THE PERFECTION SYDROME TAKES A HIT
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I stated a couple of months ago that the bashing of Sean Foley by the likes of Brandel Chamblee (Golf Channel), and the statements by Bubba Watson and Lee Trevino that Tiger Woods did not need a swing coach were not in the best interests of teaching professionals. Another USGTF editorial opined that Bubba Watson’s Masters victory also would not be good for teaching pros, as people saw someone attain the pinnacle of his sport without any coaching whatsoever. (As an aside, USGTF editorials and other information geared towards members can be viewed at www.USGTFMembers.com.)

 

However, let’s look at this from another angle. Watson’s win may help alleviate a trend in teaching I see which is detrimental to not only golfers but the golf business, in my opinion. In today’s world of golf teaching, there is a tendency to think if something isn’t 100% perfect, it’s then 100% fatally flawed. This is a trend reflected in what we now see in many aspects of modern-day life, and I’m sure you can think of many examples.

 

Watson’s homemade swing shows that you can play top-level golf without having all parts of your swing in model-perfect positions. He is a reminder that the only things that matter are the five aspects of the ball flight laws and being able to repeat them with some regularity. He also reminds us that we do not need to hit perfect shots all the time from tee to green to put up a respectable score. Often, just one well-timed shot is all a golfer needs to post a good score on a particular hole.

 

Especially in professional golf, we see players like Woods striving towards what they perceive to be technical perfection. While there may be technically a “perfect” swing theoretically, does it make sense to try to attain it at the expense of playing the game? I think not. The human brain is a wonderful machine. It can make us repeat motor patterns we learn, whether or not these patterns are “perfect” or involve numerous compensations. I’m not dismissing the role of proper fundamentals, but such fundamentals are fewer than many think (see my article in this summer’s edition of Golf Teaching Pro titled “My Perspective: What It Takes To Get Good At Golf”).

 

Hopefully, golf teachers around the world will take note of Watson’s swing and realize that you don’t have to do a million things right in order to play good golf. Perhaps his victory will start a trend of minimalist teaching, which would be good for golfers of all abilities.

 

By Mark Harman
USGTF Course Director and Writer
Ridgeland, South Carolina

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