Have You Considered all the Dynamics?

Watching a little golf today: very little. Just curious about a couple players and how they were managing their games. Each in their own way, the caddies helping and guiding.

I thought a short article about complexities, even in such a game as golf, might be interesting in extrapolating and/or relating to other sports, activities, and events in life. Just for fun.

                Sometime ago, back more than twenty years, I decided to give golf a whirl.  As I had an “old set,” I did end up purchasing a newer set, including a cool putter, and set off, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone.  And as with many things, I watched those with more experience.  First on television, then at the practice ranges.  I knew I wasn’t going to pay okoo $$$, so I would have to “absorb” what others were doing.  **For some, I would recommend a coach, but for each person they know their own goals.

                For instance, how do golfers hold their hands around the clubs? How firmly do they grip, or is there play depending upon circumstances? How do they swing each type of club?  Their stances?  Power?  And so forth….  

                Well, I got good enough to get pars frequently, a rare birdie, bogies frequently, and rarely double bogies. And usually I stayed out of dangerous territory so I wouldn’t have to “climb out” of holes.  That required a lot of practice on the driving range, to keep the ball in the middle, then understanding the different clubs and their uses.  And the practice was worth it.  Getting par on an 18-hole course a couple or so times during one year, maybe more, was well-worth the time.  Getting a birdie from time to time was well-worth the practice put into those chances.  So when I see those golfers on television, I am amazed how consistent some are.

                Okay, now for this article.  Look at all the things that have to go well in order to consistently hit the ball well.  Different clubs sets will have different dynamics, including warpage, twist, angle, and so forth.  How the club face meets the ball (which have varying surfaces and interiors for distance) makes a tremendous difference in direction, flight, angle, and how the ball meets the wind, but also how it bounces on the turf. Also, how and where the golfer is standing, for if he/she is standing further back, the club face angle is different than if he/she is standing more forward, close to, or further away. Tiny, tiny, little changes makes differences. Sometimes, a little adjusting might mean the difference between a twenty foot putt on the green versus a five foot putt. Boy do I know.

                While watching some golfers practicing their drives, later comparing them to television competitors, I noticed how each person used their legs and arms.  But I also watched those who hit “poorly” versus those who hit well.  Why does one grip cause the ball to veer left and another to the right?  Why the slice?  And the differences can be so small.  Shoulder tilt. Turn. I can’t tell how many times, when I was practicing, that I would drive the ball straight, thinking I’ve found the technique, but suddenly, all the balls were slicing.  What was going on?  Yes.  Little things.  Might be anticipation.  Might be a slight movement changed.  Might be small finger placement alters the turn of the club at impact.  Even a stronger grip. And other things.

                Then, on the green, or just off the green, putting it into the hole for a good score.  Sometimes.  Little eddies and deformation in the surface.  The sun.  And moisture.  The angle of the sun, for how we hit when the sun is on our right is not the same when it’s on our left.  And are we maintaining a good diet, staying hydrated, and sticking with what works?  Sometimes, getting too competitive with a friend can alter one’s game.  Golf, to some degree, is truly an individual sport, unlike football or basketball where it takes everyone working together. 

Question: Why is one swing good and the other not? One small step can make all the differences.

While the surface looks smooth, it isn’t. Golfers spend a lot of time with their caddies reading the greens. There were times I had my chin near the ground to guage a path.

**Just from switching from an old sand wedge to a newer one completely changed the hitting. Well, I still wasn’t going to purchase a thousand dollar set. But I understand why some do.

                I think what I liked about the game was, while simple in concept, it was always challenging.  And of course, like one of my friends suggested, we can’t over-think, but practice earlier in the weeks helps with game time with friends.  And the more you worry, the less you do well.   Also, the more you’ve practiced, and decide it’s just a game, more often, you do better.  It’s a good lesson.

**Most things we think of as simple are far more complex than we realize. While coaches can provides clues and tips, practice, unending practice, is often the difference. Yes, a change in hold, a move in feet, and so forth, can make a positive difference, but for me, it’s the many, many, many swings over and over again that improved over time. One thing I learned, which helped a lot, was not to go for the really long drives, because if I kept the ball on the fairway, I had a much better chance to make the green on the next shot.

**We’ve watched a little college baseball world series, discussing how two excellent college players, and only one will make the pros. Little things.

**Learning the complexities in one arena often helps with others. Understanding is often transferable.

**Before yelling at the screen, and some of my friends and I have done in the past, best to have played those sports to better understand.

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