Like Archibald Mealing, the hapless golf-loving protagonist in one of PG Wodehouse’s delightful short stories, the club golfer is one in whom ‘desire greatly outruns performance’. And yet, the golf course is full of people who seem to know all the answers! Surprisingly, none of them seems to be able to apply all that to his/her own game.
The golf swing spawns wonderful and complicated theories: Right from the age-old ‘keep your head down’, to the myth of the ‘late-hit’, and the importance of ‘driving your hips’—there’s a trove of half-baked knowledge that the hapless weekend golfer laps up hungrily, all in the vain hope that one of those ‘secrets’ will help him ‘figure out’ the golf swing once and for all.
The trouble is that the golf swing is counter-intuitive. To hit it far, you can’t hit it hard; to curve the ball in either direction, the club has to go in the opposite direction after impact; and it’s a game in which power and precision are equally important, with a slight bias towards the latter. The answers in golf, to say the least, are not obvious.
It’s amazing how many golfers after years and years of striving, still continue to try and ‘figure it out’ on their own, not realising that it takes a trained eye to spot issues in a golf swing. And also that their actual golf swing, and the swing they make in their mind’s eye, are, in fact, very different-looking. I remember the ugliness that was replayed back to me the first time a coach recorded my swing in a greenside bunker. Again to quote Wodehouse, I looked more like a man ‘killing snakes in the bunker’. It wasn’t pretty. And that’s usually the mirror most golfers need to see—the turning point, so to say, when faced with serious chinks, you decide to get new armour. Don’t tell me you enjoy golf ‘for the walk’ or for a spot of sunshine. Everyone who plays this game wants to get better, and that needs more than devotion and commitment: You need a structured roadmap for