The Laws of Golf, according to Martin Vousden

Apr 26 2018

Thought for the Day
People who believe in a sixth sense do so because they have taken leave of the other five

Between them the R&A and USGA have absolute authority in producing and revising the Rules of Golf, by which we abide or not according to conscience. Then there are the Laws of Golf, which we are all obliged to follow, no matter how much it hurts

1. Don’t buy a putter until you’ve had a chance to throw it

2. Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing

3. When your shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls

4. If you’re afraid a full shot might reach the green while the fourball ahead of you is still putting out, you have two options: you can immediately shank a lay-up or you can wait until the green is clear and top a ball halfway there

5. The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing

6. No matter how bad you are playing, it is always possible to play worse

7. The inevitable result of any golf lesson is the instant elimination of the one critical unconscious motion that allowed you to compensate for all of your many other errors

8. If it ain’t broke, try changing your grip

9. Golfers who claim they don’t cheat also lie

10. Everyone replaces his divot after a perfect approach shot

11. A golf match is a test of your skill against your opponent’s luck

12. It is surprisingly easy to hole a fifty foot putt – for an eight

13. Counting on your opponent to inform you when he breaks a rule is like expecting him to make fun of his (more…)

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Rory’s Trouble As Vousden Sees It

Sep 25 2017

Thought for the Day
If you really want to do something you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse

Rory discovers the realities of the good life
Everyone has a boss; someone to whom they are answerable. Even the megalomaniac tycoon has to consider shareholders, or the customers who buy his services or products. So it is little surprise to learn that tour golfers, including the best in the world, have to dance to someone else’s tune. You may have thought that, as self-employed, independent practitioners who sink or swim by their own efforts each week, the tour pros might be immune to such pressures but it ain’t so – just ask Rory McIlroy.

He, you may remember, damaged his ribs in practice way back in December. He tried to get an early start to the season during the ‘desert swing’ in the Middle East after playing one event in South Africa but withdrew from the Abu Dhabi WGC Championship, hoping to get fit in time for the Masters. Unfortunately, the pattern of heralded comeback followed by disappointing results and more withdrawals has continued throughout the season. Following the last major of 2017, the USPGA Championship, he announced to no real surprise that he might miss the rest of the year.


Some of us fervently hoped he would, and write-off 2017 as a bad lot. We wanted him to see his dismal year as a consequence of an initial problem being constantly exacerbated by premature attempts to get back into competition. It was something of an unexpected revelation, therefore, when he returned to compete in the FedEx playoffs over recent weeks. It was no surprise, however, to see him play badly by his standards and frankly, not look too bothered at his lacklustre performances. When he failed to make the (more…)

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Martin Vousden on Ladies

Aug 25 2017

Thought for the Day
People are more what they hide than what they show

The wimmin are doing good
At least a decade or so ago writers like me would often advise: If you really want to learn from Tour pros how to improve your game, don’t go to a men’s event but watch the women instead. The logic was twofold. First, the best men in the world play at a stratified level that we handicap hackers could never hope to replicate. It would be like visiting an exhibition by Manet or Degas and then trying to paint a masterpiece of our own. The most important thing to study at a men’s event, we argued, was the rhythm and timing of a smooth swinger like Ernie Els or Colin Montgomerie. As for the rest – forget it Buster, only in your dreams.

The women, in contrast, demonstrated pretty much the same clubhead speed as a reasonable male handicap golfer. They concentrated far more on hitting the ball straight because, unlike their counterparts on the US or European Tours, they didn’t have the strength to slash the ball out of a thick buried lie and still get it on or near the green. And then came putting. I once pondered as to why the best women in the world still could not match their male counterparts on the greens because there was no physiological reason why they should not; it was always a bit of a mystery.

usa solheim team

Watching the Solheim Cup, however, was further proof of just how much the women’s pro game has improved over the last decade or so. Golfers from both sides of the pond were hitting it both straight and long, recovering from any manner of hopeless positions and getting it close from just about anywhere on the course. And when it came to putting, the Americans at least, were as good as anyone – seemingly able to hole it from any part of the green almost at will. And that’s where this Solheim Cup (more…)

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Martin Vousden on the Rio Olympics

Aug 15 2016

Thought for the Day
Saying someone is ugly doesn’t make you any prettier

Here comes the Cavalry
Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson (along with the women golfers of the world) may have just saved golf as an Olympic sport. By fashioning another head-to-head clash of increasing drama – and after The Open Henrik now stands at won one, lost one – they made the battle for the men’s gold medal almost unbearably exciting. Matching each other stroke for stroke, two of the best in the world produced the kind of gladiatorial combat for which the Olympics is renowned.

GoKart Electric Golf Trolley

With the greatest respect, had the title been taken by a relatively unknown golfer, like Thomas Pieters of Belgium or Australia’s Marcus Fraser, who finished 4th and tied-5th respectively, in two months time no-one would remember the result. But because the pre-tournament favourites did that rare thing of living up to their billing, Rose and Stenson have ensured that this gold medal scrap will not be forgotten for some while yet.

The build-up to Rio was dominated by the no-shows, as many of the world’s best golfers decided that Brasil was not somewhere they wanted to be in August. They included, of course, the top-four ranked players in the world – Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and (more…)

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Martin Vousden on Women

Mar 24 2016

Thought for the Day
Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on

Equality for women?
Pro tennis has just witnessed a controversy that led to the resignation of Ray Moore, director of the Indian Wells tournament. He re-ignited the old chestnut of women pros getting equal prize money to men, despite playing shorter matches (best of three sets as opposed to five) and attracting smaller audiences. He said that women ‘rode on the coat-tails’ of the men and quite a bit more in similar vein. Now is not the time to re-hash this old argument and before we get too eager to offer an opinion we perhaps need to remind ourselves that the history of golf is not one to be proud of when considering any sort of discrimination.

Attitudes to women golfers have ranged from mildly condescending to outright hostility. In 1893 Blanche Martin wrote to Horace Hutchinson about plans to create a Ladies’ Golf Union (LGU). Hutchinson was a good enough golfer to have been runner-up in the first ever Amateur Championship (of 1885) and to then win it for the next two years (and would go on to be beaten finalist once more, in 1903, at the age of 44) and was considered one of the leading players of his day. Part of his reply to Miss Martin said: ‘Women never have and never can unite to push any scheme to success. They are bound to fall out and quarrel on the smallest or no provocation; they are built that way!’ If this wasn’t quite explicit enough he added a poetic thought by saying: ‘Tears will bedew, if wigs do not bestrew, the green.’ And then for good measure he put the boot firmly in with the words: ‘Constitutionally and physically women are unfitted for (more…)

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Martin Vousden on the New Year

Jan 19 2016

Thought for the Day
Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance

Plus ca Change
New Year, new start, all change for a bright new beginning. Well, that’s the theory.
In Jordan Spieth’s first event of the calendar year, he wins at a canter, destroying a quality field in Hawaii. Donald Trump continues being a pompous ass and threatens to withdraw development funding from his two Scottish courses if the government continue with its plans to build wind farms off his Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire. And in a team competition with a Ryder Cup format, Europe slaughters the opposition – in this case taking the EurAsia Cup by 18.5 – 5.5 points, which is as near total superiority as can be achieved. As the Daily Telegraph reported, perhaps it should be renamed the Euthanasia Cup.

GoKart Electric Golf Trolley

Incidentally, while The Trumpster may slow down or cancel further development in Aberdeenshire, he will not (more…)

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