Those who have had the privilege of accompanying me around a golf course will know that I possess more swing thoughts than Ian Poulter has outlandish clothes hanging in his wardrobe. Precisely how many I?ll come to in a moment but, so far, none has ever lasted more than six holes. As each one has been demonstrated to be unreliable and has failed my rigorous testing criteria, it has been ruthlessly abandoned and immediately replaced.

Because I consequently ?consume? a considerable number of them during the course of a round (my record is 29), one of my greatest concerns for some considerable time has been that I would eventually run out of swing thoughts and would be obliged to quit golf and take up bowls without ever having discovered ?the secret.?

However, having done a few sums, I am now confident that, assuming I play no more than two rounds a week, I can produce sufficient to keep myself supplied until I reach the impressive age of 217. But now that I have satisfied myself that I won?t run out, my new big worry is that I won?t live long enough to experience the joy of unearthing the ?Ultimate All-Purpose Swing Thought.?

If you are wondering how I manage to manufacture so many, it?s really not that difficult when you have sufficient variables to put in any order. As a simple example, take four of what I call the primary elements, e.g. left shoulder, right hip, soft hands, elbow tucked in. It is, of course, not just a question of remembering them ? if only it were that simple. Oh no, the order in which the elements are attended to is crucial. Now, with just four there are only 24 possible permutations. One of which would be, for example: 1) wind up with left shoulder; 2) feel weight shifting to right hip; 3) keep right elbow tucked in by ribs, and 4) maintain soft hands particularly on the downswing.

As there are 137 primary elements, the number of permutations for the order in which they can be executed is, theoretically, 137 x 136 x 135 etc. (I would have given you the final number had not the battery run out in my calculator just as I was about to hit the ?=? button for the final time). Now, when you take into account that there are more secondary than there are primary elements, you can begin to understand why it?s extremely unlikely that I will ever exhaust my supply of swing thoughts.

Interestingly, and something of a side issue, it?s my genuine belief that ?137? has an almost mystical significance and that the final number of swing thought permutations is some extraordinary figure that is to golf what pi is to mathematics. Unravel its mysteries and you are some way to understanding what makes this infernal game so baffling. Is that clear?