After receiving a bright pink iPod for the holidays this year, I was unable to decide how it could enhance my life. “Just another electronic toy,” I said to myself, kind of like my digicam or my new picture-taking LG cell phone. It stayed in the box for almost a week before I attached it to my iMac and diligently began to load it with several hundred songs.
Because of their intuitive interface and small size, iPod minis and iPod shuffles are easy to use while exercising. When listening to my iPod over watching the news, I seem to have more stamina. With my favorite tunes playing in my ears, I remain on the elliptical trainer 15 minutes longer and am not as tired when I’m through. I stand up straighter, pulling my shoulders back confidently while strutting my stuff through the weight room. I now look forward to exercising, as long as my iPod is sufficiently charged.
Of course, taking my iPod to the gym is an obvious use. But I wondered: could it also help me improve my golf game?
Stamina is no doubt important in golf. I usually get a bit winded by the 15th, which can lead to mental and physical breakdowns. By the 18th, I’m just waiting to chuck it all and go home. Playing this way, I don’t suppose I’ll ever break 80.
In the past, I’ve kept a song or two going in my mind during a round. I listen to CDs on my way to the golf course and choose songs that have the right tempo for my mood. I try to remember the song during my five-mile walk ’round the course, but that rarely works. The song typically goes in and out of my head, and a string of poor shots is sure to force the melody from my mind as swing thoughts creep in.
Good tempo keeps you at a level place throughout a round. Hale Irwin, interviewed at the ACE Group Classic this week, said that tempo is the most important part of his swing. Fred Couples uses one sentence to describe his tempo: “I just try to swing as smooth as I can.” As the great Bobby Jones once said, “no one every swung too slowly.”
So, rather than take a metronome or a bizarre CD with beeps and clicks to the range, I decided to take my iPod!
I clipped my trusty electric pink iPod to my belt, carefully pulling the earphone cord under my sweatshirt. I decided to listen to Mozart first. Mozart, besides being enjoyable, has a clearly audible tempo. Turns out Mozart doesn’t work for me. It could have been that I wasn’t really warmed up, but I didn’t feel the music, my pace was off, and I started chunking my shots.
Next, I tried a few pop tunes and noticed that I started feeling the club at the point of impact. I felt the head of the club actually making contact with the ball. “Good start,” I thought. “Now I’m onto something!” By the end of my practice, I was listening to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” and crushing my drives. Although I couldn’t hear anything other than the music, my husband Barry remarked that this was the first time he heard the “click” of my club several times in a row. The drives and iron shots were longer and I was feeling stronger and more confident. I also noticed that I was more balanced and controlled and my swing actually slowed down, a feat I just didn’t accomplish before using my iPod.
I remember finding a golf chatroom last year and finding a few teenagers lingering there, talking about their golf game. Lurking around in the room, I read their notes to each other. All the kids in the room regularly scored in the 70s! I decided to ask them if there was any secret to their golf games. “We play games on our cellphones,” said one of the teens, “so we don’t have to think too much about golf.”
So, maybe we can learn something from our younger peers in golf: that distraction from a 4+ hour round of golf isn’t a bad thing, and partnering distraction with a rhythm and a solid feel can in fact result in some very good golf.
Who’d have thought an iPod may be the key to breaking 80? As soon as the weather warms, I’ll be taking my pink pal on the course, and you can bet we’ll be ripping it up. I’ve posted my practice list as an iMix on the iTunes Music store.