The tyranny of choice

When it comes to try­ing to im­prove, we’ve never had it so good... or have we?

Today's Golfer (UK) - - Fault Fixer -

It wasn’t so long ago that if you wanted to im­prove your golf, you ei­ther bought a book, a mag­a­zine or took a les­son with your club’s pro. To­day, those three op­tions still ex­ist; but you can also book a launch mon­i­tor ses­sion, a club fit­ting, a biome­chan­i­cal assess­ment, a ses­sion with a sports psy­chol­o­gist... or you can fire up the tablet and study the wealth of on­line tips and ad­vice.

We are liv­ing in an era where there have never been so many paths to golf­ing sal­va­tion – and each one, in its own right, is ab­so­lutely com­pelling. Launch mon­i­tors, for ex­am­ple, have the con­sid­er­able weight of sci­ence and ev­i­dence be­hind them – what a bonus to know ex­actly how your club­face is be­hav­ing at im­pact! Sim­i­larly with fit­ness and flex­i­bil­ity; never has the link between the body and the golf swing been so thor­oughly un­der­stood, or so ex­pertly ex­plained.

But does that make us the lucky ones? Well, not nec­es­sar­ily.

I think we would all agree that to play good golf you have to have clear fo­cus. The dan­ger with all this in­for­ma­tion is that it trains you to have scat­tered at­ten­tion. When the ball curves left or right, you can come up with a myr­iad rea­sons why it hap­pened; you’re not flex­i­ble enough, you were five de­grees from the out­side, you didn’t com­mit... and so on. You dis­ap­pear down a dark tun­nel.

As Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist Su­san Or­lean says: “An abun­dance of op­tions does not make you feel priv­i­leged and in­dulged; too many op­tions can make you feel like all of them are wrong, and that you are wrong if you choose any of them.” Let’s not for­get that Jack Nick­laus, the great­est golfer who ever lived, stuck with one coach for his en­tire ca­reer – or that Lee Trevino of­ten said he only ever had two swing thoughts. There can be a strength in clar­ity.

Yet there is a way to take ad­van­tage of all this great in­for­ma­tion with­out it be­fud­dling you, and it be­gins with mak­ing an hon­est assess­ment of how much time you have avail­able to ded­i­cate to golf. With many peo­ple say­ing they hardly have time to play th­ese days, it’s hardly sur­pris­ing that en­ter­tain­ing Track­man and the gym aren’t go­ing to work out.

If your time is lim­ited, fo­cus on one area that will de­liver the max­i­mum im­pact for your game. If you’re es­pe­cially stiff, it could be flex­i­bil­ity – if its lack of aware­ness of what you do, it could be the launch mon­i­tor. If you have a lit­tle more time, per­haps bring in two op­tions. But al­ways make sure you have ad­e­quate time to al­low what­ever ar­eas you choose to work; just don’t dip at ev­ery­thing and do noth­ing.

And nowhere is the tyranny of choice more at work than on the in­ter­net. Search “how to start the down­swing” and pre­pare to mar­vel at just how many con­fi­dent and con­tra­dic­tory videos there are avail­able for you to ‘learn’ from.

But from a per­for­mance per­spec­tive, the real prob­lem here is that start­ing the down­swing might not be your issue any­way. Surf­ing for tips on­line is like go­ing into a phar­macy, see­ing in­nu­mer­able pills and po­tions for all sorts of things, and mak­ing a ran­dom se­lec­tion. If you go in with a headache and come out with hem­or­rhoid oint­ment, chances are you’ll feel worse and not bet­ter.

This is where a doc­tor is a good idea. He’ll pre­scribe you pills for your con­di­tion. There is plenty of great ad­vice on­line, but to use it well take a les­son with a real per­son first and un­der­stand where your is­sues are. Ask your coach to rec­om­mend spe­cific links. That way, you can tar­get your on­line re­search and make sure the clips you watch are both rel­e­vant and ben­e­fi­cial.

‘Search ‘how to start the down­swing’ and pre­pare to mar­vel at how many con­fi­dent and con­tra­dic­tory videos there are’

TG TOP 50 KARL MOR­RIS WWW.THEMINDFACTOR.COM Karl has worked with Ma­jor win­ners in­clud­ing Mcdow­ell and Oosthuizen

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