There are many myths about golf. We've all heard them. Perhaps some of us have uttered them once in a while. They include questionable statements related to the sport itself and, at times, well-meaning yet equally delusional golf swing 'tips' from playing partners... usually after you've just shanked one OB.
So without further ado, we list golf's biggest myths... and try to shatter them once and for all.
Golf is Not a Sport
There are many reasons why golf is a sport. Where do we start? Well, the actual definition of a sport is "a game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment or as a job". Sound familiar?
Golfers put unimaginable strain on their bodies in pursuit of the perfect golf swing, and many spend almost as much time in the gym as they do on the golf course.
Also, both Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam have won the title of World Sportsman/Sportswoman of the Year.
Oh, and it's in the Olympics too. Myth debunked? Yup, we think so.
Golf Takes All Day to Play
Sure, if you're playing a full 18 holes every week, then you can expect to spend around four hours on the golf course, but that's not the only way to enjoy golf. You can play shorter forms of the game either by squeezing in nine holes, taking on par-3 courses, pitch and putts - heck, even a round at your local adventure golf facility.
Professionals Have an Easy Life
It's very easy to watch the best golfers in the world arrive at Augusta National for the Masters each year and think, 'what a life'. However, despite all the undeniable perks, these golfers will have sacrificed a lot to get to this level and can spend many weeks per year away from family and friends.
That's before we even start to talk about golfers who never make it anywhere near the main Tours. It can be a real slog for professionals who are aiming to leap from developmental tiers into any one of the leading Tours and finances can very quickly dry up.
Everyone is Watching You
One of the most stressful feelings in golf, for a lot of amateurs, is the moment you're getting ready to hit when a slower group ahead have let you play through. Golfers are rarely looking at you with any degree of judgement - other than perhaps hoping to steal something good from your game to help with their own.
Many beginner golfers can become self-conscious when standing over their ball in case the result isn't pretty. The reality is we can all hit stinkers every round. Relax, and those bad shots will become less frequent.
Golf is Expensive
Golf can be expensive and from the outside looking in it could seem that the perceived initial cost might be a barrier to starting in the game. It doesn't have to be that way, though.
The chances are that in your region there will be quite a few golf courses where you can play without needing to pay through the nose. Also, at many golf clubs you can hire equipment relatively cheaply.
If you do decide to buy your own clubs, don't be fooled into thinking that you MUST spend many hundreds of pounds/euros/dollars. You could buy a full used set of clubs, or perhaps simply a set for your budget. You might decide to get a set of irons for under £100 to allow you to find your way in the game. They may not be as jam-packed with tech as the top-of-the-range models, but they will hit that little white ball towards the flag in the distance. And you're on your way.
Now some myths about the golf swing...
Keep Your Head Down
Let's start with the obvious one. We've all heard it. Many of us have said it. Regardless, many golf coaches from around the world will tell you how very wrong this statement is.
Furthermore, 'keep your head down' is quite a damaging statement as it can stop your upper body's ability to rotate (leading to poor strikes) and could hurt you physically as it puts a lot of strain on your neck.
The More You Practice, The Better You Get
While it's true that you will need to work on your game in between rounds to improve and perfect your technique, this shouldn't be confused with smashing balls on the range machine gun-style.
You must have a plan to help you practice with purpose and get the maximum out of the precious time that you spend at the practice facility. We would say: the smarter you practice, the better you will get.
You Must Keep Your Lead Arm Straight
For this myth, we will pass over to friend of Hole19 and top golf coach Eric Cogorno. He tells us:
To me, the left arm being straight is kind of like the whole 'keep your head down' thing.
It's one of those things that I think your grandfather said as a way to help you get the perfect golf swing, and then it stuck.
When I watch really good golfers, do I think that their arm, their left arm is straighter rather than excessively bent?
Yes, but you do not have to keep your left arm straight during the entire swing".
Longer Shaft = Longer Distance
All things remaining equal, if you put a longer shaft on your current driver, you'll be able to increase the speed of your swing. Will that translate into extra yards from the tee? Possibly - but it's far from guaranteed.
What's important with every club - and certainly the driver - is achieving that solid contact. If you're playing about with the length of your shaft (who's that sniggering at the back?), it very possibly could throw your ability to hit the centre of the clubface out of kilter.
There is a Perfect Golf Swing
Almost every golfer has something in his/her swing, which makes it unique from another. For every gorgeous swing we might see in the professional game - Adam Scott, Freddie Couples for example - there are just as many less aesthetically pleasing versions. Think Jim Furyk... possibly even Arnold Palmer could fall into that category. And did it hurt their game?
As Martin Hall says below, perfect doesn't come into it. It's all about achieving a reliable, repeatable action.
Which golf myths have you heard over the years? Let us know in the comments.