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The Road to Golf Glory

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Man sees an ocean and he seeks to collect oysters from it.

He sees a field and he seeks to extract glory from it.

Golf courses are no longer fields of play, but fields of battle. They have become fields upon which man fights for the full extent of his self-worth and the integrity of his own personal image.

The golf course is seen as a minefield. And thus the player treads hesitant and fearful with every step.

Man has become a discontented creature. His life is almost never sufficient just the way it is. He is never enough just the way he is.

Drama is his drug. He creates it. He swims in it. He drinks it. He suffers its every high and its every miserable low. This is the game he has created for himself.

Complexity has become a habit. For he feels that intellectualization is forever the road to truth. As a result, he feels he must create something where there is nothing. He must attach importance to something that inherently has no importance. He must create a story out of disconnected events.

The media is a master at this. But the media learned it from man. The media is, in fact, the public manifestation of man’s private musings.

If man initially looked upon golf as a game, it is a game no longer. Somewhere along the way everything became real. And this reality has caused more suffering than can possibly be imagined.

Reality is too mundane for man. And this new reality that he has created is simply insufferable. So much so, in fact, that it is not sustainable.

Man has a habit of turning backyard battles into world wars. He has a habit of turning play into conquest. As an athlete he has turned the field into a wishing well. And he comes with a decade-full of baggage in hand.

For him, the field is no longer a field, but an opportunity. An opportunity to replenish what he lost long ago. An opportunity to look into the mirror and see a reflection that is greater than the image that produced it.

He has certainly found his way to it. But how can he make his way through it?

Perhaps he could look at the field through innocent eyes. And a motiveless heart.

Perhaps he could look at the game as an expression of his joy. By looking at play as an expression of his freedom.

For if he cannot play with freedom, of what use is it to play at all?

In order, then, to play the game, one must commit himself to the playing. To play like a warrior, with full presence of mind. Losing himself in the rhythm. And allowing all of his skill to surface.

If the athlete comes to the game in search of something, he will not be able to PLAY it. If he comes to the game in hope of something, he will not be FREE within it.

The game is inherently empty. It is a skeletal structure. A scaffolding. The game itself does not contain joy. If it did, everyone who played it would always be joyful.

The game provides an arena. The athlete brings the joy. But the athlete who brings a demand will leave empty-handed. The athlete who arrives with hope will leave disappointed.

Why?

Because he is looking for an ocean without realizing that he is in a desert.

The game is a desert. Windswept and wild.

And as long as the athlete fails to realize this, he will forever suffer within it.

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Dr. Gupta is the founder of Siddha Performance, a company that teaches human beings to transcend their own mind in order to access the source of superhuman performance. Dr. Gupta has devoted close to 30 years of his life developing understandings and techniques that allow human beings to transcend the mind. Through his analysis and experimentation he has discovered that ultimate freedom and ultimate performance arise NOT from within the mind, but beyond it. Dr. Gupta can be contacted directly at [email protected] His work and his writings can be found at http://www.siddhaperformance.com/ He also appears weekly on PGA Tour's "On the Mark" radio show with Mark Immelman.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Michael Holmstrom

    Feb 21, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Good stuff!

  2. Ian

    Feb 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Excellent, thought provoking, the truth, damn all that hope and fear, hope and fear, it`s only a game go play it !!!

  3. Dan

    Feb 18, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I like the picture

  4. Chip

    Feb 17, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    SHANK!

  5. Awedge333

    Feb 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    “Hit the right club, you will….” Yoda

  6. Marc

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Cripes what a load of tripe. Get over yourself – your writing style is so forced it bores me. This isn’t the New Yorker and you aren’t writing Moby Dick. LOL

  7. Hippocamp

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    All roads lead eventually back to their source. To pursue a goal with rigid determination, to seek a destination, as if following a path, is to find oneself precisely where one started. Golf is not linear. It is omnidirectional: progress and retreat, the broad vista and a microscopic view. One must focus not on the grains of sand or the blades of grass nor on the bunker or the fairway, but embody all, simultaneously: the ball, the club, the body, the grass, the sand, the sky… as one. True golfing progress is expansion, not direction.

    Only this way will you cure that nasty slice 🙂

  8. Brad

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Inner Desert-Warrior… That doesn’t wear shoes, and argues with an ex navy seal over frivolous survival techniques?

    • sgniwder99

      Feb 18, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Interesting. Somehow your response managed to make less sense than the post.

