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March 2, 2014

SARNO: Why is golf so difficult?

HUNTSVILLE — A popular belief about the game of golf is that it is easy. And certainly when the tour players are seen on television it does indeed appear manageable.

A beginner reads a magazine ad and innocently may say, “I think I will take up golf.”

A quick trip to the gadget store, a sporting goods golf department, to buy the proper equipment, and of course clothing, to get started.

Often times the buyer exits the store looking like the student in “Tin Cup.” Lots of contraptions, and no clue to what is awaiting them.

Now many women golfers want to experience golf for the exercise, others to enjoy a day outdoors with friends, while others want to be able to play in work events.

The more serious, and competitive golfer usually wants to attain more success at the game. After a time or two at the course, the novice realizes golf is not as easy as the players on TV make it look.

This is likely the time when beginners will seek out golf instruction to find the answer.

A significant reason golf is “hard” is that so many aspirants think that the elements of success can be self-taught from manuals or well-meaning friends. WRONG!

A primary reason golf is hard to master is that so many of the physical techniques are thought to be understood without any proof of evidence and the student has a frustrating time adjusting to what feels natural to him or her.

The complexities of the golf swing as commonly taught, sound something like this. “Swing slowly for distance,” “Swing 80 percent of your capacity to hit it far, or for power to be effective, you need a soft grip.”

Finally, the student is told, “Putting is an art, not a science.” Now what does the novice think of those ideas when standing on the tee with 200 yards distance to cover with a funny looking club in his hand?

For a fortunate few the verbiage is less critical as they function best by feel. One of the leading problems in golf instruction is a situation the instructor and the student are unaware how the student takes information and reacts to it.

Now golf is played on a wide area measured in hundreds of yards, and the distance to cover is intimidating all by itself to many players, especially women.

Moving a golf ball 200-plus yards is a matter of technique but it is a subtle technique consisting of timing, and proper form.

Of course in addition to distance you still have to find the ball, so accuracy cannot be neglected. The basic swing patterns which create distance also create accuracy.

Now once a person thinks he has some of these fundamentals in order, he is confronted with the most basic skill in the game of golf. This is the use of the brain to utilize the physical skills.

Some of the best golfing minds have said that golf is 80 to 90 percent mental. There is something demoralizing which occurs in the silence of the preparation for the golf swing. It is quiet and private, a strange place for many individuals to be.

Negative thoughts have a tendency to destroy good intentions. Most new golfers are not taught in the mechanics of positive thoughts and emotions.

If you do not believe you can do it, or if you do believe you can do it, in both cases you are right. As one progresses in golf skills, the mind itself becomes the 15th club. Another way of putting it, as you live your life, so you can live your golf. Be positive.

To get the most out of your golf experience there is absolutely no substitute for learning the fundamentals in their simplest form. Golf is not brain surgery, but it is a highly individualistic process and rarely, except in the young, is it instinctive.

One must develop technique and feel related to their own body type, natural ability and coordination. The secret to solving golf’s difficulties is excellent professional instruction.

Consult your local professional for lessons. Then practice, practice, practice. Upon completion of these tasks, you are now ready to understand why golf is so frustrating.

The secret to making it “easy” rests entirely within you. The fault lies within ourselves.

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