During her Captain’s year our correspondent Philippa Kennedy is keen to practise and improve her game. She believes her new putter is the tool that will help to make a difference, even if she is struggling to justify its price tag!
I’m currently lying down in a darkened room contemplating one of those ‘impulse buys’ that cost far too much and now needs a touch of rationalisation. It’s much easier when it’s a dress or a pair of shoes. The formula is something like this:-
Price ÷ number of wears = the true cost of the item.
If, for example, you pay a whopping £300 for a new outfit and then tot up the number of times you wear it subsequently, it really works out quite cheap. You will probably wear it at least 10 times which works out at £30 per occasion. That’s a steal! Or that’s the theory.
But £300 for a putter! Who do I think I am paying that kind of money for a putter- Annika Sorenstam? My handicap remains a resolute 18 although I’ve been down to 14. But hope of single figures lies eternal in this 60-something breast.
The thing is, I’ve finally made the connection between practising and improving after 25 years of playing this game and feel that my Captain’s year should be the year of the big drop. I now have a range ball discount card for a local driving range, which proves I’m taking practice seriously.
More importantly, I’ve found a coach whom I trust and who has helped me make changes with my basic swing that is already showing results. His name is Steve Rastall and he teaches at Silvermere, Surrey. Steve, who was 2016 Surrey Seniors Champion, is a perceptive coach who understands the mental aspect of the game. He takes as much care over my pathetic little problems as he would with a touring pro. His manner is brisk but kind and he was able to show me where it was all going wrong.
My ‘figure of eight’ backswing is now a thing of the past. I didn’t even know it had crept in till he filmed me. Everything has changed - grip, stance, backswing,
follow-through. I don’t fall over any more when I hit the ball.
Most fascinating was his attitude to my putting. I’ve been struggling for some time with a putter that was too short and felt too light on long putts.
Steve asked me what sort of person I was, if I was tidy in the house and liked to put things in their proper place, or if I was easy going and a bit casual about putting things away.
As it happens I’m the former, almost obsessive in my desire for neatness, which makes life quite stressful at times with a family (much-adored) who aren’t.
He dashed off to his office and brought back two of his own putters, one clean-cut and square and the other oval shaped and white. He reckons that looking down at something uniform and square will suit me better than other shapes.
As soon as I held the square cut one I fell in love. The other one felt uncomfortable and clearly didn’t appeal to my tidy little brain. At that point I had no idea how much either cost. I’ve never felt like this about a putter before but Steve pointed out that I probably use it for more shots in a round than any other club.
It turned out to be a Scotty Cameron Select Newport 34 inch putter, perfectly balanced, with a grip that felt just the right size for my height.
Steve talks about the American puttermaking maestro like an Evangelist and it took no time at all to convert me. I just had to have one the same. I fought the impulse for about 20 minutes and we looked at cheaper alternatives, but I guess it was like trying on your first pair of Jimmy Choos.
Nothing else will do afterwards.
So I bought it and now I have something else to worry about. I must always put the head cover back on to avoid it knocking against other clubs and upsetting its
balance. I must remember to put my clubs straight into the boot of the car after a round in case somebody takes a shine to it.
I must think about averages and go for two putts instead of one. Just get the first one close so that the second one goes in. Calculating that I will use it 36-40 times per round, playing twice a week for a year, it works out really cheap. In fact it was practically free!
The above is an extract from Philippa's column in the latest issue of Women & Golf magazine, on sale today. Never miss an issue click here to subscribe and enjoy W&G delivered to your door.