YouTube be damned! Salvation lies with your PGA pro

John Craven

Approaching the 18th at Naas Golf Club. Photo by Kevin Markham

When I arrived to PGA Professional Bernard Quigley at Naas Golf Club for an overdue operation on my swing, it felt a bit like going to confession.

‘Bless me father for I have sinned, it’s been ten years since my last golf lesson.’

‘And what have you been doing in the meantime, child?’


‘Forgive me father for I’ve committed the most mortal of sins… I, I, I…. I self-diagnosed my problems and went on YouTube to fix them.’

Mercifully I wasn’t the first to seek Bernard’s counsel after trying and failing on YouTube, and no doubt I won’t be the last. As he put it, I was trying to find a needle in a stack of needles. And the result wasn’t for the faint-hearted.

When my swing appeared on the big screen of his TrackMan studio in slow motion, it should’ve come with a warning. The images still haunt my dreams at night, but no more than my golf torments my every waking moment.

I’ve been nothing but consistent at least. The great Jack Nicklaus once boasted about his ability to eliminate the left side of the golf course. My swing has eliminated the right, and the fecking centre.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever played golf with a menacing snap hook but let’s just say, it’s shit. I played Druids Glen last month. What a day that should’ve been. The awakening of a sleeping giant. Ireland’s answer to Augusta.

I shot 19 points… for 18 holes… And what do you do for a living? I critique the performances of world class golfers. Thanks be to Jaysus it doesn’t take an artist to know a good painting says you!

I did get one thing right at least. I had self-diagnosed my swing correctly. It’s an over the top Halloween house of horrors; the classic move of many a maligned amateur with an appetite for destruction.

I’m 33-years old but I would’ve passed for 83 on that big bastarding screen, swinging the club with the athleticism of a turnip. Granted I’m no Simone Biles but I’d like to think I’m more limber than a corpse. Daily yoga has its benefits, I think? I’m sorry swing gurus of YouTube but getting caught in the world wide web of your lies has anything but.

My session with Bernard lasted 30 minutes. In that time he gave me two specific drills to chip away at my horrendous habits, and adjusted my set-up slightly. As for the numbers, it wasn’t quite the Wall Street crash but after adjusting the lie angles on my wholly unsuitable off-the-rack irons, I left Naas with a neutral attack angle having arrived terminally negative. And did I mention it took a half an hour? I’ve spent months down the YouTube rabbit hole mindlessly chasing a cure.

But be warned, I’m not out of the woods yet, far from it. And by the woods I mean the trees growing down the left side of every course in the country. Yet rather than send me home with 10 Hail Marys and five Our Fathers, my lord and saviour Bernard gave me three concise things to work on, tailored for me, providing direction. Oh, and next week we’re booked in for a one hour session. Imagine what we can achieve in twice the time? There won’t be a duck hooked when this hopeless swinger completes his penance.

As for PGA pros? To quote Jake Blues from the Blues Brothers aglow at the back of the church as Reverend Cleophus James leads the choir of angels. Yes! Yes! Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ, I have seen the light!!

To book a lesson or a fitting with Bernard, CLICK HERE

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