of an air-hanger, con­tain­ing the best of Lyle&Scott and Hugo Boss as well as dozens of ‘146th Open Cham­pi­onship’

Cen­tre point: Denise Hast­ings tries to keep Daniel in line dur­ing yes­ter­day’s les­son and picking up tips on the green (right)

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