| 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.

HK Golfer - - Contents - By The Kilted Cad­die

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.

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