I'm on the first tee; I'm addressing the ball confidently. My slow backswing is followed by a fluid easy down stroke and a high follow-through. I miss the ball completely. My first air shot and with a handicap of 12 things like that just shouldn’t happen.
It's Sunday morning and though not my home course, I know most of the members where my playing partner and I are making up a fourball. There's a knot of players waiting their turn. Most of them are now looking at their feet and shuffling uneasily, others looking at the sky.
It's an awkward moment. The ball still nestles on the tee. I swing again – another air shot! The shuffling continues while others hum silently or whistle soundlessly to themselves. I'm that sure of my game I don’t feel the slightest embarrassment but turn to my partner of long standing and ask: “What on earth am I doing wrong?”
He knows me well. Over the years we have sunk a considerable amount of beer and golf balls together. He too is nonplussed. I think to myself - why today, what‘s different? And then it hits me. Old age had caught up with me earlier that week and after an eye test I need long-distance glasses for driving a car and presumably for golf, I thought. Today is the first time I'm wearing so I take them off, hand them to my playng partner who is equally embarrassed for me, square up to the ball and, with no little frustration, smash it straight down the middle. It lands no more than a wedge shot from the green on this quite difficult opening par 4.
It has taught me a lesson and from now on I will I leave my glasses off when I play golf, even though, unless my ball goes straight down the middle, I find it difficult to follow. I will possibly lose more balls than normal, but I feel I’m keeping the boys who go looking for them in business!
I have asked many golfers if they suffer the same problem and in return have received a mixed bag of answers. Is it one of those things one can expect in later life? If I wear them am I looking at an image of a ball that has been magnified and tells my brain accordingly, which in turn relays this information to the rest of my body with disastrous effect?
I have written to the odd professional golfer who advertises his knowledge on the internet. They all say this is not in their sphere and leave it at that. I think it should be. There must be an awful lot of golfers out there who are trying to correct the incorrect information they have been fed through their glasses.
With laser surgery and contact lenses so prevalent in the modern game I've been struggling to think of any modern day golfers - apart from Tom Kite and Hale Irwin in their prime - who wear specs to play.
If you can think of any others or advice to spec-wearers you might pass on do so on the attached forum thread...
Keith Hewitt is a journalist, travel writer and editor of www.travellinggolfers.com
It has taught me a lesson and from now on I will I leave my glasses off when I play golf, even though, unless my ball goes straight down the middle, I find it difficult to follow.