I am about at the point where I can’t watch the Golf Channel’s “Live from…” program anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I really love watching the player interviews in the media center before majors. I love the speculation and analysis from some of the hosts. It’s inside stuff, and can be very interesting and entertaining. But, they are starting to step over the line in my humble judgement.
I am really getting tired of the launch angle talk. I am really getting tired of the strokes gained stats. I am really getting tired of the cupping or bowing of the wrists during a back swing. (Do you remember which way is better?) I am really getting tired of taking it back inside and re-routing it back to square on the downswing. I understand that the new technology introduced in the game has allowed players to get into the nuts and bolts of their swings on a molecular level, but, I’m not sure whether it’s doing them a whole lot of good. And, I think the golf analysts who keep referencing these stats, angles, and other minutia are driving the attention to detail so much that just playing the game has lost its romance.
Excuse me for waxing romantic about golf, but I really do think there is a beauty to the game that is getting moved to the back burner because of the attention on the why’s, the how’s, the where’s, and the numbers and ratio’s.
I mean for heaven’s sake, during the Masters “Live from…” one night, one of the guys started talking about a player who leads the tour in keeping the club the squarest for the longest time through impact. REALLY? How do you even find that out? What does it even mean? Who even decided to try and figure that out? Whoever it was, I don’t think they are a lot of fun at toga parties.
One of the analysts on the Masters post round shows said at one point, “forgive me for being a golf nerd,” and started into one of these techno-fine-research based-slo-mo-algorhythms about the loft on a putter. Well pal, NO, you are not forgiven. I consider myself a golf junkie, and I don’t care about that stuff. It gets in the way of the enjoyment of the game.
I mean, lets go back in time. Do you think Ben Hogan or Bobby Jones or Byron Nelson ever cared, or even thought of some of this stuff when they were becoming legends? No, they worked their butts off on the practice range to find a swing they could live with that allowed them to hit the ball consistently well over a lifetime. Building muscle memory so, under pressure, they could repeat a swing to maximize their results over an 18 hole round.
Do you think for a minute that Nicklaus or Trevino or Palmer, or Player ever obsessed over launch angle? They all had the technical fixes to their games in their heads. If something was broke, they were able to fix it for the most part. What set them apart though, was they played the game with a personal and unique approach. There was an artistry to what they did. Their swings didn’t look anything alike, but they got the job done. They became part of the golf course. They walked the fairways and created their rounds by feel at times. When they needed to, they could manufacture a work of art using their golf clubs as paintbrushes. Using the contours of the golf course and the idiosyncracies of the game, they showed us the joy and wonder of golf that, to me, is the games most endearing feature.
I will admit, the game is better than ever in todays world. The advances in technology in equipment have benefitted everyone. The golf courses, through advances in agronomy, are pristine. The fairways of today are what the greens of yesterday used to be. Those of us who love the game are lucky to be enjoying it at its very best. Let’s also be clear, I am not against technology. I embrace it. But, to get lost in it, is to lose the beauty of golf.