DJ’s Theory – Golf Is A Dying Sport B/C of Modern Golf Swing

foley-tigerOriginally posted Sept 18, 2016 – and I’ve seen nothing in the past year that would change my opinion…

It is no secret that the golf industry is in decline, perhaps part of a natural boom and bust cycle, but I would posit that a major facet of it is in the fact that the modern golf swing is chasing and keeping people away from the game.

Golf will always be played, so the game itself is not in peril.  There will always be enough people with the means, opportunity and of course desire to play.

In fact, I would imagine that the elites in the past-time (social elites, not playing elites, mind you) do not mind that golf is once again becoming too expensive and time-consuming for the average man.

However, I don’t see the industry regaining any semblance of growth while the modern swing philosophy remains.

If you don’t know the genesis of the modern swing, neither do I – however, we can all admit that swinging in the classic golf swing manner the way the greats of old did, is much easier and simpler to learn and perform.

In fact, there has always been a push in the golf instruction industry to complicate things, therefore squeezing more dollars out of public for lessons.

The best example?

The future president of the PGA of America telling legendary Scottish golf instructor Ernest Jones back in the ’50s that his swing method was too simple:

According to PGA of America senior writer Bob Denney, the PGA has invited teaching pros to address its annual meeting only twice.

The first was Ernest Jones…But Jones’ presentation to the PGA in November 1950 alarmed its members because his method was simpler and less time-consuming than body-focused instruction.

At a time when the average pro was giving 600 lessons a year, Jones was averaging 3,000, and Smith (who served as the PGA president from 1952 to 1954) told Jones that his method was “too simple. We wouldn’t sell enough lessons.”

Christensen, John (2013-11-24). Perfect Swing, Imperfect Lies: The Legacy of Golf’s Longest Hitter (Kindle Locations 971-975). . Kindle Edition.

So, you can’t get much clearer than that – the PGA of America, so-called shepherds of the game, are golf professionals by their own admission, whose primary purpose is not teaching or growing the game, but in making money from it.

Their own words, not mine.

It’s a business, and it’s failing badly, by any measure, except in the money made by the professional players and the industry.

But for the public – less people taking up the game, people aren’t able to play into their later years as they once did, and of course, the six-hour rounds keep a lot of people away, including myself unless I have a whole day to waste playing a round of golf.

This is today’s guru… God help us all…


How bad is it?

Well… how about showing people a proper back swing, more or less, mechanically and postionally speaking, and telling them it’s wrong, and showing them how to do it completely counter to athletic principles:


That first pose, incidentally, is how all of the greats would have looked at the top, including the guy whose back he helped break with the second type of position at the top, before Foley got his hands on him:

Hey Tiger – Foley says that’s wrong…

tiger top2

So, we know the deal if we pay attention – it’s about how much they can squeeze out of you, not how well they can teach you to swing.

People are leaving the game in droves (not many 60-year olds can swing in the modern style, and if they do, not for long), and more droves not taking it up.

A shame.

I’ll still play golf however (when I have the inclination to play 5-6 hr rounds following slow-pokes), without any assistance from the PGA of America, and I imagine many others who swing along the classic golf swing way will enjoy their golf as well, without assistance from the “pros.”

Most people however, will only ever experience golf instruction through that cabal, and we all know that if you give a millennial a couple of modern swing sessions, they are more likely to go search out something far more enjoyable to learn that to keep trying to twist their bodies into pretzels just for the purpose of chasing a little ball around a pasture for 4 to 5 hours.

Those of us who can swing with mechanical correctness however, will continue to enjoy hitting balls and playing the game.

Unfortunately (for the biz, that is), that bodes well for the game, but not for the business.

And at this point, it’s a self-inflicted injury for the pros in the industry, and I don’t really pity them.

Happy Sunday, everyone.


Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?

Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency? 

Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?

If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing:

“E = MCS” The Swing Video


6 thoughts on “DJ’s Theory – Golf Is A Dying Sport B/C of Modern Golf Swing

  1. Scott Whalen

    The lack of effective golf Golf instruction may not have improved scoring much but where I play golf it is a very popular sport. Went to the BMW tournament this week and it was crowded. Go to the local driving ranges and they are busy throughout the season. The local public golf courses are crowded 7 days a week. Personally I have not seen any lack of interest in the game.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I don’t dispute what you’re saying personally, Scott. I’m sure there are pockets of golf-mad population where it remains ever popular.

      Where I live, half of the courses I began playing 20 years ago have closed or been sold to development, and I can count on one hand the remaining golf stores within an hour’s drive.

      Television ratings continue thei downward trend as well… I don’t know many under-40s who even want to play let alone watch it on TV.

      I guess the situation will become clearer when the Boomer generation is done playing and watching. Because if you took them out of the ranges and off the course…it doesn’t look too promising.

      Appreciate your input!


  2. joe gallant

    I’m with you on this one Dj. As for playing 18 holes forget it. I practically take a nap on the t box at any course I play now 5 hrs. I now play 9 holes at twighlight 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. max and I can have a life. I walk the course and still run into groups with power carts lol.

    1. D Watts Post author

      It’s been a long time since I’ve played a lot of golf in a season, Joe – but in ’09 when I played 3-4 days per week, I used to tee off with a regular contingent of various retired gents, and I would walk a round of 18 holes in 3.5 hrs, easy.

      There was a fellow with whom I’d play a good deal and on quiet days, we could tool around in a couple of hours when I’d jump into his cart from tee to fairway and greens to the next tee box.

      I never played on Fridays however as non-regulars would flood the course (or worse, following a tournament’s last tee times), and the one time I did, I walked off the course after 3 hrs for the front 9.

      As you say, I have a life to live, and it doesn’t include hours standing around waiting for the holes ahead to clear…

  3. buddhabob

    Imo what would fix the whole thing is to correct the travesty of the modern golf ball. With the modern swing distances off the tee would fall sharply. The average drive would fall to 250 yards at best. Golfers would be motivated to go back to the classic swing and junk this nonsense.

    I think at one time Nicklaus had argued against the modern ball. It certainly skewed a lot of the stats and demanded that the courses be far too long which retards public play and in reality, most weekend hackers would never know the difference anyway if you went back to the old ball.

    As well players who are really helped by the new long ball like Jordan Speith would suddenly become severely handicapped. Imagine him at Augusta pounding his pushed fades out 240 yards? He would not be able to score. You need to hit out at least 270 or so to be within range to then capitalize on your short game or your garbage game I think.

    The truly great champions never averaged off the tee farther than 265 or 270. Its what made them great. Every club in their bag became that much more important. Lets be honest, how many tennis champions today could even contend with Borg or McEnroe with a small wooden racket? Once they juiced the ball, they changed the sport for the worse and eliminated the necessity for all around skill and they lowered the barrier for entry by a mile.

    Look at the MLB. Clearly they juiced the ball this year. A record number of homers by far and suddenly. Pop Ups are going yard. Its absurd. They did it to put butts in seats and compete. The Public is ignorant about it but its fairly obvious. Its too bad because now you just can’t compare eras at all and it disrepects all those who came before and made the game great.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I’ve been hearing about the juiced ball and that it’s been giving a lot of pitchers blisters on their throwing hand fingers… I didn’t watch baseball this season for other reasons, namely because of my team’s ownership’s priorities (making money over fielding the best team they could) and their personnel moves.

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