Wednesday, April 15

Home on the Range: Where Expert Advice Abounds


(diskychick/Flickr)

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.

10 comments :

Bobbio said...

I determined a long time ago that when someone asks for "your" advice, they're just hoping to find a person that agrees with what they've already decided.

Nice post, enjoyed.

TeeOff said...

I love when they give you advice and then you watch them hit the guy/girl two stalls down...thanks for the tip!

Lancer said...

Great post...all of it true, unfortunately.

AppleDawg said...

Unless someone asks for it, I never give it and even when they do, I keep it short

I had someone trying to give me tips a few months ago as I was hitting my drive. I thanked the person and ignored it as I hit a 290 yard drive right down the middle

Robert said...

Usually those who offer unsolicited advice are the last person you want advice from...and their own swings are proof of that.

Charles Boyer said...

I try to refrain giving advice on a swing, unless it is an obvious flaw with a partner in a tournament (or practice for it.)

Even then, keeping it simple, something like "smooth" or "swing easy and hit hard" comes to mind. Nothing too technical. Of course, helping with a read in that situation is another story.

I figure if I were so good I would either be a teacher or Club Champion.

One-Eyed Golfer said...

I only offer golf swing advice to my opponent in match play. Hopefully, in their backswing.

I will also help my opponent read his putts. I am very helpful that way. Never very accurate, but very willing.

Snooty Primadona said...

Excellent post Heather!

I'm one of those people who NEVER offers anyone advice or remarks about their swing. Unfortunately, it seems everyone has some *advice* they want to hand me, or they have something derrogatory to say about my swing. My golf teacher & mentor told me I have a beautiful swing, so I'm clinging to that.

When I first started playing, it used to really ruffle my feathers, especially when playing with the hubby. He's full of all kinds of remarks. My favorite is "You just looked up is all." Oh really? Ya think?

However, I've become very astute at smiling & ignoring it. Because, you are right. There's always going to be some schmo that wants to offer their *expert* advice, and they are seldom the ones we should listen to. I'll stick to what my mentor teaches me, thank you!

Brad Clardy said...

Great article Heather. I have been asked for advice and have turned people down from giving it. My common sense reasoning is that all bad habits are the result of advice coming from too many sources, so I refer them to a professional who will teach them one way...the right way.

The Armchair Golfer said...

Thanks again, Heather. I really enjoyed your contribution.