The fine line between "room for improvement" and "screwing up what you've got".

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The fine line between "room for improvement" and "screwing up what you've got".
I was watching Dennis Pugh last night - during a dry bit of the USPGA golf coverage (when they switch channels and the rest of the world have to fill 1/2hr with banal content) - and he was appraising Lydia Ko's swing.

At 17yrs old Lydia Ko has become the youngest world number #1 golfer of all time (thus far). The review of the swing - as always with Dennis - was informative, extolling what was good about her technique but then with the dreaded "...and there's room for improvement..." and then identified a lower body trait which can be "...improved upon in time."

She is 17 and not fully developed yet FFS! Who is to say that that will not occur naturally as she naturally gets stronger with age? I hope that whoever her team are leave her the f**k alone, she's gotten to #1 with what she has now. Let's see how that develops itself.

As all the pundits are keen to point out (ad-nauseum) that Rory's technique is pretty much what it was as a teenager (with his long time pro keeping tabs on his tendency to lose a tad too much height in his downswing), he's simply bulked up with age and gym work.

There are plenty of tales - past and present - where champions good enough to be major winners and/or world #1's have gone looking for something that wasn't there and have ruined their games in the process.

Ian Baker Finch wins The Open then goes to try and find a game befitting of a major champion - bye bye Finchy.

Martin Kaymer wins the USPGA, goes looking for a draw purely for Masters' Sunday, leaves the planet for a couple of years, goes back to "what was working well enough to bullseye his first major" and Bang! Wins the 2014 Players Championship (the unofficial May major) and backs that up immediately afterwards with a field bruising win in the 2014 US Open.

Tiger, well his game of 2000-2001 was exemplary and probably would have stood up even under today's scrutiny and against today's young guns. Since the split with Butch he's still been unbelievably successful but - could he have been even more so had he not visited the "lost and found" department for 10+ years (lost his game one day, found it the next - boy do I know *that* feeling).

After becoming world #1 through infallible consistency, you can add Luke Donald to the "lost and found" club also.

I'm not talking the likes of your Faldo's here, who completey revamped their games in order for them to *become* dependible under the severest pressure, I'm talking about the guys and gals who are already there, at the top.

As a handicap golfer (as with any GM member on here no doubt) there is a vast expanse of improvement to be made and I am the first to praise anyone who seeks professional assistance in order to improve their game, but in the top echelons, where is that fine line between "room for improvement" and "screwing up what you've got"?

How can they tell? Should they be able to?

Edited to add back in the line breaks that the "Post Thread" edit box helpfully removes (P.S. GM Tech Bods - if you cut and paste the text typed into that box into notepad you will see that the line breaks are blissfully ignored there too - I suggest you use the same control that we find under the "Edit"/"Reply" buttons which respects line breaks - cheers)!

CC you make a very good point. Padraig Harrington was another one. Golf is not perfect and I cannot understand why they keep messing with a successful formula. If it aint broke don't fix it 

Look girl you may be world number 1 and I know you are 17, but FFS show some ambition and work on your swing

I think part of it is to conform to the mantra that they have to "outwork" everyone else so they have to be seen to be at the range with their coach, working with trick cyclists, pumping iron etc Like going to the range to warm down when they've just shot 65 what a load of bollocks that is; just get to the bar and relax. 

Well a "warm down" is probably a wise thing to do as a top athlete (actually does help recovery more than just stopping immediately after an event).

Alas I am pretty far from being an athlete so "a few cold beers to warm me up" it is!

Yes Padraig Harrington another example: 3 majors in quick succession - yes, now let's go and fix that! :-O

The thing with Harrington was that his technique was never the best but his grit and determination was. Each time he went to fix his (not broken) swing (and failed) that also dented his key asset of grit and determination.

I loved that stare shared between Harrington and Garcia at Carnoustie in 2007 which basically said: "You haven't got your mits on the claret jug yet sonny!" (even though it did have a detrimental effect on the 2008 Ryder Cup squad - the much talked about Sergio and Padraig camps).

He was also one of the best putters on tour. He's now gone through more putters than Direct Golf and more styles than Coco Channel.

Yes, another one confined to the "lost and found" department. What a shame.

Chris Curry wrote (see)

Well a "warm down" is probably a wise thing to do as a top athlete (actually does help recovery more than just stopping immediately after an event).

How exactly does a golf pro "warm down" on the range, after their round? 15 minutes between shots, as opposed to the usual 10?  I'm with ProV on this one - load of bollox.

I have never met or spoken to a Tour Pro golfer.. but... i did read "Bring me the Head of Sergio Garcia" where the author describes meeting Lee Westwood, a contemporary of his as a schoolboy county level golfer. Westwood of course doesn't remember him, but the author goes on to say that Westwood is quite boring, a trait he finds with most top golfers. He ascribes it to the fact that golf is a very solitary game and it demands extreme focus to reach and stay at the top. they do say that all golfers are only 3 bad shots away from a complete collapse in confidence (shank one and you think it's a mistake, shank the next one and you think "what the f is going on?"  - do it again and that's you gone for at least a season), so i guess if you are a pro and have done well but have a nagging doubt in your mind about some perceived weakness -  when your whole sense of self worth and security is based on your prowess as a golfer - i guess then you can begin to understand why some of these guys do start tinkering.   

I think the warm down would be a good psychological process to go through, go work on your last 3 poor shots and hit 10 good ones, then go in.   82,72,62 your mindset should then be, I am ready to score 3 less tomorrow    

I guess this warm down stems from athletics where they run slowly and exercise the muscles . I'm with CC. A pint in the summer and a good old pot of tea in the winter. That is a good warm down

The OP makes a very important point indeed. And subsequent posters provide, alas, all too many examples of proven winners who went looking for a non-existent "pot of Gold" swing that was even better than the one they were blessed with. Sometimes swings need modification due to injury or age, 'tis true (Tiger?) ...but I don't recall Jack or Arnie nor Trevino or Player actively seeking out some NON- playing guru to "improve" their swings. These guys wisely made their own minor tweaks but essentially stuck with the basic swing that put them all in the Hall of Fame. And finally, Harrington is one of my favorites on the Tour and it was terrible to watch him virtually disappear from contention lo, these many years.....so good to see him win again recently!! 

It seems like a really strange thought process for the Pro to get into though as they would have come all the way through their junior career up to the pinnacle of success then think that they needed to make large changes to what they were doing!?! Insane. Luke Donald was the one for me that was most depressing as from what I understand it was the quest to add extra distance to his game then bolloxed up everything else. Why didn't he just ditch Mizuno for Taylor Made and get an extra 20yards!! 

Yes.....Donald is yet another who traded in his world class game in order to become something of an "also-ran"......damn shame indeed .... methinks Donald's game is somewhat akin to that of Zach Johnson; neither is a big bomber but both rely on exceptional short games and intelligently manage their way around a course ..... as a "senior" golfer I consider my own game along similar lines ....but , alas, obviously at an infinitely lower standard of play    LOL

I read about Matteo Manasero's quest for yardage.

When he first started he became the youngest winner on the European Tour and then went on to win the European Tour's flagship event, The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth (which is hardly a pitch and putt).

During that time he also featured prominently in a number of majors particularly The Open.

He was well in the top 10 for combined driving (distance AND accuracy) even though he was one of the shorter hitters on tour (finding 12 out of 14 fairways on average will do that).

He went looking for extra distance and has spent nearly 2yrs in the wilderness. Well he has achieved his goal, adding a mammoth 2 whole yards to his average driving distance at the small cost of plummeting to 127th in the combined driving stats.

Well that's a fair trade isn't it...