It’s called “clickbait” – a term born online from dubious authors using hyperbolic and sensationalist headlines trying to harvest your clicks. And as much as online aficionados and social media content brokers are becoming more and more wary of the practice, the golf industry – as per usual – is a step or two behind. And it’s not just happening on the web.
Nearly all of the big name golf coaches out there are filling up air time during each commercial break selling books, DVDs, blueprints, buzzwords, gadgets and promises of “saving up to 20 strokes ON YOUR VERY NEXT ROUND!”, and so on.
And to keep up, magazines, content sites and blogs are pumping out more tips and outlandish copy lines each and every month! New tips, trends, and some tips that blatantly refute the last guy’s tips. You can rest assured the next tour pro that comes along and wins a tournament with some unique swing style, or putting method is going to be featured in glorious step-by-step fashion. And the writer always ends the article with something like: “do this, and watch that handicap shrink before your eyes…”
Guess what? It won’t end. What would the media self-help machine do if it did? It’s like the fitness business… It’s an INDUSTRY. Now hear me out. I’m also not saying it’s completely bad. Honestly, with cable networks, YouTube, downloadable content, mobile devices, GPS apps and stat tracking apps, one could argue that it’s a great time to be learning the game. And who am I to argue? There’s plenty of high-quality resources out there for the googling.
Why am I not writing magazine “tips” and features?
The magazines and blogs would not like what I have to say.
I’d be the guy that tells readers to ignore all the myriad tips that get printed month-in and month out. To stop watching the 5 different shows telling them to do what the last PGA winner does. To resist getting sucked into buying all the gadgets (except for a couple of alignment rods) that promise immediate improvement, for now. I’m the guy that’s going to tell you to quit overthinking it. And that doesn’t bode well for the overstimulated consumer culture that the industry counts on.
Just get off the computer, stop what you’re doing, and go buy an alignment rod, already.
I’m boring. Simple is boring. But improvement is anything but.
When was the last time you genuinely improved your game over a brief period, only to rebound into a world of frustration? Of mis-hits shanks, and the feeling of the game leaving you again? It’s simple. You’ve been left un-checked. Left to your own devices (or quick improvement tips, or a seductive “10-more-yards-off-the-tee”, or literally… devices!), you’ve been promised immediate results when you should’ve been given a plan to build solid habits upon solid habits.
One solid habit is worth more for you than 100 weird tricks.
And then when you’re ready – you can begin adding more nuanced habits ON TOP OF those already ingrained habits. News flash: you have no business worrying about clearing your hips, or making sure your glute medius is firing correctly if the large muscles in your core aren’t doing their job. Yes, that takes time. And when done correctly, the nuances begin to appear naturally. Ben Hogan knew this when he wrote his masterpiece, The Five Fundamentals of Golf. Magazines and golf sites don’t want to hear this. I tell my students that they’re not allowed to try any “magazine” tip until they clear it with me, first. Chances are, I have something more fundamental for them to work on that will accomplish the same thing. Only, this time it will stick.