“Just step up and give it a swat”

Golf tips have become ubiquitous. Pick up a golf magazine, turn on the golf Channel, or check your favorite golf Internet sites and you are likely to be offered lots of concisely packaged ideas to improve your game. This observation led me to Tweet the following two liner a few months ago:

Golf Tip Twine

A thousand tips from Jan to December,
But when you need one, will you remember?

I do not deny that tips are seductive. But they are also often conflicting or incomplete. Sometimes they solve one problem only to create another. They are most similar to whispered betting advice, leading possibly to a few winners, but not many.

When I began playing golf, I benefited from hours of golf instruction given by PGA professionals. From there I went on to study, practice and swear. And now, many years later as a senior golfer, I just try to remember a few fundamentals as I play. At least for me, golf has become more of a game to be enjoyed and less of an application of lessons learned and tips remembered.  In short, the pressure is off.

An anonymous poet, whose poem “The Reason” in included in Lyrics of the Links (1921) by Henry Litchfield West, seems to agree with me.

The Reason

“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your swing has become very flat,
And yet you incessantly lay the ball dead.
Pray what is the reason for that?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied, “it is that
I studied and practised and swore;
But now I just step up and give it a swat—
What reason for anything more?”

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