The only time I’ve brandished a putter is on a crazy golf course in Fuerteventura, but there wasn’t a replica windmill in site on the green when I was invited for a lesson at Berkhamsted Golf Club.
Head professional John Clarke started with the basics at first and had me perfecting my swing on the putting green under the watchful eye of his golden retriever Samson, who has become the club’s unofficial mascot.
John said of his four-legged friend: “He always comes out on the course with us and he’s never any trouble. “
With John’s guidance I was soon chipping confidently down to the holes, and he seemed pleasantly surprised when I got a putt-in-one on my third attempt.
John – who has been teaching for more than 20 years and set up the club’s golf teaching academy – explains to me the right stance when taking a shot. He said: “Lean over as if you’re tipping, and always keep the ball in the centre of your feet.”
A couple of times, I caught the ball on the sweet spot, but there were plenty of turf moments too. After a bit more practice, I grabbed my driver and went for the big guns in the form of the ninth hole. After plenty of misses, I managed to get the ball some distance, but sadly no hole-in-ones.
John’s chosen analogy made me chuckle, but it worked! He said: “Imagine the ball is a little M&M man – you want to get under the ball and chop his legs off.”
The club – which was first established in 1890 and sits on The Common on the outskirts of Potten End – currently has 110 playing ladies out of more than 675 members.
The ladies section offers a temporary membership scheme for those who would like to play, or learn to play, golf but don’t have a handicap – a measurement of an amateur golfer’s playing ability. Upon gaining a handicap, full club membership then becomes an option.
I thoroughly enjoyed my three-hour stint on the beautifully-kept course, and who knows – they may make a temporary lady of me yet! To find out more, call the club on 01442 865832, or visit www.berkhamstedgolfclub.co.uk.