The Rise of the Internet Golfer

And this was my drive on the par five…….

“Anyway, I’m thinking of getting my x100 hard stepped again because I just can’t seem to keep the ball flight down and I am hitting my pitching wedge about 200 at the minute….”

If you spend any amount of time hanging around the internet golfing world , you have certainly read something along these lines. The number of posters who hit their drives 300 yards down the centre every time and post a plus handicap seems to be about half the posters on some forums!

Now this is somewhat inevitable on the net. We all tend to exaggerate a bit. You know, if it hadn’t been for that unlucky bounce and that putt that just lipped out, I would have carded a 72 instead of the 87 I actually scored. In fact, there is often a bit of truth in there. We all have a shot or two a round that really is as good as the pros (the other 80 or so are another story).

How many people take this to the course?

The unfortunate part of this is that you don’t know who you are talking to anymore. If that guy who hits it 350 says this is a good idea, surely he knows more than the “honest” 12 capper (who might actually know a thing or two about the game?)

Actually, it gets worse than this. After a bit, the internet golfer version of the world becomes the truth and you tend to disregard anything which doesn’t fit with this. An example? Sure. Let’s take shaft flex. Now virtually nobody on the interwebz plays anything less than a hard-stepped stiff flex, do they? I mean , even if you just play a standard S300 stiff you are on the weaker end of the spectrum.

Any yet when we go to try out clubs how many of us really fit better in a regular? Probably quite a few. And here’s the sad bit. Many of us will disregard the evidence of our own eyes (and the guy fitting us ) and refuse to believe that we could “just” be a regular.

If he has this in his trophy cupboard you can listen to him

But the area that most gets me without the internet golfer is that of club reviews. If I see another club review that starts with ‘and I hit a smooth 6 iron 205 yards…’ Yes, people do this. But most of them are on the PGA tour. For the record, the closest I could find for a PGA “average” with a 6 iron was 190 yards which is a pretty big 6 iron. Obviously a lot is going to depend on what shot the pros are trying to hit and they could, I’m sure, squeeze a few more yards out of club with ease, but if Luke Donald is hitting his 6 iron 180 yards, just how many internet hacks are really hitting it 25 yards past him?

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love reading about people’s experiences with different clubs before I buy them, but I prefer to hear what the average Joe has to say about stuff. Mr internet golfer might be able to pure those blades every time, but what about a mid handicapper golfer? Hearing how he did over a month or two with the same clubs is a whole lot more interesting to me.

So should you just disregard everything that you read on golf forums? No, there are some great site and some great people out there. However when the guy whose posts you are reading regularly outhits the best players in the world, just how relevant is what he saying to your game whether he is giving you the whole truth or not?

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