Bob Carney, long-serving golf writer, penned a piece for Golf Digest in which he confesses to have approached improving his golf game from every angle.
From training aids to sessions with Dr. Bob Rotella, Carney had tried it all. Or so he thought. He stumbled on approach that basically went something like this.
“Putt. Meet a horse. Putt again. Reflect.”
What? Carney visited Debbie Crews, who works with Arizona State University’s women’s golf team, for an equine session. Standing in a tent next to a horse corral, Carney says
“She hands me three balls and an off-brand putter that’s about 20 years old. I’m to putt along the artificial-turf carpet and make three in a row from each foot marker, progressing as far as I can in five minutes. I clear six feet without a miss, flub a couple, finish with middling results. Debbie gives me a short questionnaire and one of the questions is: “Name three descriptors of your putting.” I write, “Relaxed, thinking, old tips.”’
Then, he had to go pick a horse out the barn and spends time caring for the horse, grooming it, getting to the point where he can direct it using only his voice. Establishing a connection.
Carney returns to putt again, this time doing markedly better. He has three new descriptors for how he feels over the ball: Relaxed, focused, determined.
There’s much, much more to Carney’s story. It’s well worth a read.
Winding down the piece, he writes.
“My takeaway is that there is no talking oneself into good golf. There is only noticing when you’re fully with it, fully there, and re-creating that sense when it’s absent. A golf round is like a walk with a horse. If that sounds too Yoda-ish for you, and way too hard to accomplish, remember Crews’ words: You’ll know.”
Craziness? Not really. Here’s the thing about golf instruction: The ends justify the means. We get hung up on schools of swing theory, data, processes thrust upon us, the right way to practice, etc. But none of that really matters, does it?
The point of the game is to shoot the lowest score! And anything that genuinely helps an individual do that is worth 10,000 swing tips or a library full of Bob Rotella books.