| Can Golf Be Really Taught?
The Kilted Caddie explains how a YouTube video has freed his mind from the years of torture in trying gimmicks and being let down over and over again by exasperated golf teachers.
How a YouTube video has freed a golfer's mind from the years of torture?
Golf is one of the hardest games in the world and mainly because you have to think about it. It’s not like table tennis, cricket, football or baseball. These are what I call reaction-action sports, whereas golf is reflective and cerebral even. And in that way, it messes with your brain.
I have had my brain messed about with golf for as long as I can remember. In fact, since I was an adolescent and probably a bit before that. Golf has been central to my life and I suppose it’s very much part of me. I mean there are certainly worse ways to spend your time and I’ve done a lot of them too, bar from doing time of course (albeit that was a close call).
However, I always come back to golf. The challenge of it, the walks on the lovely links, the dreamy solitude of the practice range and the search for the philosopher’s stone of technique. Yes, that is the nub of it.
I am of the opinion that you can’t really teach golf. Ok, there are the basics like set up and grip which can certainly be instructed. But beyond that I am most utterly a cynic. It’s just like ski teaching which I’ve done for years and am of the same opinion about. It is a very hard thing to teach per se and most real and meaningful learning is done by watching.
It can be most amusing to see some ski instructors go through all kinds of ridiculous exercises in their attempts at ‘teaching’. You will see groups of responsible and serious-minded adults pressing hands on knees, pretending to be aeroplanes and following some game instructor down the slope like packs of pained and constipated chimpanzees. It’s awful to watch. The same of course is true for golf with the myriads of golf instruction tips and all types of harnesses and swing aids these days.
However, does the average amateur ever really improve through teaching? I would say beyond the absolute basics, probably not. In fact, further than that, it is possibly counter productive. It inhibits a natural swing motion. The brain gets in the way.
And then you hear the stories of the guys that have never had a lesson in their
lives and this adds much food for thought. I think Bubba is of this ilk and I’m sure Jim Furyk didn’t iron out his swing under strict pupillage. But that’s another matter. I can’t see Miguel Ángel Jiménez coming from the orthodox school either, nor having a pile of back copies of Golf Digest instruction articles.
My golf this summer has improved massively and it’s not by trying anything new, but maybe concentrating on a square takeaway. My secret is that I found a YouTube video of the most beautiful swing the game has ever witnessed. It is a sevenminute shot of a great man on a practice range. I watch this video and am entranced by the poetry and timing and elegance of the most inspired, natural golf swing. It is mesmerising, calming and well-nigh hypnotic. The iconic man’s poise and tempo. The ease of it all. The balance, the beauty, the flow. It is a remarkable and educative thing to watch.
So, all I do now is play this video and go to the practice range with this golf eloquence fresh in my mind. And I try and emulate it. Of course, this is impossible, because the man and swing in question are god-given. Not the fire sale imitation that I picked up at Poundstretchers.
But it helps. And it helps big time I may say. My mind is freed from the years of torture in trying gimmicks and being let down over and over again by exasperated golf teachers. Yes, I can at last say that I now swing the club. And naturally too. And that I may say is like getting out of jail (on the monopoly board of course).
I now enjoy my golf much more and indeed have hit a purple patch as of late. In my last two outings I was second in the St Andrews Golf Club Medals Finals on the Old Course. And last week, on the Jubilee off back tees, I amazingly found myself at one under after ten holes and haven’t lost a ball! Not bad for a fifty-six-year-old 9-handicapper. There is hope for the old boy yet!
And of course, I almost forgot. The great man in question is none other than Severiano Ballesteros.
Please go to thekiltedcaddie.com to find out more about The Kilted Caddie.
Bubba Watson claims that he has never had a golf lesson in his life
Sevriano Ballesteros chips out of a bunker at the Saint-Nom-La Bretêche golf course during the second round of 1997 Lancome Trophy.