Martin Hopley
By Martin Hopley

I hate my feet.

They stand, go forward and they look fine, but by some accident of nature their pronation, the way they rotate as they get to impact with the ground, is as conventional as Jim Furyk's backswing.

Unlike Jim, there is something that can be done for feet to correct this and I have to wear orthortic insoles to help them work properly so my legs and back don’t seize up. My mind still seizes up on the course, but I don’t think that is related.

Wearing orthotics is not the end of the world and the latest ones I have from InSolePro in St Andrews are very comfortable and are excellent for golf and other more strenuous exercise that all these young pro's seem very keen on when they are not making spoof videos.

However my pediatric loathing is because their inability to work as nature intended means that finding any sort of shoes to accommodate them is a nightmare. I have panic attacks about going into shoe shops and even Imelda Marcos would quit if she was my personal shoe shopping assistant.

I frequently buy shoes thinking they will be OK only for them to be deported to the charity shop within the next month. My local charity shop would put a high street chain to shame with the quality of shoes it can offer.

As with every ash cloud over the Atlantic there is a silver lining and it means my plates are more sensitive than most and this is great when it comes to testing golf spikes. Not much of a benefit for the years of pain, but hey, at least it is something.

I am a member of a links course where the ground is firm, when it eventually stops raining. Most plastic spikes don’t flex enough and at the end of the round it can feel like you have been walking on seven mini stilts.

You could wear none at all, but then on a lusher parkland course you get no grip. So you wear them anyway and they are clogged up by the second hole and you need the Fergie team talk airgun by the clubhouse or a heavy duty pitchfork at the end of the round to clear them.

The latest Zarma spike from Champ claims to be the answer to all my problems. (sorry boys, it is not a cleat – why do our cousins have to change names we make up first? Marathon was fine you know...)

The Champ Zarma features a 3 material design where the durable urethane spike and the shoe attachment are held together by an innovative soft shock absorbing layer. It comes in all 3 major fastening systems including Tri-Lok and Q-Lok so it was very easy to fit them to this month’s golf shoes.

Compared to the Champ Stingers, which were my preferred spike before, I have to say I was very impressed. The comfort on the links was significantly better and the traction walking up and down tightly cut grass and artificial slopes was very good.

On parkland courses they stayed a lot clearer than pretty much any other spike I have used. That is not to say they will never clog up, as a wet day will turn them into a pair of green soled slippers like any other, but in the main I would have to say these are one of the best I have tried to date.

So if you want to make peace with your feet on the course, I would recommend making them calmer with the Zarma.

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