Claire Kane on the flaws of golfing perfection
We’re taught at an early age to aim for perfection.
It starts when we’re children, where the simple task of colouring in is considered a failure if we draw outside of the lines. Thankfully great artists such as Monet appeared to have ignored this particular rule.
When it comes to golf, we’re also looking for perfection – the perfect strike, angle and length.
For a start there’s no such thing as a perfect swing as we come in all shapes, sizes and ﬂexibility. John Daly may be able to wrap his club right around his torso but when you’re in your 50s and 60s there are times when just bending down to pick up a ball can be a struggle.
The odds are further stacked against a perfect round when you consider we have to hit a 1.62” ball over four miles, on a course speciﬁcally designed with hazards to make it more difﬁcult, and then putt out over thousands of blades of grass into a 4.24” cup!
Maybe we should relax and just enjoy being imperfect golfers” We’re tempted to perfect our game with the latest equipment but sometimes it’s our old, albeit battered, clubs that work just as well.
Play with a perfect new ball and the odds are that it will gravitate towards an inaccessible part of the course, whereas the old scratched ball you dug out of the bottom of your bag will probably stay in play the whole round.
Then there’s our imperfect weather to battle against. As an island, it’s not unusual for a wind to appear at some stage, requiring telepathic skills to know when to hit between gusts. Not forgetting, the ‘bounce & roll factor’ when the ground resembles concrete in the summer and a bog in the winter.
Gary Player may have said “The harder I practise, the luckier I get,” but there’s also the other law of golf where ‘the harder you try, the worse you play’.
You only have to look at Rory McIlroy, who admits he would love to win at home but sadly never seems to play well in Ireland.
If you listen to the number of ‘sorries’ muttered during a game of greensomes or foursomes you’ll appreciate how many perfectionists play golf, yet even the great Ben Hogan recognised his biggest challenge was to control his perfectionist trait.
Maybe we should relax and just enjoy being imperfect golfers and then, perhaps, our golf would improve.