Edition 1450
18 November 2017
Edition: 1450

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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Tough enough already

in Sport · 02-11-2017 15:06:00 · 0 Comments

Golf is big business in the Algarve. Sitting in the reception of our academy we get to see the planes landing at Faro almost like clockwork, every five minutes.

Tough enough already

Admittedly, every passenger is not a golfer, it would be fair to say that there is a higher percentage of golfers travelling to the Algarve than most anywhere in Europe (Costa del Sol excluded).
Have you ever watched the late Robin Williams’ comedy sketch, where he puts on a very believable Scottish accent, describing the potential origins of the game? The core essence of the sketch is that one individual is talking to his friend about a game which he has invented. His friend asks whether it is just played over the one hole, where the ‘creator’ say’s “Hell no!” (at least that’s the Parkinson interview version) “It’s over eighteen! And we will put a flag in a hole, so when you get close it will give you hope!”
I am not sure whether Robin Williams ever played the game, yet his observations were so insightful making the great game we love so much, look ridiculous. Why would anyone want to make such a small ball, go with such a small club, to cover such a long distance, with obstacles and hazards abounding not once but eighteen times. What’s even more perplexing is how did the game take off, in Scotland, where the weather isn’t known for its warmth or dryness.
Yet, here we are, the game has become a world-wide success and has been reinstated into the Olympics. Golf, in Tiger, recently had the highest paid athlete of all time in its ranks. So something about the game has captured the human imagination and grown to a multi- billion pound industry.
Having just flown back from the UK, yesterday, if you ever have a chance to look down, when the clouds give you a chance, the amount of golf courses which can be seen is staggering. The landscape of the whole countryside has been carved into a different shape, by the invention of the game. I can’t think of another sport, which has had such an impact on the landscape worldwide.
Some might say that the game has created its fair share of misery alongside frustration and the occasional fleeting moments of joy. Yet the purpose of the game is so simple, to get the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible. You can use whichever club, at whatever time, wherever you want.
You walk for around four hours, with only a minute and a half of action with you actually hitting the ball infrequently, in the direction intended.
Remembering that the purpose of the game is to get the ball in the hole in as few shots possible, imagine my surprise last week when giving one of my clients the choice of, “Shooting in the low seventies, regularly, with only a few light changes, or swing the club in a ‘pretty’ way, with a lot of hard work, and shooting in the eighties.” He chose the eighties route.
It went totally against my tournament playing, competitive instincts. Imagine having a conversation with a Tournament Professional, explaining to him, that his scores could be significantly reduced by changing his alignment and practice habits, say take at least one or two shots off a round on average.
These changes would take about a week of hitting balls, forty hours of practice, on the range. The Tournament player rejects this course of action and goes for the option of his swing looking good on the range, taking months to perfect the new move and missing every cut.
It’s totally mad. Yet there was some method to his madness. This being, his profession is in a Military Band, a drummer to be precise, so intricate movements and coordination, alongside hard work was something he felt comfortable with.
So, we went for the tough option. We cracked it with the drills, he went away happy that he had some serious homework.
Unfortunately, in the back of my mind I feel he was still under the impression that excellent technique alone leads to excellent scores.
My job was done, he understood the landscape ahead, I gave him all his options and he went away a content client.
It’s a tough enough game as it is, my thinking is why make it tougher than it needs to be?

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Edition 1450
18 November 2017
Edition: 1450

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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