Can you manufacture a golfer??
It’s really not as daft a question as it sounds.
There was a real interesting debate between some professionals and coaches on twitter about it the other night so it got me thinking. A nurture versus nature debate.
Now I can only look at this from the view point of a L.O.F.T. golfer, so probably take a different slant on it.
I will try to break this down with a few examples, starting with myself.
Now I was a late comer to golf, I was 35 before I picked up a club, everything in my life came second to cricket.
If I repeat the same swing twice in the same round it’s a miracle!
If I could spend 5-10 hours in a gym, 10-20 hours practise and 4 hours a week with a Denis Pugh or Gary Gilchrist what could I expect?
Well the gym would certainly help in terms of round fitness and power it would be bound to help.
The practise would do, but only if its constructed properly and broken down into different areas an disciplines. To many guys think the driving range is just that, a range to practise driving on! Nothing more or less.
Now would you take a KIA Rio to the Ferrari F1 pits for a service? NO!
Why? Because the mechanics there are used to dealing with the best. Denis Pugh is a twitter buddy and I would never insult the man by asking for a tip never mind book a lesson!
Guys like Denis & Gary are amongst the best because they have worked there way up to deal with the best. A good club teaching pro used to dealing with my standard of play would probably suit me more.
But hypothetically if I had the time and the money and I could do the gym, the practise and the lessons realistically what’s the best I could hope for, scratch? 4 or 5 would be more realistic, but would I really enjoy it ? I don’t think I would.
Now if you a 17 year old who is relatively new to the game, say 2 years, and playing off 16. You then do the whole gym, practise and lessons scenario.
Chances are you are unscarred from playing any other sport seriously and your memory muscles are probably eager to learn and adapt. But more importantly 2 years into playing bad habits can be more easily corrected as they will have not been imbedded yet.
Even if you have no natural talent I would think with work scratch would be achievable, but only while you have the time, money & work ethic.
If they have talent then amateur and representative golf would be with in their reach, but professional level of play? I would severely doubt it, unless there was a huge amount of natural talent.
But if you take a 4 or 5 year old and train them purely on golf from that age ?
I mean not other sports at all, out side education you simply train them as a golfer, physically & mentally what would you get?
Now I know we are talking about a child and this scenario should never happen, but lets say it’s a major Korean dad syndrome, these people do exist. Could you create a super golfer? Regardless of talent ??
Look at China and the former communist block countries, children where assessed from a very early age and trained with only an Olympic gold in mind, you only need look at Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci.
If you where single minded and heartless enough then I honestly think you could create a top ranking professional golfer in these circumstances regardless of talent.
But without doubt he, or she, would be extremely robotic and lack social graces and I pretty sure by the time they hit their 30’s they would be pretty mentally screwed up.
Is it right? No.
Is it possible? To be honest yes.
But from a personal view point give me a Seve type player blessed with natural talent and charisma any day of the week.
You cant teach charisma though, can you?