Geoff Ogilvy on finding and embracing golf’s balance

Geoff Ogilvy ponders that perhaps golf doesn’t have enough balance right now. Too much yin and not enough yang.

Geoff Ogilvy has written a great piece for the most recent issue of Golf Australia magazine – ‘We Need to Embrace Golf’s Balance‘ – that brushes aside the distance/technology debate and offers up a different take.

Ogilvy argues that debaters from both sides of the distance/technology debate are missing the idea that golf is most satisfying when you have a balance between the ease at which you can hit a good drive, and the fear of mis-hitting one. The balance between getting a good lie in the rough and not.

“I was thinking back to a time when I played courses where the lies were less than great most of the time. But every so often, I would get the perfect lie for the shot I wanted to play. I’d be walking to my ball all pissed off at what I was about to be faced with. Then, when I got there, I couldn’t wait to hit the shot. That’s the best feeling in golf. A good lie is only a good lie if you don’t always get a good lie. Otherwise, it’s just a lie.

In turn, when I play courses on Tour – where the lies are almost universally perfect – that random aspect of the game is largely lost. Bad bounces are the same. I know some Americans on the PGA Tour who profess to “hate” links golf because of the bounces. But they are missing the point. Getting five bad bounces in a row is what makes the good bounce so good. If every bounce was good or bad, they wouldn’t be good bounces or bad bounces. They would just be bounces.”

And this bit particularly resonated with me. There’s nothing worse than spraying a drive knowing there is absolutely no hope you’re going to get a chance of a decent recovery shot.

“The offensive thing about the deep, manicured rough we see so often on American-style courses is that the two or three minutes of hope as you walk to your ball is lost. If you know for sure that the lie is going to be bad, there is no point in hoping that it might be okay. If you know with absolute certainty you are “dead,” you are miserable. And there is no fun to be had in that.

What can be fun is hitting your ball into rough on a proper links. Four out of five times you are going to be hacking out. But you never quite know for sure. It might just be alright and playable. And that thought is one of the great joys of golf.”

As an aside, Ogilvy is moving back to Australia.

John Huggan wrote an article for Golf Digest outlining Ogilvy’s plans for next year which will see him based out of Melbourne and playing the PGA Tour on a limited schedule.

Go and read Geoff Ogilvy’s full article at Golf Australia Magazine now.

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