When someone is described as having demons, it’s usually to point out negative personality traits of an otherwise decent person. Weaknesses such as alcoholism, gambling, anger… damaging habits that cannot be fully controlled and either prevent a person from obtaining their full potential, or one which can rear it’s ugly face and derail whatever is good in his or her life.
I think this can be said for the golf swing as well. Words such as a “tendency”, or a “bad habit” are used to describe an issue that re-occurs even with the best of players, damaging an otherwise better score.
For me, demons serve as roadblocks to improvement.
I’ve always hated it when someone said “I can’t”, when a better description might be “that’s very difficult for me”. The idea being that learning a skill might be harder for some than others, but not impossible. Still, for whatever reason there is a finite level of golf of which any of us can obtain, even if provided all the time and money in the world. For some, that potential might be scratch or better. For others, it might be low teens. I’m not sure where I will end up before the inevitable decline in physical ability kicks in, but I have a pretty good idea of where it won’t be.
Here are a few of my demons…
- Lack of discipline and/or focus when practicing. I start out with the intention of disregarding results, but that often deteriorates after a few swings. I also give up too soon on new methods and continue trying those proven to be ineffective.
- Lack of understanding. While the hips move forward and rotate, the upper body only rotates. The hands and weight need to be in front of the ball at impact, but how can this happen when my arms are attached to the upper body…. which stays back? Quality information is readily available, but it serves no purpose if I can't make sense of it.
- Being unaware of what’s really going on in 3D space. Feel ain’t real for almost everyone, but what I feel and what I see on video are worlds apart.
- An inability to replace what I know are bad habits with those I believe are improvements. Learning to perform drills correctly seems easy. Applying them to the full swing, impossible.
To those who have more control over these things, the solution might seem easy. But telling me to apply the 5S's of good practice is the same as telling someone fighting obesity to just put down the fork.
All I can do is try to improve on the things that impede progress. I sometimes think about devoting an entire season towards developing better practice habits and reigning in my demons, simply say to hell with my scores. But there’s no proof that plan would succeed. Plus, I mostly enjoy playing my crappy level of golf… mostly.