Einstein Influenced Golf
The Rational and Intuitive Game of Golf
A renowned physicist who had worked with Einstein is said to have finally introduced him to the game of golf, a pursuit which he immediately quit, claiming that is was “too complicated.” However, the famous physicist who gave us the Theory of General Relativity has a lot to say that is relevant to playing golf, even if he didn’t really intend it to be that way.
In his one golf lesson, Einstein was reportedly driven to distraction by a young pro who wanted to throw everything at once at his pupil, within a short span of time. Einstein responded by throwing four golf balls at the teacher, shouting “Catch!” Following that, he observed to the young man that he had caught one of the balls, but could not catch them all at once. The moral of the lesson – learn one thing at a time. Most professional teachers know this on one level or another.
It is easy to say, “Why are we doing this if the big IQ man couldn’t?” First, because IQs are specific. Einstein could produce the equation of Relativity, but could barely fry an egg. In the professions of others, he would have been toast, as we would in his house, so don’t bow down too far to the scientific intellect. It really is all relative.
The great scientist was not a half-bad philosopher, to his credit. Einstein himself supports the intuitive mind over the rational mind, with its all important IQ number, fashioned by individuals who may or may not have had a high one, or the kind of one you’ve got. He said that the “intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” In golf terms, such a statement serves to remind us that we are dealing with a game of “feel” as well as intellect. Ben Hogan, a sort of golf Einstein, took enormous pains to analyze the perfect swing, and eventually came up with one of the best. His take on the intuitive mind rested on contrarianism. Resist the urge of everything natural, he suggested, and you may approach perfection in your golf swing.
So then, the rational mind alone might produce a lengthy equation, taking into account all the tempi, swing tracks, velocity changes, stances, aiming, etc. that would be far too long to reconstruct here. The intuitive mind might go by the S (swing) = H (hope) P (pray) 2 (sweared), or it might cooperate with the intellect, but only to the point at which it feels comfortable doing so. P (par) = T(track) S (stance) V (velocity) F (follow-through) over T (tranquility) N (naturalness) –A (minus anxiety) + BSM (beautiful Saturday morning). Birdie might be a little more difficult TN-A over BSM + – E (minus Ego) and a perfect understanding of how a right breaking putt bends time and space as it nears the hole which, unfortunately, does NOT create gravity as the ball goes by – at least it doesn’t for me.
And then, naturally, there is the matter of the course itself. Einstein may not think God plays dice with the universe, but a course designer does, and plays for what you do the least well, and when you tend to do it. Einstein’s solution may be to approach the problems of the course by a different path than simply an antithesis to the designer and construction crew. In his words, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” The equation CM (course management – see Nicklaus, who claims to have won more than one tournament through such management, even though he was hitting the ball badly) = ART (aversion to risk-taking) – DLF (minus dog-leg-fever) = GANO (go around, not over) over J (joy) no FOD (fear of distance) And putting? P = EZ (stared) – There’s almost never as much break as you think there is. A pro would know it, but you always expect something worse. In the end, R (relax) = ITAG (it’s only a game).