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Golf is an art form

Legendary golf teacher Jim Flick passed away recently from pancreatic cancer. He was 82.

Flick was instrumental in helping Jack Nicklaus regain his form after his former teacher Jack Grout died and then went on to found the Nicklaus – Flick Golf Schools. He was also head of the Golf Digest Golf Schools and Flick was PGA Teacher of the Year in 1988. He was inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame and the Southern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame in 2002. Golf World magazine selected him as one of the top 10 teachers of the 20th century.

Later in his career, Flick became concerned that too many golfers trying to achieve a perfect swing. I agree.

“We’ve let the game be taken over by science,” he said. “Golf is an art form. The golf swing is an athletic movement. Becoming mechanical and robotic is the worst thing you can do.”

OK, try telling that to Nick Faldo who became a multiple major champion due to David Leadbetter’s robotic style. Granted, later in life Faldo complained that he had lost the “feeling” for the game, but it did serve his purpose for a while.

If you ask 100 golf teachers for their theory, you’ll probably get 75-100 different answers. Put them all in the same room and they probably couldn’t agree on what to order for lunch.

Still, Flick was a legend in the business and when he spoke he deserved respect. Personally, I liked Harvey Pennick’s theories a bit more, but there were certain drills in Flick’s books which I happily passed on to my students over the years, some of which I still use myself on occasion.

RIP Jim.

I recently saw a funny post online from Golf Digest where a fistfight broke out when one guy accidentally (or on purpose) hit into a slower group in front of him. The fight ended after a bit of dancing and a lot of missed shots, but one solid connection by the guy who hit into the group in front.

Judging from the way the guy in front threw punches, its kinda obvious why they were slow. He couldn’t make contact with a head the size of a basketball, how the hell can he expect to make contact with a tiny golf ball?

The guy from the group behind, on the other hand, snapped his head back with a really sweet left. Obviously a lower handicapper…

All fun aside, let me first point out that disputes on the golf course should never be settled with fisticuffs (unless, of course, you don’t have a wedge handy). Violence doesn’t solve anything. Sure, it’s more fun than logical discourse, but it doesn’t solve anything. OK, maybe sometimes it does…but not as a general rule.

Secondly, or perhaps I should have listed it first, never hit into the group in front of you if you can avoid it. Sure, accidents happen from time to time, but if one does, immediately shout a warning to the group in front so they can take cover, or pretend they got hit and call their lawyer.

If you screw up and hit into a group, go up and apologize. Don’t take it for granted that they understand it was an accident. For example, one of them might be a Trump supporter and a proponent of “Open Carry” and decide to have an epic meltdown. Yes, these things have been known to happen from time to time.

If the guy has a “Make America Great Again” red cap and a room temperature IQ, make sure you act like a fellow supporter. Fake it if you have to. Trust me on this.

When faced with a very slow group in front of you, wave down a marshal and ask him for assistance. He can either ask the group in front to either speed up a bit, or let your group play through.

Advice, if a group is nice enough to let you play through, do it quickly. Don’t make them sorry for allowing it. Tip your cap, say thank you with a smile and move quickly.

If you follow common sense rules of etiquette the game of golf can be quite enjoyable for you and everyone around you.

If you don’t…watch out for the left hook… VNS

by Robert Bicknell

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