We, the golf social media consumer, see it almost daily on any well-curated feed. The dynamic/attractive/engaging influencer-host of your particular niche of golf is standing on the teeing area of a destination course – likely on their dime – and begins the video:
“Today, we’re standing on the “Watts Gunn” tees of the beautiful Par 3 7th at Rancho Relaxo’s Canyonero Course faced with 147 yards to a pin tucked just behind this cheeky bunker…”
From there the host hits their shot (be sure to note any significant changes to the tee box from the intro segment to the actual shot segment) and shares the result. We all scroll past, but somewhere in the back of your mind a seed has been planted and the whole purpose of social media is met.
This post isn’t about that, though. This post is about the other thing we begin to do as we collectively scroll around and past these descriptions. It’s about something we’ve done for decades with the ebbs and flows of golf media. It’s about the net effect of the expectations set by that opening phrase, wherever and whatever it may be, and the boxes we begin to construct for our own expectations and anticipations both at these destination places and your local haunt down the road.
147 yard Par 3
Some of us are already pulling the 9-iron and visualizing the shot dancing near the flagstick just over that “cheeky” bunker. We place this hole, this shot, in a box. Then we throw it in the trunk and take it to the course.
But how do these boxes begin to constrain us and our understanding of golf?
In many ways, we all have scripts we follow in our golfing mind. One shot from 150 yards is but one cue and there are perhaps three to four variations in our repertoire. But as the analytical side of the game begins to prove that “simple is best” in golf the “line” from 150, and any number of contexts, is mere exposition in the plot.
Let’s pull another box off the shelf:
“Good day mates! Today we’re standing on the driveable 280-yard Par 4 at….”
Yes. We’re all thinking birdie here. Open it up off the tee, chip (putt!) it close and kick it in.
Behind that box, though, collecting dust is…
“Today I’m standing on the brutal 280-yard Par 3 at…”
How does the visualization change between those two descriptions, the two boxes, on a hole that could very well be the exact same but for a minor edit on the score card. This post is purposefully without pictures. How many will visualize two completely different golf holes because of those descriptions? How many will feel opportunity on the first description but something bordering on criminal intent from the architect on the second description?
We begin to take our script to emotional expectations and ideas well beyond exposition. All because of this concept that someone, somewhere, has determined there is an expert way to do this.
What are these boxes doing to our perceptions of the golf course? Perhaps, more interestingly to the people behind the scenes, what are they doing to our reviews of the same? Why does it matter?
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