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Thursday, 5 May 2016

We Need to Learn Sound Judgement Not to Swing the Club Like Rory McIlroy

I generally write about the old-school teachers and players.  This is certainly not because modern teachers or players don't know their trade, but rather because I think some of the wisdom and insight into playing the game can be overlooked in this age of technology, where we tend to get caught up in measuring launch angles and spin rates and playing the power game.

There is no doubt that modern teaching and technology are helping the best players to take full advantage of the new equipment to hit shots never dreamed of fifty years ago.  I'm sure the modern clubs and the modern golf ball are helping the better club players as well.  But it seems to me that the so-called "average golfer" continues to be just as average as he was fifty years ago.

Most golfers will rarely, if ever, have the luxury of jumping on Trackman under the direction of a good professional.  The closest they might ever get is when they are buying new clubs and hitting balls into a screen with a monitor that provides them with a lot of numbers they probably don't understand, or particularly care about, other than the distance they are getting.  Most golfers have neither the time, the money, nor the inclination to hire personal trainers to help them build stronger cores and glutes that fire on demand.  They just want to break100, or 90, or 80.  And they want to play the best they possibly can with what they have to work with.

Technological advancements will never change the fact that, at the end of the day, the golfer still faces the same challenge of finding the best and quickest way for him to get the ball in the hole.  That requires an intimate understanding of his own game; what he is capable of, and what works best for him.  It requires intelligence, planning, analysis, and self control.  In short, the real way to improvement for most of us lies, not in some swing change, or a new driver, but rather in a better understanding of how to best play the game with the skills we currently possess.

Most of us would show immediate improvement if we could have on-course, playing lessons, or an experienced caddie to assist us in managing our way around the course.  It is in intelligent play that we get the most from our games; not in getting another twenty yards off the tee.

Bobby Jones summed things up quite nicely, I think, when he said that it was easier to learn to use good judgement than to swing the club like Harry Vardon.  Many of us don't get the most from the games we already have because we don't use our noggins.  We tend to make the same mistakes over and over again.  The Golfchannel teacher who says,"If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll get the same results," is absolutely correct.  However, this applies more to the mental side of the game than it does to the golf swing.  Many of us need to change the way we think on the golf course--not the way we swing.