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Don't Ignore Your Spine

Greetings Golfers,

So last week, at age 65, Bernhard Langer won the Chubb Classic. It wasn’t the PGA Tour event at Riviera … it was a Senior Tour event in Naples, Florida. But it’s still incredible - most of the good players on the Senior (Champions) Tour are in their early 50s - not 65.

Langer did admit in the post-game interview that it’s a good course for him because it’s short and narrow … but it’s not that short!

So inspired by Langer, GOLF DIGEST had an article about the secret to good golf in your later years. Of course they start off with Sam Snead. Snead loved to play golf - he claimed to play every day … and he never had the injuries that most players have. Snead was crazy flexible … but that wasn’t the only reason for his longevity and lack of injuries. His swing was based on fluid motion and rhythm - not on torque and resistance. And he hit it a long way - even into old age.

Snead also had a good quote: “The harder you hit the nail, the slower you take the hammer back”.

Probably my favorite quote in the article was by Dr. Phil Ozuah, CEO of Montefiore Medical Center: “The happiest people are grateful. The unhappiest are entitled. Be grateful.”

This is good stuff. For any age. For all ages. Not just old folks like me.

Now I’m going to make a leap … bear with me. Last month at the PGA Show, we walked into a really cool showroom of beautiful golf shoes. I talked to one of the shoe creators - not a salesman. He was showing me how the shoes were constructed to be comfortable and supportive. He talked about Tiger Woods having to wear a different company’s golf shoe because the company he represents doesn’t make shoes with enough support. Because of his car accident, Tiger needs more than comfort and style - he needs support.

I found this fascinating and really appreciated how this guy’s mind works. So, I told him my analogy: “It sounds like you’re saying a shoe is like a body - that it needs a spine for support - otherwise it’s just a blob.” He laughed and agreed. (I’m glad he laughed). 

Where am I going with this? Well, back to the quote about being grateful … which I love. And I agree that entitled people are unhappy. But, we also have to have a spine. We can’t just be a comfortable blob … even a stylish comfortable blob. Even in old age. We need to have a spine. Otherwise, we’re of no use when people need us.

A lot of arrogant and naive people view us as a blob of clay to be formed into their vision of humanity. I’ve had pretty intense arguments with golf instructors about such attitudes. And it’s not just golf instructors. About 30 years ago, I gave golf lessons during the winter at an athletic training facility run by former Twins and North Stars. They would create a model of an athletic motion on a computer … and then try to make every student into that model.

I argued that every athletic motion had certain fundamentals and that our job was to adapt those fundamentals to the unique students we worked with. One size does not fit all. 

Of course they had success stories. But they were the students who were predisposed to their model. Who knows how many they destroyed.

This mindset is prevalent in everything - not just sports. They claim to love diversity - but they love uniformity. They want to make everyone into their model.

They should read the novel “Frankenstein”. The arrogant scientist who believes he can create the perfect human, winds up creating a monster.

Some of these crazy ideas for the modern golf swing destroy people’s bodies. Sure, young people are flexible - but they’re not blobs - they have a spine. Look at the problems these young guys are having with their backs - Jason Day, Brooks Koepka, etc … I could go on and on.

And this madness has to be stood-up to. We have to use our spine/backbone and say no. If we are a blob we cannot support the people who need our help. Just like Tiger’s former golf shoe - it can’t help him when he needs it - he needs a shoe that has a spine.

Being nice is good. But being nice without a spine is not good - just like the blob golf shoe.

A lot of good people have been manipulated into thinking that being a passive blob is noble - while the mad scientists are trying to create a new world.

These mad scientists’ models backed by their systems and stats is short-term thinking. It ignores reality. But they don’t believe in reality. Unfortunately, real people have to pay the price of their Utopian schemes. 

So, back to Bernard Langer. His golf swing is based in reality and has held-up for a long time. He is not a Frankenstein - he’s a human being. 

And back to the quote about being grateful - not entitled.

Use your spine to do the right thing. Don’t use it to be entitled and demanding.

So, as you work on your golf swing … remember that you are not a blob to be shaped into some crazy model. You have a spine - respect it. And use it to stand-up to mad scientists that are trying to ruin your body and your golf swing and our society.



Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional
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