Ivan Morris Column - Charleville’s Fred Daly side in great escape

Limerick Leader golf columnist Ivan Morris
NO team from Munster has ever won the GUI All-Ireland, Fred Daly Trophy for Under-18s but hope springs eternal. The countrywide campaign in the different regions of the provinces is now well underway with Charleville and Limerick advancing at Adare Manor GC last weekend to the Northeast Munster area final in due course. The winners of that match will then have to face either Dromoland or Ennis from Northwest Munster to earn a place in the provincial semi-final.

NO team from Munster has ever won the GUI All-Ireland, Fred Daly Trophy for Under-18s but hope springs eternal. The countrywide campaign in the different regions of the provinces is now well underway with Charleville and Limerick advancing at Adare Manor GC last weekend to the Northeast Munster area final in due course. The winners of that match will then have to face either Dromoland or Ennis from Northwest Munster to earn a place in the provincial semi-final.

A brave Charleville team performed an extraordinary Houdini act by fighting back from a seemingly hopeless position with only a few holes to go and three matches already lost against a crestfallen Castletroy team with only themselves to blame. Somehow, against all the odds, the North Cork boys won all of the remaining four matches on the 18th to squeeze through. Limerick had a much easier passage against a young and inexperienced Roscrea team, winning by 6.5 to 0.5.

Details: Charleville 4; Castletroy 3. (Castletroy names first) Mark Flynn (6) lost to Luke Doyle (6) by 1-hole; Jeff Hogan (6) defeated Jonathan O’Brien (7) by 4/2; Darragh Neville (6) defeated Cathal O’Carroll (7) by 5/4; Simon Garland (6) lost to Eoin O’Connell (9) by 1-hole; Darren Cotter (6) lost to Jordan Boles (10) by 1-hole; Donal Dooley (7) lost to David Fitzgerald (16) by 1-hole; Shane Griffin (9) defeated Dylan Walsh (18) by 8/6.

Limerick 6.5; Roscrea 0.5. (Limerick names first) Eoghan C. O’Neill (5) defeated Stephen Ryan (13) by 9/7; Luke O’Brien (5) defeated Tom Ahern (18) by 7/6; Ciaran Vaughan (5) defeated Dylan Maher (19) by 5/4; Shane O’Neill (6) defeated Eoin Dooley (19) by 8/6; Ross Fitzgerald (7) defeated Enda Parlon (20) by 8/7; Morgan Hanley (8) defeated Eoghan Bergin (21) by 8/7; Kaylum Dwane (9) and Killian Dooley (23) were called in.

Science Versus Art - There has always been a battle between those who perceive golf as a matter of cause and effect physics as opposed to those who see it as an intuitive skill. The scientists say that golf can be learned just like any other repetitive ‘motor activity.’ Those on the side of art shrug their shoulders and say: “golf is played by touch and feel on a 5 and one half inch golf course between the ears.” Which approach holds more water? Can golfers be trained like robots or is heart, soul, intelligence and creativity more important?

Once upon a time there was a school of thought that said we should concentrate on getting the backswing right because the downswing happened so fast there is no stopping it or controlling it. However, some of today’s crop of teaching professionals are well capable of compounding a golfer’s problems by saying, ‘nobody ever hit the ball with a backswing, why concentrate on that?” While flaws that couldn’t be picked up by the naked eye don’t escape a Trackman Launch Monitor, its advent seems to me to be an unwelcome factor in turning traditional teaching philosophies back to front.

To be truthful the battle is false. It isn’t one or the other. Technology and the ability to repeat a precise, successful movement no matter what the circumstances allied to the golfing mind is what, in the end, brings success. Golf is a physical AND mental game. Where Trackman really scores is in the area of club fitting. That’s where the measurements it spews out can be most valuable but you will always need the interpretive skills of a human being to exploit the technology to its fullest.

Hitting the ball perfectly is not playing golf. It’s the brain that runs the show; tactics, course management, decision-making and confidence are all unquantifiable ingredients that the Trackman cannot see or measure. In theory you could teach a gorilla to hit perfect golf shots but could you teach him how to score?

An experienced golf coach with blood running through his veins will spot something instinctively that may have nothing to do with the swing that the Trackman will never expose. All that matters is hitting greens and putting for birdies. We are in an era where people trust read outs before they trust ‘feelings.’ But, you cannot overlook how you feel emotionally as well as physically. If a launch monitor is relied upon too much by a teacher it won’t be unhelpful.

After years of studying how to hit and control a golf ball properly, I know this much - if I can make the club head travel towards the target and hit the ball in the middle of the clubface, I will play good golf. And, so will you, or anybody, for that matter. Beyond that all one needs is a neutral grip, a sound stance, a good aim and posture. The rest is over-hyped marketing mumbo-jumbo designed to relieve you of your hard-earned euros.

Words of the Wise: If you want to learn how to play the piano better, what do you do? Practice, of course. Need I say more?