The tale of a frustrated yet determined golfer…. I’ve been playing for over 25 years, and never played to my handicap of 28+. Not once. For 25 years I chased the seemingly elusive 99 shots or less. I got close once and hit 102!! Usually I would hit anywhere between 105-120 shots, per round, agonisingly and frustratingly, for 25 years.
I had literally hundreds and hundreds and a hundred more lessons from several professional coaches, and I never got anywhere with it and never showed any improvement. I have to point out here and now that I live with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and as such my concentration levels are very low. I struggle to concentrate and my memory is terrible. I think so anyway, I can’t remember!
In November of 2019 I approached Tim Baker. I explained that if he wanted to take me on as a pupil, he would need patience and a lot of it. Tim seemed quite a relaxed type of man and said he was prepared to take me on. I wanted weekly lessons until I could someway/somehow beat my nemesis 100 shots. Being competitive, I also wanted to beat a good friend on the course and leave him wondering ‘how did that happen?’……..well I wasn’t going to admit to having had weekly lessons, now was i? I just wanted to beat him and leave him bewildered. I’d never beaten him before of course, not with my awful scores. I asked Tim to give me the tools needed to improve my game to an acceptable standard and to put up with my slow learning speed.
So in November 2019, weekly lessons with Tim started. I’m sure Tim was bemused with my very slow rate of learning and understanding, but he rarely showed it. He tried time and time again to come up with new methods of communicating with me, getting his point across, actually getting me to listen and to act on his instructions. Slowly, but surely we got there. Slowly things improved; I committed things to memory through immense repetition, and slowly my swing, grip and stance etc etc all began to make sense. Tim stood by me, and week on week he would calmly repeat, and repeat some more the lessons and teachings until….lockdown came!!
Throughout lockdown, I wrote down everything I could remember Tim had taught me; all the way from head, shoulders and posture etc all the way down to foot angle! I wrote it all down, and swung clubs around in my back garden. I read Tim’s thoughts and ideas over and over again….not easy for someone with bad concentration, but I did manage to further cement what Tim had said onto the cracked hard-drive in my brain and commit it to memory.
As soon as the lockdown had eased up a bit, I wanted to get out on the Hampshire Golf Course, with my old friend and beat him. I agreed a 2 hour ‘on course’ lesson with Tim on the morning of the master plan – the afternoon game with the friend I’d never beaten. The on-course lesson with Tim went well; he had to remind me of a couple of things, but nothing too worrying. I had then a couple of hours rest before the big game. I drove back to the course thinking “concentrate, concentrate, concentrate and just remember what Tim had said time and time again”. I reckoned that if I could get a shot or 2 ahead within the first few holes, my friend would become confused and unused to be being ahead of him on the card, and that would hopefully make him try too hard, and in doing so make it easier for me just to play my game….and beat him for the first time ever!!
Would you believe it that by hole 4, I was 4 shots ahead and my friend was broken? I never let on about the lessons, and just kept my head down. Here and there I made the odd minor error. I paused and thought about the lessons and in particular all the times Tim had helped me with ‘topping’ the ball. God I hate it when that happens!! I recalled the gazillion times Tim had told me to ‘slow down’ and the other gazillion times he’d told me to stop swaying backwards in my backswing. Tim had reminded me several gazillion times about maintaining my stance and not straightening my legs at the knee during the swing. I think I only ‘topped’ one shot during the whole round. Tim was in my head for certain!
So, my friend seemingly crumbled, and although there was a tussle, eventually he was beaten. I hit 3 pars; my previous record being 1! That was such a good feeling, but not, may I add anywhere near as pleasing as my first ever birdie, which I hit on the 16th. My friend literally went pale and shook his head in disbelief. Wow, I loved that feeling. Finally the match was over, my friend hit 96 (a bad score for him) and somehow and as if by some form of amazing magic, I hit…..90!! That’s 20 or so shots better than my average.
Tim Baker, I cannot thank you enough for your support, understanding, patience and your consistent efforts to provide me with what I had asked you for at the beginning. Your ‘adapted teaching’ methods are second to none.