      That’s actually fairly impressive.

      • Brad

        Feb 18, 2015 at 11:31 am

        Check out Dual Survival on Discovery Channel. It will make sense.

  9. Golfraven

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    very dramatic.

  10. Hippocamp

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Ha ha ha ha ha. What a load of pseudo-spiritual rubbish!! And like a fool I just thought that golf was a fun and challenging game. I guess I need to get in touch with my inner Desert-Warrior to achieve GLORY and accept SUFFERING! LOL

  11. Brad

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Wow. Whatever you are on right now…… I want some. I have no idea what i just read, but somehow enjoyed reading it?

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Instruction

Why you are probably better at golf than you think (Part 2)

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Golf is very much a monkey-see-monkey-do sport. If you ever go to the local range, you are sure to see golfers trying to copy the moves of their favorite player. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not. While I understand the logic of trying to mimic the “secret move” of the most recent winner on tour, I always balk when the person trying to create their best impression fails to realize the physical differences between them and the best golfing athletes in the world.

Read part 1 here. 

In addition to most golfers not being at the same fitness levels as the best players in the world, they also do not have bodies that are identical to their favorite player. This single statement proves why there is not one golf swing; we all are different sizes and are going to swing the club differently due to these physical differences.

You have to understand your swing

The biggest reason I believe that golfers are better than they think is most golfers I meet do not understand what their swings should look like. Armed with video after video of their golf swing, I will always hear about the one thing that the golfer wishes they could change. However, that one thing is generally the “glue” or athleticism of the athlete on display and is also the thing that allows them to make decent contact with the ball.

We are just coming out of the “video age” of golf instruction, and while I think that recording your golf swing can be extremely helpful, I think that it is important to understand what you are looking for in your swing. As a young coach, I fell victim to trying to create “pretty swings”, but quickly learned that there is not a trophy for prettiest swing.

It comes down to form or function, and I choose function

The greatest gift I have ever received as an instructor was the recommendation to investigate Mike Adams and BioSwing Dynamics. Mike, E.A. Tischler, and Terry Rowles have done extensive research both with tour-level players as well as club golfers and have developed a way to test or screen each athlete to determine not only how their golf swing will look, but also how they will use the ground to create their maximum speed. This screen can be completed with a tape measure and takes about five minutes, and I have never seen results like I have since I began measuring.

For example, a golfer with a greater wingspan than height will have a golf swing that tracks more to the outside during the backswing and intersects the body more towards the trail shoulder plane during the backswing. A golfer with a shorter wingspan than height will have a swing that tracks more to the inside and intersects the body closer to the trail hip plane. Also, a golfer with a greater wingspan than height will have a more upright dynamic posture than a golfer with a shorter wingspan than height who will be more “bent over” at the address position.

Sport coats and golf swings

Have you ever bought a sport coat or suit for a special occasion? If so, pay attention to whether it is a short, regular, or long. If you buy a long, then it means that your arms are longer than your torso and you can now understand why you produce a “steeper” backswing. Also, if you stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your middle-finger tips touching the top of your kneecaps, you will have perfect dynamic posture that matches your anatomy. If it appears that you are in a taller posture, then you have your second clue that your wingspan is greater than your height.

Translation to improvement

Using this and five other screens, we can help the athletes understand a complete blueprint of their golf swing based off their anatomy. It is due to the work of Mike, E.A., and Terry that we can now matchup the player to their swing and help them play their best. The reason that I believe that most golfers are better than they think is that most golfers have most of the correct puzzle pieces already. By screening each athlete, we can make the one or two adjustments to get the player back to trusting their swing and feeling in control. More importantly, the athlete can revisit their screen sheet when things misfire and focus on what they need to do, instead of what not to do.

We are all different and all have different swings. There is no one way to swing a golf club because there is no one kind of golfer. I encourage every golfer to make their swing because it is the only one that fits.

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Instruction

How golf should be learned

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With the COVID-19 pandemic, golf is more popular than ever. Beginners being introduced to the game often find that golf is very hard, much harder than other sports they have played. To simplify the golf swing and make the game easier, it needs to start with a concept.

Golf should first be learned from a horizontal position. If the ball was placed four feet above the ground on a large tee, players would naturally turn in an efficient direction with the proper sequence to strike the ball on the tee.

Take for example, a person throwing a ball towards a target. With their eyes out in front of them? having an awareness to the target, their body would naturally turn in a direction to go forward and around towards the target. In golf, we are bent over from the hips, and we are playing from the side of the golf ball, so players tend to tilt their body or over-rotate, causing an inefficient backswing.

