Swing advice and a nervous breakdown can go hand-in-hand. Have you ever tried reading all the advice on how to play better golf? “The Easy Way to Perfect Impact!” “Stop Slicing Now!!” “Never Miss a Shot!!!” These are actual headlines taken from three editions of Golf Magazine (April, May and June, 2010).
In April, I’m thoroughly confused: There’s photos of the pro at impact, with numbers at his shoulder, chest, grip and clubface – all corresponding to some horse race analogy where his shoulder is relabeled as “Pony #1.” The objective is to have Pony #1 beat Pony numbers 2-4 (2=chest; 3=grip; 4=clubface) to the ball. This little imaginary trip to the Derby is expected to cure “The Problem” – which is explained as follows: “Your iron shots are weak. They don’t fly very far, and they spin in different directions from one swing to the next.” OK, if I’m spraying my iron shots all over the course at 10-yard intervals, I’m pretty sure worrying about where my shoulder is will be the least of my problems…
In May, I’m completely dumbfounded: So this one is a quick fix for a slice. It’s elaborately explained that I should take my normal grip, then lift my hands to my waist, loosen my grip and rotate the club counterclockwise and finally readdress the ball with a closed face. One whole page with 5 images, complete with close-ups of the pro’s grip showing arrows indicating a counterclockwise motion – all this and the end result is: Close your face. Thanks! Why not just tell me to aim left instead? I mean, it should have the same effect, no? Seriously, do they really think the people who read Golf Magazine are so new to the game that they wouldn’t understand “close your face?” I guess they felt it necessary to diagram blueprints on the entire process.
In June, I’m checking myself into Trembling Hills: Never Miss a [Freaking] Golf Shot! EVER! This one is a 5-page, pull-out section consisting of 4 steps complete with 10 photos, 2 charts, 1 graph, 9 call-out boxes and a graphic instructing you to go online for videos of the entire section. Just to tell you how visually overwhelming this pull-out section is, I tried to take a photo but needed to set my camera to “panoramic” mode and take three shots in order to get the entire section (and was still left off the first page). How can I possibly ingest such an extravaganza of instruction, let alone implement said instruction the next time I’m on the links? I think the short answer is (and let’s see a show of hands of those that agree with me)…you can’t.
Some may not want to hear this (including some of my fellow golf bloggers), but the reality is reading how to improve my golf swing is no help to me at all. I mean, you have to hand it to these magazines – they’re trying.
But it’s not easy to transfer what’s on the page to what’s reality on the course – especially these glossy articles that combine statistical info with graphics and photos. I look at these pages with a feeling of insurmountable odds…an overwhelming challenge that sucks all the fun out of the game.
Sure, some may argue that golf isn’t any fun when you stink. But if you want to get better, I still think the best advice is go spend money on a lesson or two from your local pro. Or, you can thoroughly enjoy the fact that you stink, like me.