The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's time for controversy.

If you do not play, understand, or like, golf then you may as well skip this post.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I play golf. To be honest, I should say "play at golf." That is, I play golf in comparison to the pros as Little Leaguers play baseball in comparison to those in the National and American Major Leagues. What I do on the golf course only vaguely resembles what the worst player on the PGA Tour can do.

Half of all allotted strokes on any golf course consist of putts. This makes putting pretty much 50% of the game. A few years ago, a controversy began over something called "anchored putting"... wherein the golfer anchors the putter against some part of his body... either the belly (with the butt of the putter shaft braced against the stomach) or the chest (a much longer shaft with the upper hand braced against the chest area).

Only about 15% of pros use the anchor type putting style. I have no idea about the amateurs but I see maybe 1 out of 20 on the golf course on any given day.

Make no mistake, putting is incredibly difficult. To do well, it requires a sort of relaxed, yet intensive, concentration coupled with a multitude of unconscious and conscious calculations of force and terrain. The best putters are simply amazing and sink just about anything within five feet of the hole. The average golfer, by comparison, can miss two-footers easily. Faye claims she is so poor a putter that she once failed to sink a putt dragging the ball over the hole in miniature golf.

I am told I am a good putter by those I play golf with. Of course, we all lie to each other on about our skills. I know they are lying because I will 3 putt at least three holes out of any given 18. A 3 putt, in case you are unaware, is a guaranteed failure to make par on any hole... unless you can reach par 5's in two, which I cannot. A good putter, in my opinion, will not 3 putt more than one hole in any given 18.

But the USGA and the Royal & Ancient (the two governing bodies of the sport) have agreed to outlaw anchored putting. The following video attempts to explain why:

Something that happens to most, if not all, golfers is the deterioration of putting skills. The hands getting a little shakey is the most common. This leads to something called "the Yips" where the player's ball generally ends up quite a way past the hole but also leads to pulling putts to one side, short-putting, and loud cursing.

Putting is so important to golf that whole books have been dedicated to the art. And it is an art as well as a science.

I have no problem with the anchored putters because I believe the skill needed transcends the ability of technique and technology. I do not use an anchor putter because they always feel awkward in my hands and I am more comfortable (most of the time) with a standard putter.

I feel, as many golfers do, that there should be different rules for pros and amateurs. And I also feel the "powers that be" should not have outlawed the anchored putting style... even for the pros.

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