Wednesday, April 15
Home on the Range: Where Expert Advice Abounds
By Heather Jones
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
I REMEMBER WHEN I FIRST starting golfing. I would hit the indoor range at O’Dark Thirty to practice. Why? I didn’t want to listen to the unsolicited advice of others, so I tried my best to avoid “expert hour.”
I have struggled with many things in my golfing career, but I have never been afraid to seek others’ guidance. By others, I mean teachers, not the Tour wannabes that I seem to attract like flies. I’ve actually checked my back before to see if someone had attached a sign reading, “Help Me!”
Most golfing tips come from well-intended, but ill-advised hackers. Clearly, you don’t need to be an expert to offer advice. Lucy Van Pelt proved that years ago while counseling Charlie Brown.
When I head to the range, I am usually working on something specific. Trying to modify a golf swing is no easy task. The smallest change can make the best players hit some funky shots. It takes time and patience to groove a new move.
There is nothing more frustrating than shanking a shot and having a fellow golfer stop to tell you what you are doing wrong. I have a strict “don’t tell if they don’t ask” policy. Even if someone asks me for help, I still feel uncomfortable offering my assistance. I think they are better off seeking guidance from a professional.
I used to think once I was a better player, others would keep their comments to themselves. That was wishful thinking. One day I was lucky enough to find another new mentor at the range. I politely dismissed myself and headed to the putting green—an excellent escape plan.
I ran into my friend, pro golfer Bob Sowards, by the bag drop. I laughed about my new “coach” and asked him how much longer I would have to endure these situations.
“Forever,” he said with a smile.
Bob told me he receives advice on the range all the time. I couldn’t believe it. Last time I checked, no one else at our course had ever played on the PGA Tour. What could anyone there possibly offer Bob?
Oh well, if Bob can take it, so can I.
Heather Jones writes about golf at her blog, Real Women Golf, and Fore Her magazine.