Two wonderful things happened in professional golf last week. First, the pictures that were beamed onto our television screens from Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles were noticeably different.
There were more cameras on the ground and in the middle of the action. It provided a new perspective and added to the enjoyment and appreciation of the difficulties the players faced. Secondly, the IPS Handa Super 6s European Tour event at Lake Karrinyup, Perth, Australia was an unqualified success. The mixture of a 54-holes stroke play qualifier followed by head-to-head matches over 6-holes provided wonderful entertainment.
The good news is that the European Tour will be bringing another (slightly different) six-holes event (GolfSixes) to the Centurion Club near St Albans, Hertfordshire in Eastern England on May 6th and 7th.
A prize fund of one million euros will be shared amongst two-man teams from 16-different countries.
Golf badly needs such variety injected into its endlessly, repetitive diet of 72-holes stroke play tournaments. It also needs to be speeded up.
Maybe we will see local Golf Clubs attempting similar formats from time to time? I hope so! Isn't variety the spice of life?
The only negative, as I see it, is the promised inclusion of loud music and accompanying pyrotechnics. Why does every innovation these days have to be accompanied by noise and fireworks?
I cannot think of a bigger turn off in the golf environment.
At St. Albans, all of the matches will be played in what is normally called a Scotch Foursomes match-play format, with both players hitting tee shots on each hole before deciding which ball to proceed with?
One point awarded for each hole won, with the winner being the team with the most points after six holes.
Teams (Countries) represented by their leading ranked European Tour member, as of March 13, who will have the freedom to choose his own partner. The team aspect in golf always creates extra atmosphere and 'bite'.
Meanwhile, to cater for the amateurs, the R&A is introducing a 9-holes competition that is open to all, with the finale played over the back nine at Royal Birkdale on the morning of July 15, one week prior to The Open Championship being held at the same venue. Four lucky pairs from Ireland will be invited and will avail of the R&A's generous hospitality.
All reasonable travel and subsistence costs will be covered. The ILGU and GUI are fully supportive of this new 9-holes event and encourage their affiliate clubs to support it by running qualifiers. The Unions will run four nine-holes regional finals in June 2017 (dates and venues to be confirmed). The winning pair from each region will qualify for Royal Birkdale.
Affiliated club may organize the qualifier - at their discretion- in one of the following ways: A nine-hole mixed competition in which players pick their partners (the combined singles Stableford scores of both players counting as the team's score) Or, separate men's and ladies nine-hole competitions with the winner of both going forward as the team to represent their club in the regional final.
Check the GUI or ILGU websites for more information.
The Swing of Maximum Efficiency
Did you ever wonder if it is possible for a player to reach maximum proficiency in his or her golf swing? Or, to put it another way, is there a limit to how well you can swing a golf club beyond a one moment in time capacity?
Are there too many permutations (and human frailties) to stay at maximum efficiency all of the time? The big problem with golf is, no two holes of golf played, let alone two rounds of 18-holes are ever exactly the same.
While, you might be able to get close to 'perfection' at the driving range or on the practice tee, doing it on the golf course is impossible.
There are too many variables. What would be considered the perfect score - 18-pars, 18-birdies, or better? After all golf is a game of 'score' and lowest score wins. You merely use your swing to set up scoring possibilities.
Too much emphasis placed on having the perfect swing will not guarantee the perfect score, if one existed.
If the pursuit of perfection is pointless to the point of being foolish, instructors would need to reevaluate how, why and what they are teaching their students.
Golfers of all levels miss the boat once they have a swing with which they can score well and they don't exploit it for all its worth.
Why chase perfection? Good enough is proficiency, then the player can get on with the business of actually playing golf, which is way more fun than playing golf swing.
Sure, everyone's swing changes from day to day and even on the same day as one's emotions change - gauging one's emotions and controlling them is the biggest challenge of golf. And, the better the golfer the bigger that challenge is.
Golf is not about the golf swing - it's where the ball goes - preferably into the hole in as few strokes as possible.
Words of the Wise
High performers have a common skill. The skill to screw up (like everyone else) but the difference is that instead of whining, moaning, complaining and quitting, they don't quit, they fight back and they keep playing - David Ogrin, Texas Open Champion