Sometimes the Fix is the Problem
My friend has a knack for giving me helpful tips when we play. The problem is that his tips have a shelf life of about six holes, after which I experience total collapse. Have you heard of this before?
Jitterbug Gang Fan
There is a big difference between golf tips and golf fundamentals. I might compare and contrast the two.
Let’s say somebody tells you to keep your head down when you swing. This may seem like a cure-all the first time you try it, but it is just a tip, and will eventually fail.
Why? Because a golfer trying to adhere to such an idea will overdo it until the tip itself becomes the fault. The golfer, trying to keep his head down, will, in time, bury his chin in his chest, believing that if a little head down is good, more head down must be even better.
Now, for the equivalent fundamental: Let’s say instead you were told to keep your spine, from top to bottom, very steady-no up or down movement-as your turn away from, and well through your golf shot.
This fundamental, unlike the aforementioned tip, has an absolute quality to it. In other words, you can’t overdo it. Show me a golfer who keeps his spine too steady and you’ll be showing me something I’ve not seen before. And, while it may take a moment or two longer to adopt, the likelihood of this fundamental sending you into a tailspin is somewhere between slim and none.
In summary, any tip that, when overdone, can lead to collapse is just that, a tip. Fundamentals, on the other hand, bring with them a more permanent benefit.
Believe it or not, just about any suggestion, no matter how ridiculous, will work for a few holes. You can tell someone to attach his tongue to the roof of his mouth before taking the club back and it will work for a little while. I call these type of tips, “Tempo Triggers,” and despite their initial magic, aren’t worth a darn on the long haul.
Why do Tempo Triggers work at all? Because Tempo Triggers get you to slow down. They get you focused on one little thing, so you’re not as likely to swing wildly at the ball. Of course, soon after, you get comfortable with the new tip, start grippin’ tighter and swingin’ harder, and soon following, sink into full system failure until somebody gives you another six-hole tip.
Too often, golfers judge the worthiness of a suggestion by the outcome of the next shot. This, of course, is misleading. As Mr. Vaughn pointed out, anybody can hit a great shot some of the time, even when adhering to the worst advice. The journey, then, is to seek not that which works today, but rather, that which can be developed, and in due time, relied upon.
Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner
About the Author
The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.
You can reach Bobby at: www.bobbysteiner.com or firstname.lastname@example.org