Richard Stroud

Grove Sun

There’s a scene in the otherwise forgettable movie Happy Gilmore when the title character, played by Adam Sandler, is playing in a professional golf tournament.

In the midst of an extremely frustrating round, and having just missed yet another putt, Gilmore gets down on the ground and yells at his golf ball.

“Get in the hole,” he shouts. “That’s your home. Don’t you want to go to your home? Get in the hole.”

Most of us have (probably) never had such a meltdown, at least not in public. But the scene is a pretty good rendering of what most of us feel when we try and put that stupid ball in the stupid hole.

For my fourth and final lesson with Patricia Island Golf Club instructor Steve Pace, we delved into the mysterious art of putting.

This is an area of the game that, according to Steve, the average golfer could take five to ten shots off their average. But, like me, most golfers don’t spend enough time practicing this part of the game.

And why not? Picture me on a Tuesday morning when it’s already into the mid-90s by 11:00, sinking a series of short putts over and over while sweat puddles around me.

Throughout the nearly two-hour session, Steve told me two things over and over. One was to swing with the shoulders, not the wrists. The other was to take my eyes out of the equation.

 Or, as Steve put it, “Trust your stroke and don’t let your eyes fool you.”

To this end Steve had me looking away from the ball as I swung. He even had me putting with my eyes closed, as we went through a series of drills that Steve swore would help me put the stupid ball in the stupid hole.

I won’t go into detail about what those drills are. For that, you’ll have to book your own appointment with Steve.  But I can assure you that spending some time listening to Steve’s advice about golf is worth it. I can’t vouch for his advice about other things.