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