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Learning in the Dirt (A Blog for Golf Beginners)
6 Month Recap - The Big Picture
I've only been studying golf seriously for the past 6 months but I've been pretty obsessive and diligent. Here's what I think I know so far:
There are many ways to play/swing/hit but all methods and techniques seem to fall into two categories - Recreational golf and Competitive golf.
The vast majority of people want to play Recreational golf. They want to have consistent success so they can actually play effectively. For people who don't have a lot of time to practice, a simple approach to golf is the best by far. The level of simplicity one chooses to employ are entirely up to them. I've never seen anything simpler than Ron Sisson's "Real Swing Golf." I think the most effective simple swing is Lee Comeaux's "Cmotion" as explained by Tom Ross (these videos have been taken off YouTube for some reason).
Recreational, simple swings only have one flaw: They fail to maximize the body's capacity for power. They work when you're playing within yourself, with confidence and without adrenaline. If you get scared or upset, it's tough to stay within yourself, relaxed, and confident when the pressure is on.
The complex swings that take hours of practice, "go against your natural instincts", etc. are Competitive golf swings. They attempt to turn your body into a machine that only works better the more pressure you put on it. Most golfers can't/don't have the opportunity to master these swings. When the heat is on, their results don't get better because it takes a long time to understand competitive swings. These swings can also only be mastered by a person for short periods of time consecutively. It is a constant struggle to train your body to perform the way it needs to in order to be effective when the golfer is freaking out or unfocused.
Competitive swings are effective for tournament golf because they push the body to the limit. Jackie Burke talked about getting mad at the gallery for expecting him to freak out at the Masters, so he swung as hard as he could all day. Hogan talked about swinging hard in order to escape the fear of a pressure situation. It's easier to perform under pressure when you're pushing your body to the limit. That's why pressure putts and chips are amazing.
Golf equipment manufacturers, golf magazines, golf instructors (for the most part) want people to pursue Competitive swings. There is a ton of money in selling products and services to golfers in pursuit of competitive swings. It's hard to learn without lots of information, access to practice, and feedback on your progress. Every step of that process has been monetized. So it takes a lot of time AND money to get "good" at golf unless you learn a simple swing.
The Dirt, however, is breaking down those barriers. The truth is that there are easy ways to learn to play recreational golf and there are also effective ways to learn to play competitive golf without paying a whole bunch of money. Everybody needs to figure out what they want, then go get it. The key is to have a persistent, open attitude towards improvement. Dig it up.