Is "Forumology" Sending a New message in Golf?
Or Just Recycling Some of the Old Ones?
Listening to Your Fellow Golfers...
Forums are getting plenty of action these days. Some of them clearly present opportunity for serious, cordial (for the most part) interchange among golfers who have viewpoints, perceptions, ideas and fertile knowledge they want to share or just talk about.
There is a potential problem (or more), however. One is the danger that the participants either will ingest and/or digest everything they see and hear there, believe nothing they see or hear, or try selectivly to make good choices about what they see and hear and still miss more than they hit. Successful participants will be found to have a clear system for measuring and evaluating content that can be validated in sound principles and standards supported by research and other authoritative sources. (Golf magazines and books are not necessarily in that group). At least, on these forums, expressions of hostility are minimal and participants seem to listen more than they "talk."
Elsewhere, perhaps a more corrosive problem is found on forums where the favored approach is personal affront and malicious, even arrogant, attacks on others whom the particpants don't even know. That is often thrown around in terms like "liberals and conservatives," Republicans and Democrats, self-centered assertions designed to put people down, and generally content-poor messages, leaving one to wonder what in the world that has to do with golf. But those forums clearly get a lot of traffic. And that can only mean that many among today's golfers carry around a kind of anger they aren't even aware of.
The third and more subtle problem is found in something we could call "a collective, institutionalized ideology" of some forums that proceed to ostracize or make unwelcome any differing viewpoint, even when the "different" is right and the institution is wrong. The bias is so strong and lack of acceptance of "outside" references is great enough to point to a kind of "corporate neurosis," found in premorbid delusions of grandeur. (Institutionalization is a phenomenon that removes individuality and replaces it with a group identity. It usually is found where group members have little or no self-assurance so they borrow ego strength from their group membership).
That said, we suggest that it is time to give a lot of attention to how we go about evaluating (anything) so we can sort out the good from the not so good (anywhere).
In golf, that may mean getting down to some more serious study. If you read something about biomechanics, unless you know what that is and how it works, go find out. Don't just accept or reject what is said because you don't understand or you don't want your buddies to think you aren't conversant with the subject.
Same goes for the mental game, swing skills, game management, things like being tough-minded, using training aids, variations in equipment, strength training, and even nutrition. Just because something shows up on a forum, it isn't necessary to be mesmerized by the printed word. Louder is not necessarily better, and marketing has many faces.
In short, take some time to find out what you need to know to be a competent assessor of what you see and hear. There's way too much stuff flying around out there to allow one's mind to be influenced only by chance or sheer opinion. Opinions are fine. But they should never be allowed to double for principles. Local rules may be OK, but they can't compete legitmately with genuine standards.
There are vital features involved in golf that may have escaped notice. Check them out. It may be nice to listen to urgent messages, like "Just do it," but not much happens if you don't know how that really works. Nice to say. Hard to do, especially when there is no one around to repeat and maintain the cheerleading.
Don't fall though cracks in the