Golf has now been a massive part of my life for 22 years. I would say with some confidence that most ‘golfers’ would say that golf has been a big part of their lives ever since they hit their first shot out the middle of the clubface, and had that amazing moment where the strike was so sweet that you don’t feel much, and you watch that glorious site of the ball going where you want it to go.
My first shot was with my Dad’s PW on the 7th Hole from a winter mat at Oaks Park 9 Hole. I can remember it like it was, not quite yesterday, but probably last week!
Now, 22 years on, I still get that same feeling when a shot goes to plan and out of the middle of the clubface.
This is the off season for professional and club golfers. This is a time I really enjoy as it is a time when you can get to work on and try out all the thoughts and ideas that came up and presented themselves during the playing season. Golf is in an interesting place at the moment what with information (good and bad) being so readily available on the internet and social media.
The information about golf and the golf swing is getting very advanced partly because of the scrutiny and key board warriors. If you put something out there on the social media or into the twitterverse for instance you better be able to back it up with some sort of science based research or official paper from a high end expert.
So as frustrating and ridiculous as ‘trolling’ can be, in a funny way it is doing the golf coaching industry a favor.
The golf swing is being de – coded and many different techniques are now being explained. There have been a few different techniques, which have lots of merit in different capacities, but for one reason or another have a certain stigma attached to them.
Stack n tilt, the one plane swing, The A swing, MORAD to name just a few. All of these techniques work…. depending on what you are looking to achieve. The only issue for me arises when any technique is sold or explained as being THE way or the ONLY way to play golf.
An example of this for myself is Aimpoint green reading. Aimpoint is a technique/system for calculating break and therefore decoding the way to read a green…. I have had a session on how to implement Aimpoint and at first I thought it was a revelation. Now 3 years on I see it differently.
Let me start by saying it’s good… but let’s not get carried away, it’s just another way of reading a green. My issue with Aimpoint is the way that it is marketed, it is sold as THE way to read a green and I was told that you have to read and judge the gradient of the slopes via your feet, and that your eyes do not always tell the truth!
It was sold to me as a science and bullet proof, but with a little more investigating, it is far from bullet proof. Now in fairness the technique taught that day was Aimpoint express, where you use fingers to help gauge how much break to play.
Where do I start with this – there could be a slight change to flexion of your elbow when holding your hand up, your fingers may be slightly swollen that day because of heat, there are also lots of questions as to the fact that your not actually standing on your line (you wouldn’t want to damage your line, and it is also illegal to touch your line), you are standing next to your line, sometimes a foot or even 2 feet away from the actual ground that your ball is going to travel on, then we have grain, wind, imperfections of the green, speed of green varying from day to day, green to green just to name a few variables.
SO, when all is said and done, it’s a still a guess – a good guess, but still a guess. Personally, I think it’s fantastic and very commendable that someone has been able to take a sub-conscious process and make it conscious, package it and sell it and make money out of it. May I add that it has ‘probably’ helped a fair amount of golfers along the way. My issue with Aimpoint is with the arrogance of the way it’s marketed, and what left a bitter taste in my mouth was when I did have a session in AImpoint express, I paid fully for the time and knowledge, then later discovered that the instructor had taken images of me using Aimpoint express and used it on his social media without either asking or notifying.
Now, if I had not paid for the session, I would feel a little differently, but I had parted with good money to receive the intellectual property. If the image was taken during a tournament round then that would also be different, but at that point I was still deciding whether this would be something a I thought would be any good… then unbeknown to me with one click of an iphone I became an Aimpoint user and believer!
So to continue, golf is being DE-CODED, the swing is being de coded, ball flight has been de coded, green reading (sort of de coded) but is this for the good of the game? Personally, I believe that golf has, or is getting close, to being decoded at the expense of intuitiveness and sub-conscious mastery.
It’s great that we can measure every movement and force, torque and pressure that is produced in the golf swing, but then think we all know a guy that won 2 majors, that when asked how he approached golf, answered – ‘GRIP IT AND RIP IT’!