All Beginnings 15: Golfing in Jurassic Park

Published on   2023-01-12 by Kai

"I can do it now" - everyone knows this phrase as the shortest golf joke. Everyone who likes to pick up a golf club knows that there's more than a grain of truth in it.

Because there are those days when everything fits, every shot feels right and even the most difficult positions are mastered. You leave the course with the feeling that you've finally got it, the scorecard in your pocket as proof.

Suddenly nothing works

And then comes the next round of golf - and nothing works anymore. Every attempt not to repeat the mistake from the previous shot leads to even more inability, cramping.

Not only the muscles, but also the head plays an important role. Doubts creep in, multiply. The good feeling is gone. As if: I can do it now.

Worlds between daily forms

The longer a golfer's career lasts, the smaller the difference can be between a supposedly perfect game on the one hand and a supposedly miserable game on the other.

For beginners or infrequent players, there seems to be a world of difference between daily forms. For single-handicappers, it may be a matter of just a handful of strokes over the entire round.

Not like riding a bike

But the bottom line is the same, because good players naturally have higher expectations of their game, while rookies are more likely to accept the sawed-off round with a shrug of the shoulders: "It'll be fine."

Ultimately, however, the problem is the same for all players: playing golf is not like riding a bicycle. "There will never be a permanent "I can do it now. Because learned movement sequences - no matter how often they are repeated and stored in the muscles - cannot always be repeated 100 percent.

Measurable deviations

If you were to measure a golf swing perfectly with the help of a computer and display it graphically, you would see that the swing plane, for example, is not always exactly the same, the stance is minimally different, and the grip is variable.

Anyone who has seen "Jurassic Park" and remembers the scene in which the mathematician played by Sam Goldblum explains the chaos theory to the nice paleontologist with the help of a drop of water running over the back of his hand will immediately understand: A drop on the hand looks for one path and the next for another, even though nothing is felt to have changed. The devil is in the details, in the case of skin irregularities, tiny hairs that deflect the drop, or temperature fluctuations.

Fatal influences

In golf, the influences are different, but just as fatal in the result: weather conditions, form of the day, good or bad shot beforehand, but also factors lying in the golf conditions themselves: the stance, the grip, the posture, the swing - everything cannot be recapitulated perfectly, but varies from shot to shot. And this goes unnoticed, because it's a matter of millimeters (for example, in the grip), centimeters (for example, in the swing plane).

In addition, there is the psyche. You don't always feel the same. You like one hole, but not the next. You have favorite clubs and clubs that you are reluctant to use, even if they are exactly the right ones for the next shot.

Questioning necessary

And for these many reasons, it will never be permanently "I can do it now". It is necessary to constantly question oneself: Is the grip right? Does it feel good? Is the stance okay? Does the swing plane fit? On the other hand, every golfer knows: too much head on the tee is rarely effective.

So what do you do with this dilemma? Sell the equipment again and play chess instead? Or miniature golf? Or cycling, because you can do that after all? Nothing against the listed sports. But giving up golf out of frustration doesn't just mean giving up.

It means giving up those indescribable moments when everything falls into place and a hole is completed with flying colors, that feeling of "what's the world coming to", that happiness, that deep satisfaction. And all this with a nice golf partner in the open air.

There's no giving up

Not to forget the cheerful discussions at the 19th hole, in the clubhouse, over a refreshing drink. So you have to give up all that because it doesn't work - and maybe not just once, but in the worst case on several rounds in a row?

No! Giving up is out of the question. Even the most untalented golfer can derive deep satisfaction from this sport - within his or her means, but still.

That's why there is one important step that beginners in particular often take too late: The step to becoming a pro. It doesn't have to be permanent, it can happen in phases. But those who do not take this step at all will probably always remain at the same level, and in the rarest of cases will experience a significant improvement in their game, often even slowly getting worse.

Because in golf there is one central rule: you have to constantly question yourself, because mistakes creep in, tiny, unnoticed. You grip the club a little differently because it supposedly feels better.

Mistakes increase

Initially, this is not a problem, but more and more you move away from the optimum and suddenly - as an example - the ball no longer flies straight ahead, but slices strongly to the right and this again and again, with every shot.

If you now try to compensate for this spin, you will probably change your stance at some point, position yourself further to the left, and thus try to conceal one mistake with another. This example can be applied to many mistakes in golf.

Help from outside necessary

One often does not recognize oneself where the decisive mistake has basically crept in. But a pro has the right approach here, has the view from the outside and the experience to quickly recognize where the problems lie.

However, this is where a completely different aspect comes into play: quite a few golfers do not obtain their golf license on the course they will later play regularly. This means that they have learned the basics from another pro. And just as no two golf swings are the same, each pro may have a different approach and procedure.

Do not be deterred

But you shouldn't let that scare you off. On the contrary. It can be a positive challenge to get involved with the new pro.

And, unless there is a fundamental problem with him/her (maybe the nose doesn't fit...), it will very quickly become apparent that it is not only right to present yourself and your game to a trainer from time to time, but that this step should perhaps have been taken earlier. Many a frustration might have been spared.

Prepare for the season

So, especially in the dark season: quickly make an appointment, so that you can start the next season not only joyfully, but also newly positioned and with well-adjusted golf game set screws. The contact is always through the respective clubhouse. Have fun.

Previous article in the series: All beginnings 14: My most difficult opponent

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Still a Rookie