Golf Made Simple Blog

Do You Take Golf Tips From Strangers?

After the longest hiatus that Golf Improvement Weekly has ever seen (2 months) – we’re back. Just as it maybe a good thing for Golfers to take a break from the game every-once-in-a-while to refresh your brain – GIW needed to do the same. Although GMS had a record year in 2008, and 2009 is actually ahead of 2008 – it’s been a hectic 9 months (with 3 new GMS locations opening), along with everything else. So, we just needed a break from writing.

So, just a few days ago when I still wasn’t writing – I amazingly became bored and started reading a forum on an internet chat room with the title of something like – “What I Don’t Like About Tiger’s Golf Swing” – where this supposed ‘guru’ that has adopted the title of “ITeachGolf” – listed everything he thinks is wrong with Tiger’s golf swing.

And what’s funny is that I believe he wrote this just as Tiger was winning yet another golf tournament by shooting 13 under par.

His/her contention is that Tiger really doesn’t have a good golf swing – the only reason he wins is that he’s just the best athlete on the PGA Tour. And that my friends is just another reason why you should stay away from Internet chat rooms – unless you want: A) to laugh; B) to cry; C) to be able to say to yourself – “are there really people that think that way?”

This issue with Golfers wanting to improve their golf swing is something that myself and our company works with each day with multiple individuals that travel from around the world to come and see us. So yes, we specialize in golf swings. So when we see people that bring up nonsense like the above – it makes us cringe.

Yet, the scary aspect is that many people might read further into what this ‘closet guru’ has to say about Tiger’s golf swing and even start to use the techniques he suggests Tiger needs to use. And that scares me because I know many Golfers are so desperate to improve – that they’ll try just about anything. Remember when you were young and your Mom said “don’t take candy from a stranger?” Well, many Golfers have forgotten about the dangers of doing that.

‘Don’t Take Golf Tips From A Stranger’

That’s going to be the title of my new book. Yet, as much as you need to continually warn the young about the aforementioned candy from a stranger – It’s my duty to remind you to do the same with golf tips. It can be dangerous for the health of your golf swing.

For example: Last week I was walking through one of the many airports that I walk through each year (this one was LAX) – I really shouldn’t be telling you this because I told everybody in the office and my wife that I was hiking on the Robert Trent Jones Trail. I got to my gate, sat down in a chair to await my plane – and just 2 seats down from me, was a lady that was really into what she was reading – I had to look over to see what magazine she had.

So at closer glance, I could see that she was reading a golf magazine and particularly an article about improving her golf swing. Now, I’m not the kind of person that just walks up to someone else and starts a conversation – yet, I had just finished helping a fantastic gentleman (a pretty famous person) with his golf swing for 3 days at a beautiful golf course – so I was on a natural high and in a really good mood – so I couldn’t resist. I had to ask her what she was reading.

When she looked up at me with this – “Why are you bothering my?” look – I said, ‘I apologize, I’m a Golfer also. And I was just interested in what you’re reading.’

Well, I got more than I was asking for:

She went into a 23 minute briefing of what’s wrong with her golf swing. She then took out a pad of paper and pen and started sketching her swing plane and what her plane needs to look like. She then took the pen and started gripping it like a golf club to show me what her grip looks like and what the proper grip should look like. I was then told about how important it is not to sway on the backswing, why Sergio can’t win a major, and why she would never want to swing like Jim Furyk.

Once she came up for air – she then asked me about my game. I told her I don’t play as much as I’d like (which is true), I’m not as consistent as I’d like (who is) and I’d like to hit my driver 10 more yards (sounds like fun). She then asked me to grip the pen like it was a golf club to see my grip. I then found out that my grip needed to be adjusted. I didn’t have enough knuckles showing. And that I should try interlocking my fingers instead of overlapping. She then apologized because she really couldn’t judge my grip pressure because we were using a pen and not a golf club.

She then suggested that I could become more consistent if I improved my posture – that is even though she never saw me set-up to a golf ball – though that’s something that she read in one of her 3 golf magazine subscriptions and that she has been doing it herself. Although, she hasn’t gained any more yards since working on her posture – she is sure it’ll eventually start working.

I then learned that I could get more distance by turning my shoulders a little more – “have you ever tried the X Factor?” Yet again, it was something she read in a magazine or saw on television.

So what’s the point of this story? The point is that after I said ‘thank you for the advice’ – I asked my “new pro” what her average score was. And although everything she said was very convincing and she said it very eloquently and it really sounded as if she knew what she was talking about – she had yet to ever break 100. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with someone who has never broken 100 – we were all at that point one time or another.

However, when I did ask how long she has been playing and how many lessons she had taken and how many years she has been reading those magazines scanning for tips – all I can say is that I was shocked. Playing golf: 7 years; Lessons: 10 to 15 lessons a year; Subscriptions: 3 different golf magazines for about 6 years.

Now, I’m not shocked that this Golfer hasn’t broken 100 in 7 years – that’s not shocking, everyday we help Golfers who have been in that same situation. What’s shocking is that this Golfer has worked on a hundred million things in her golf swing and she’s still not getting any positive results. Yet, she continues to work on a hundred million things!

So I never said anything about what I do for a living, I just told her that I once heard a really good tip that I’ve used successfully in my game for many years. And that from what she had told me about her game – it might really help her. When she said – “sure, what is it?” I told her about “Tick Tock”. I then told her that if she was going to be successful using “Tick Tock” she had to do it every golf swing she made the next time on the golf course. I then gave her my email address (not my default email address) so that she could email me her results after the next time she was going to play – which was this past Sunday, July 5th.

She wished me luck with my game and I wished her luck with her game as I reminded her not to forget the “Tick Tock” on every swing. And then I flew home and forgot about the whole conversation – not thinking anything would come of it.

July 5th, 8:07 pm – incoming email: “Marc, thank you, thank you, thank you! You’re not going to believe this!!!! I broke 100 for the first time. I can’t believe it. A 96!!! I have never hit the golf ball so well. It was unbelievable – my friends kept saying to me that they never saw me play that consistent and stay so calm on the golf course. That was the best golf tip ever. Who told you that tip? I need to read more about that person’s methods! Thank you, thank you.”

I then wrote back using my default email address congratulating her on her accomplishment, explaining why “Tick Tock” was so valuable, why it probably helped her, along with some more encouragement, etc.

Now, why is it that this very nice person that wanted so desperately to break 100 couldn’t do it even with putting her heart and soul into it for 7 years, taking multiple sets of lessons, reading countless magazine articles, thinking she knew what she needed to work on (fancy terms like swing plane and lag and X factor) – yet in one brief, chance meeting she was able to break 100?

The Monkey will get lucky once-in-a-while taking Golf Tips From Strangers, but in the long run it will cause more harm than good

The Player works on simple techniques that create positive results

Go ahead, be a Player!

Regards,

Marc Solomon

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