Fighting back: Rob Smith Golf Blog 14

Rob Smith, Golf Monthly Contributing Editor, continues his golf blog as he looks to improve his game

Rob Smith golf blog 14

Fighting Back: Rob Smith Golf Blog 14

It has been many weeks since I last reported on my Swing Re-hab progress, the main reason being that the word ‘progress' has not been applicable as every circumstance conspired to put my golf course-related activity on the back burner.

This included a couple of bouts of man flu', the annual Christmas and New Year hiatus, a week and a half in Durban working at the Volvo Golf Champions, and by far the most intrusive of the lot, the most golf-unfriendly weather I can ever remember. I would guess I am not alone in cancelling more games in the last couple of months than any similar duration before.

Anyway, even though the rain is still doing infinitely more serious and damaging things than interrupting golf, I am itching to get back playing and so last week took my excellent Ben Ross Hot Speed clubs over to my coach, Paul Foston, for a check-up. Having played so little, there was not a lot for me to report, so we spent an hour working on my posture and rhythm which I then managed to take onto the course the following day.

I ventured across the Thames to meet an old friend at Basildon, a course which has fallen into some disrepair but which since October has a new team on board on a long lease. They are planning to restore it to a condition that will match what I felt was a surprisingly interesting and varied layout. I concentrated on what Paul had told me, played to handicap despite the wettest fairways I have ever encountered, and on the closing hole hit my 110-yard approach to a foot from the hole for the simplest of birdies.

At the weekend I played at my own club and had a couple more birdies as well as several pars, and am now more keen than ever for the winter conditions to give way to spring and put all of last year's lessons into practice. Many of us start the new season with high hopes, but with the Ben Ross clubs and Paul Foston's expert coaching, I am champing at the bit to get playing regularly and work on getting my handicap back down.

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Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for over 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012. He specialises in course reviews and travel, and has played more than 1,200 courses in almost 50 countries. In 2021, he played all 21 courses in East Lothian in 13 days. Last year, his tally was 81, 32 of them for the first time. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! Of those missing, some are already booked for 2024. He has been a member of Tandridge in Surrey for 30 years where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at