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Six golf myths, debunked

From throwing grass to teeing it high and letting it fly, the scientific truth
October 03, 2023

Golf has always been up for a bit of folklore and storytelling. Whether it’s a leathery teaching pro passing on swing wisdom to an eager apprentice, a playing legend recounting exploits from decades gone by, or an architect creating a golf hole from divine inspiration, all of it adds to the game’s mystical appeal. It’s a common thread that goes back to the shepherds who first banged rocks across a damp Scottish moor.

Of course, facts have usually never gotten in the way of a good story. Some of the most widespread “truths” in this game have turned out to be much more myth than reality—sticking around for decades thanks to the credentials, charisma and persuasiveness of the storytellers. Thanks to a more widespread grasp of physics—and less reliance on anecdotes and secondhand accounts—we can now gently dispel some of the more durable beliefs and habits that have embedded themselves in the game’s lexicon.

We explore six of the most pervasive fables and have experts explain why they might sound right but are far from it. Apologies if you’ve lived by these notions for most of your golfing life, but it’s time to realize that the world is round, lightning can strike in the same place twice and a groundhog can’t predict the seasons.

Keep your lucky ball marker if it makes you feel better, but don’t be surprised if you get some funny looks the next time you trot out one of these outdated chestnuts.

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