This is why the golf swing should be looked at as a throwing motion. The trail arm folds up as the body coils around. To throw a ball further, the motion doesn’t require more body turn or a tilt of the body.

To get the feeling of this horizontal hitting position or throwing motion, start by taking your golf posture. Make sure your trail elbow is bent and tucked with your trail shoulder below your lead shoulder.

From here, simply lift your arms in front of you while you maintain the bend from your hips. Look over your lead shoulder looking at the target. Get the clubhead traveling first and swing your arms around you. Note how your body coils. Return the club back to its original position.

After a few repetitions, simply lower your arms back to the ball position, swing your arms around you like you did from the horizontal position. Allow your shoulders, chest and hips to be slightly pulled around. This is now your “throwing position” in the golf swing. From here, you are ready to make a downswing with less movement needed to make a proper strike.

Note: Another great drill to get the feel for this motion is practicing Hitting driver off your knees.

Twitter: @KKelley_golf

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Instruction

Why you are probably better at golf than you think (Part 1)

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Golf is hard. I spend my career helping people learn that truth, but golfers are better than they give themselves credit for.

As a golf performance specialist, I give a lot of “first time working together” lessons, and most of them start the same way. I hear about all the ways the golfer is cursed and how s/he is never going to “get it” and how s/he should take up another sport. Granted, the last statement generally applies to an 18-plus handicap player, but I hear lots of negatives from better players as well.

Even though the golfers make convincing arguments for why they are cursed, I know the truth. It’s my job to help them realize the fates aren’t conspiring against them.

All golfers can play well consistently

I know this is a bold statement, but I believe this because I know that “well” does not equate to trophies and personal bests. Playing “well” equates to understanding your margin of error and learning to live within it.

With this said, I have arrived at my first point of proving why golfers are not cursed or bad golfers: They typically do not know what “good” looks like.

What does “good” look like from 150 yards out to a center pin?

Depending on your skill level, the answer can change a lot. I frequently ask golfers this same question when selecting a shot on the golf course during a coaching session and am always surprised at the response. I find that most golfers tend to either have a target that is way too vague or a target that is much too small.

The PGA Tour average proximity to the hole from 150 yards is roughly 30 feet. The reason I mention this statistic is that it gives us a frame of reference. The best players in the world are equivalent to a +4 or better handicap. With that said, a 15-handicap player hitting it to 30 feet from the pin from 150 yards out sounds like a good shot to me.

I always encourage golfers to understand the statistics from the PGA Tour not because that should be our benchmark, but because we need to realize that often our expectations are way out of line with our current skill level. I have found that golfers attempting to hold themselves to unrealistic standards tend to perform worse due to the constant feeling of “failing” they create when they do not hit every fairway and green.

Jim Furyk, while playing a limited PGA Tour schedule, was the most accurate driver of the golf ball during the 2020 season on the PGA Tour hitting 73.96 percent of his fairways (roughly 10/14 per round) and ranked T-136 in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee. Bryson Dechambeau hit the fairway 58.45 percent (roughly 8/14 per round) of the time and ranked first in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee.

There are two key takeaways in this comparison

Sometimes the fairway is not the best place to play an approach shot from. Even the best drivers of the golf ball miss fairways.

By using statistics to help athletes gain a better understanding of what “good” looks like, I am able to help them play better golf by being aware that “good” is not always in the middle of the fairway or finishing next to the hole.

Golf is hard. Setting yourself up for failure by having unrealistic expectations is only going to stunt your development as a player. We all know the guy who plays the “tips” or purchases a set of forged blades applying the logic that it will make them better in the long run—how does that story normally end?

Take action

If you are interested in applying some statistics to your golf game, there are a ton of great apps that you can download and use. Also, if you are like me and were unable to pass Math 104 in four attempts and would like to do some reading up on the math behind these statistics, I highly recommend the book by Mark Broadie Every Shot Counts. If you begin to keep statistics and would like how to put them into action and design better strategies for the golf course, then I highly recommend the Decade system designed by Scott Fawcett.

You may not be living up to your expectations on the golf course, but that does not make you a bad or cursed golfer. Human beings are very inconsistent by design, which makes a sport that requires absolute precision exceedingly difficult.

It has been said before: “Golf is not a game of perfect.” It’s time we finally accept that fact and learn to live within our variance.

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