I’ve always found this one of the funniest subjects when it comes to golf instruction. Golfers worldwide seem to have the idea that there is a secret to good golf, that there is one thing that everyone could do to improve their game and that if we learn how to do that one magic move, all our golfing woes will be gone forever. The interesting thing is that this idea of trying to discover “the secret” is not a new phenomenon for golfers. In Butch’s book “The Pro”, he tells a wonderful story about his first golf lesson as a child with his father’s assistant Jackie Burke. Jackie told Butch on day one “get your hands on it properly and you are ahead of the game” before continuing to alignment or balance. After telling his dad that evening what Jackie had told him, his father responded with “they’re the things that I’ll be telling you as long as you play”. True to his word, Mr Harmon would constantly remind Butch of grip, alignment and balance. This often frustrated Butch as a junior because at the time he felt his dad was holding something back.
Later when Ben Hogan released his “secret” to life magazine, Butch brought the subject to his dad at the dinner table. When the question was asked, Butch says his dad leaned back and laughed out loud before responding “there might be a secret somewhere in life magazine, but it’s not the one you are looking for.” He then added “Ben’s secret is simple, he works ten times harder than everyone else and never stops learning.” Although this story is sixty years old or more, it could not be more relevant to today’s modern world. As we live in an era where we are accustomed to instant gratification, golfers need to realise that golf does not care. To get better at this game the formula is simple, if you implement some good fundamentals, have a willingness to learn and a drive to work hard, you can improve at this wonderful game.