This journey through golf’s evolution from the mysterious and mystical to the mechanistic, with data and technology driving the cart, will evoke strong feelings among those who love the game and ring a chime for people in many other fields challenged by technology. Sportswriter Brett Cyrgalis cautions against emphasizing art over science, or vice versa, because technology and analytics are now an essential aspect of the pro game. Cyrgalis describes golf’s soul by invoking the spirit of Ben Hogan and recounting the games’ most magical moments – still meaningful even in the days of big data.
You can’t replicate your own golf swing, let alone anyone else’s.
You can study a pro golfer’s swing. You can break it down, watch it in slow motion and practice it in front of a mirror, but you’ll never duplicate it. You can’t because you don’t know what your body is doing – and you can’t will your body to do what you want.
Developing muscle memory is an unreliable process within the complex motions of a golf swing. Differences of a fraction of a millimeter dramatically alter your results.
Golfers have long looked to science to perfect their movements and lock them in for consistency.
The battle between art and science is raging in golf today. The intangible side of the game – with its long history, rich stories and unsolvable mysteries – exerts a strong pull. The more golfers, coaches and equipment manufacturers strive for perfection by taking a mechanistic, data-driven, analytical and technical approach, the more palpable the emotional, feeling side of golf becomes.
Two classic texts represent the opposing camps: The Golfing Machine for technical knowledge and Golf ...