Judging golf magazines by their cover.
Are all golf magazines making promises they can’t keep?
Yes, they are.
Like Calamity Jane, they’re not exactly lying…but they’re careless with the truth. They know exactly what to put on the cover to entice us to pick up their magazine. Take a look at their covers next time you have a minute or two to spare at the newsagent – it’s fascinating. For instance, every magazine has 2 or more numbered headlines (5 tips to stop the yips; Tested: 16 of the best GPS). We golfers must be fascinated by numbers.
But what really stands out is the way magazines use golfing myths and our desperation to improve at golf to make us buy.
Here are 3 ways golf magazines sell us short to sell magazines.
1. “Fix Your ….”
Pick up 3 magazine, and these words will be on the cover of at least one of them. Whether they’re looking to fix our slice, our hook or our swing as a whole, golf magazines say they can help. It seems helpful, at first glance, doesn’t it?
But who says we’re “broken” in the first place? The human body is an incredible machine, capable of unimaginable feats. Unless we have genuine pathology, it can cope very nicely with swinging a club at a stationary ball. Much of what we come to believe is “broken” occurs as a direct result of trying to fix what was never broken in the first place.
You’re not “broken”…so please don’t be fooled into thinking you are.
2. “…like a Pro”
Yet another headline which promises the earth and fails to deliver. This one uses our desire for a “magic bullet” – we want to improve at golf, we want to play like the professionals do…and so our eyes are drawn to this headline. Every month it screams out from the cover of one magazine or another: “Pitch like a Pro”, “Escape from bunkers like a Pro” and “Throw your clubs like a pro” (Okay, so I made the last one up…but it’s also the one you or I have the most chance of achieving).
We’re so desperate to get there we’re willing to believe a three-page instruction feature will allow us to get there without having to do the hard part. Ridiculous…but we fall for it time and again.
Magazine features are no substitute for putting in the hours of dedicated and effective golf practice.
3. “Tips and Drills to Lower Your Scores”
How can “swing tips” in a magazine help us improve at golf? With all of the variables which can affect the flight of the ball, can a one-page tip really offer reliable advice? And even if it could, how do we know what we feel is real? Is there really one “true” way to swing a golf club? (hint: the answer is NO). Any advice doled out by a magazine is either too generic to help anyone, or far too specific to help most. . Such advice is as at least as likely to harm our game as to help it.
Even if we find a tip which works, it’s a band-aid than a structural change in our swing, a compensation which might help other compensations align…for a while. And then it all falls apart and the search for a tip which works starts all over again. And, as I’ve said in the comments of this post, it’s like putting up layer after layer of poor quality wallpaper when the best course of action is to strip it back to the good wall which lies beneath.
…And there you have it.
3 headlines golf magazines use to get us to buy…which don’t stand up to scrutiny.
But we only have ourselves to blame.
Golf magazines raise most of their money selling advertising. This means they give golfers what they want rather than what they might need, perpetuating the myths and half-truths passed down from one generation of golfers to the next.
But we’re different.
So here’s my promise to you: no lies, no nonsense, no watering down.
Just what you need to improve at golf without changing your swing.
Nothing more, nothing less.
I’m opening this one up to any questions. What’s your biggest issue as you strive to improve at golf? Is it on the course, or on the practice tee? Do you lose focus at a certain point in the round, or do you need tips on effective golf practice to help you take your range game to the course? Is it something you’ve still to see me cover? Or has another Magazine Myth got your goat?
Catch up with me, be it in the comments below, on Twitter or via the contact form.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!