A pink taxi

A pink taxi

January 31, 2011

Multiple Variables

I have reached a certain level in golf where I feel like I may need a  golf manual, one that could answer the multitude of questions that assaults me while I play. I often find myself thinking out loud: "what do I do NOW?"

There is a certain mathematical quality to golf. It's a mind's game, and one in which you have to think of the next step, and the consequences of each of the decisions you make. All that thinking affects the final score. This reminded me of  my algebra and trigonometry formulas when I was a lycee student in the French school: if the ball is in the bunker and the bunker is far from the green, and the green is sloping and the grass on the green that day is slippery......

However, in golf there are so many variables to consider! Even if you forget for a moment the technical aspect of the sport (the swing, and what clubs to use), every time you come to hit a ball, be it a swing, a chip or a put, you still have to make many other choices based on multiple variables.

It would make sense that Tiger Woods was a student at Stanford University before becoming a professional golfer: he must put his intelligence in the game. I won't believe anyone who says that golf isn't just for the "bright". After a long round of golf, my brain is fried. I cannot even put the music on in the car ride home.

The main issue is that expert advice is expensive. A private hour with an instructor costs north of 200 dollars! I have therefore skipped the private instruction and settled for  ladies' courses in the mornings, where advice is kindly dispensed for less. I attend those courses regularly in order to acquire the technique and the theory: golf isn't a sport you learn alone for fear of maintaining bad habits. Ironically and unfortunately, bad habits remain with you forever but good tips are so quickly forgotten.

The golf instructors all seem to have graduated from the Harry Potter's school of Wizards: Hoggarth. They have answers for every variable. But they aren't there when I am playing the course and my son who receives their advice also is too preoccupied with his own game to dispense any. I have seen the students of the Young Master's Program with their perfect swings, assurance and concentration and have tried to learn from their game. A father in a parent-child team competition gave me a tip once about keeping my eye on the ball till the (imaginary) T is empty. An old classmate suggested I hold the woods closer down to secure my grip and have a more confident shot.

Recently, I was commenting on the inner game of swimming: I always think kick, kick, kick...and the coach retorted: you have to keep the thinking out, otherwise you wouldn't be swimming, would you? His open ended question brought me to remember my pilates guru's wise words:"You have to experience it, feel it, and not overthink. "

1 comment:

  1. I think that is when you start becoming good at the sport that you actually stop thinking about what you are doing and just do. Like just run .. or just ride a bike to give simple examples. When you have practiced sooo much that it has become second nature. This is when you really start enjoying the sport rather than thinking about the technic or about how to play the game. I told you the other day I'm still a beginner at golf exactly for that reason. Still before I take my swing I have to think about my posture, position, balance etc... and then take the shot. Can't wait to reach the stage where I just shoot ... how fun will that be. Also, sooo many question about the game. I'm still at the beginning of discovering the game i hope to play the rest of my life.