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Trying to free up some time to put some more extensive thoughts down on virtual paper. In the meantime, enjoy these random bits and pieces that have bubbled up in the last few weeks.

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Persimmon Golf Society founder Christian tapped his resources and managed to acquire a 945 re-worked by none other than Jack Walcott (personal club-man of Jack Nicklaus). I love these little single swing vignettes with just enough exposition to provide some context. It’s this type of stuff that can inspire those folks on the fence to give it a go with persimmon – what’s the worst that could happen? Switch it onto HD mode for best viewing. Cheers!

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On another note…

I just finished reading the book Extraordinary Golf, The Art of the Possible by Fred Shoemaker. Shoemaker seeks to provide a new perspective on the game by using a so-called “outside-in” approach. The basic goal is to shift away from judging the physical, measurable outcomes i.e. proximity to the hole, distance of the drive, final score, etc. and instead judge ourselves on the quality of our mental process and awareness. The key, according to Shoemaker, is to inspire a proper feedback loop and lead us to true understanding of our natural golf swing (whatever that is…). The paramount question that must be asked when the round is over is not “what did you shoot?” but rather “what did you learn?”. Success is then achieved if the golfer meets his or her goals such as playing without fear, staying present, and accepting the consequences of every shot. In summary, I found a few flaws in Shoemaker’s thinking and at times it got overwhelmingly “new-agey” but overall it was a refreshing and enjoyable read. In leau of a more thorough review, I wanted to share this interesting passage that I found to be a nice follow up to our discussions on “a set for all seasons” and “playing the game you want to play” which has been a recurring theme (I hope) on this website.

At almost every workshop that I’ve given, the first thing I do after introductions is ask the students two questions. First, “why do you play golf?” Second, “What would you like to get out of this workshop?” I’ve taught in several different countries, yet the answers I get are always similar. I write the responses on a flip chart. Here is what a typical one looks like:

I’d like you to take a look at this chart for a minute and see if it seems like something you might write down for yourself. Are the things on the left reasons why golf appeals to you, and are the things on the right what you look for when you take a lesson or attend a workshop? Are you beginning to see what I’m up to here? Do you realize that these are trick questions? Very few people do.

Most golfers believe that if they get the things on the right, it will lead to getting those on the left. In fact, many think that if they do not get the things on the right, they will never be able to get those on the left. This approach can be summed up by the statement: “If I play better, then I’ll enjoy the game more.” This point of view is so universal that almost no one questions it, but my experience tells me that it is completely false.

After twenty years of teaching golf, I have learned that if you lower your handicap, get the correct form, get out of bunkers in one shot rather than two, etc., it will have no effect on your overall happiness and fulfillment from the game. I wouldn’t have said that ten years ago. I used to think that if people got better, they’d be happier. However, having watched people over the years improve by leaps and bounds-watched them get the stuff on the right side of the chart-I’ve realized that the stuff on the left does not automatically follow.

These are trick questions because they really ask the same question, and I believe they should elicit the same answers. Doesn’t it make sense that if you play golf to develop confidence or concentration, you would go to a workshop seeking to learn about confidence and concentration? That if you like to learn new things, you would want to find out more about how you learn? Almost no one approaches golf in this way.

Interesting food for thought…

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Meanwhile, things have been going well in the Bay Area’s fight to save Sharp Park, a local muni and early Alister MacKenzie design that serves the working class near San Francisco. The team over at San Francisco Public Golf Alliance kept the momentum after some favorable court rulings by hosting a summer fundraiser to support the cause. What struck me was a photo of Ken Venturi who stopped by the course not too long ago to offer his thoughts and support. Early on in the campaign, Venturi was named honorary chairman and penned a letter that rallied the troops, eventually manifesting in the birth of the SF Public Golf Alliance. Nobody could have known how few days he had left when he stopped by Sharp – I’m sure he was glad to know that, due in large part to his guidance, the battle is nearly won. This is why Ken Venturi is San Francisco’s favorite golfing son. Thank you and rest in peace.

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And finally, we have a mini-edition of “What You Are Missing” featuring what I can only pray will not be a new trend – irons with nicknames! That’s right, Luke List has acquired from Callaway a playing set of individually named irons – no numbers and no lofts. While there is some precedent for non-numbered irons in the hickory days (niblick, mashie niblick, etc.) I don’t think Old Tom would approve of a professional asking his caddie whether the ‘Merica or the Fireball is the right stick. Oh, kids these days…

2 Responses to “Odds and Ends (Again)”

  1. Avatar of Blade Junkie Blade Junkie says:

    One day I hope we can share 18 holes of Persimmon & Blades at Sharp Park Riley! Glad to hear the campaign to save the course is going so well !

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