Never before has it been easier to announce yourself and your golf game to the world. Seems the explosion of social media in recent times has enabled more and more players, be they aspiring pros or enthusiastic amateur, to share their game in such a variety of formats. In previous times, the web was the domain of the business owner, displaying their bespoke website and fancy links. Now, just about anyone with a tiny piece of virtual knowhow, can launch blog pages, fire up their Face book ‘friends’ or share Tweets with their chain of anonymous followers. At last, golfers of all standards can blog away merrily, safe in the knowledge that somebody, somewhere can ‘feel the connection’.
The golfing blog for me represents everything that’s good and bad about the world of social media. At its best, it’s a fantastic opportunity to share information, discuss new strategies to move your game on and connect with people who normally you’d have no chance of ever ‘meeting’. At its worst, it’s become a vehicle which is covertly destroying potential golf games. Even more alarming, is that the smiling assassin is the player themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, used with precision, the golfing blog is a fantastic resource which can propel your game forward quicker than ever before. The shared knowledge and insights you can collect makes for powerful reading and there are some unbelievably creative blogs doing the rounds. Half a dozen sit in my ‘favourites list’, from pros looking to climb the career ladder, to amateurs on a quest down to scratch. They are fantastic examples of how a blog can be a loyal friend and ally to your game.
Unfortunately, within my remit of mental coach, all too often I see the majority of blogs contain the Smiling Assassin, masquerading as everyday commentator and general golfing authority. Of course, the player writing the blog doesn’t see it in quite the same way as I do, but then isn’t that the way of the Smiling Assassin, delivering the fatal blow only after stalking its prey! No, the player sees it as just ‘telling it how it is, being honest or just a bit of friendly banter’.
Take a trip onto Facebook or Twitter and you don’t have to wait long for the Smiling Assassin to appear. Pre competition he likes to adopt the friendly banter approach, covertly running their own game down first before ‘spreading the love’ to ensure others get the full force too. This can range from telling everyone they are going to rip up the front nine in 28, to playing down their chances, likening their game to something a complete novice would be ashamed to own. But of course, it’s just friendly banter right?
And why wait until after the competition is over! No, the Smiling Assassin wouldn’t be playing fair if he didn’t exert a little more covert pressure at half time. He feels compelled to relive the appalling round he’s just played, just to ensure the state of mind ahead of round two is suitably kicked to the kerb.The Smiling Assassin does run the risk of being exposed at this point but he knows what he’s doing, after all, the player isn’t even aware the game is almost up.
The golfers blog for the majority, has become counter-productive. In fact it runs deeper than that, it’s now become as destructive to a player’s game as that niggling hook or poor pace control with the putter. The Smiling Assassin is gathering pace and has plenty of takers. Consider this. If you are a pro player seeking exposure and promoting yourself to a potential sponsor, ask yourself how it looks to someone looking in. Are you a good prospect if all you do is throw around criticism (under the guise of banter) and talk your game down whenever you have an ‘indifferent’ round? Would you invest in someone like that?
I use the word ‘indifferent’ because invariably the reality of the players effort is almost always, never as poor as the Smiling Assassin likes to paint out. But then his mission is to mislead you before striking.
Too many players have created blogs, fan pages, post tweets etc, but have lost sight of why they are doing it. If you’re aim is to never fulfill your potential and waste time writing about a version of your game that doesn’t exist, then carry on as you are. Invariably, the reality of our game is never as good, or as bad, as we’d like to think. Ask yourself what’s the real purpose of documenting your game?
Surely the aim of the golfing blog is to plot the progress of your game, report honestly on what’s really going on for you, seek resources to improve and embrace other player’s success along the way. Sure you will have ups and downs, report on both with a fair and balanced stroke of your ‘virtual pen’. The Smiling Assassin is closing in on the majority of golf game blogs, which are written by players who appear to have little awareness of how destructive the power of their words can be. It’s time for all players who construct thoughts on social media to realise that it forms part of your golf game preparation and analysis. Get it wrong and the golfing gods will forever view you in the clutches of the Smiling Assassin.