Copying Is Not Cheating

I have enjoyed what feels like a mini sabbatical from blogging and, like most things when you stop doing something frequently you begin to run dry of ideas, thoughts, feelings, whatever they may be. The key is to keep going then, stopping only for a breath, which is a good lesson I’ve been reminded of from blogging which i’m sure will only help my golf career, and so, voila; valuable nuances can be discovered from so many entities in life, to focus on only one of them would be a sin.

Let me expand on that unpoetic quote, we all have our own careers, identities and desires, and I think (as I used to be) many of us are probably afraid to dip our toes elsewhere. This is something I have come around to and not what I’ve always thought, I think we should explore other peoples lives, mistakes and successes to find worthy lessons, not just restrict ourselves to insular encapsulation and thereby solely focusing and learning from our own experiences. If you’re third to the table, you should come better than one and two did.

It’s easy to say that without meaning or depth, but that’s what I’ve learnt to believe, I am currently adopting that approach. Two people who I grew up with, Tom Lewis and Tommy Fleetwood both reached the European Tour before me. They have both had some success but more importantly they’ve also had periods of struggle. I believe(d), being behind them and coming up later that I would be a fool not to first observe what they were doing and then ask them what they have learnt. After that I made my own mind up and found a way I can translate what they said to me and ensure I don’t make the same mistakes they did. That does sound slightly forbidden but that’s the way it has to be.

If the paragraph above is about learning from others mistakes to fast-track your own success, the next paragraph is the opposite…

Is it a coincidence Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel all have sublime rhythm? It can’t be, they were born from different mothers, and, although there are many other fantastic golfers from South Africa, they don’t all swing with such consummate ease! This surely has to be a case of legal copyright, and I would put money on them copying one another before finding their own ‘happy-rhythm-place’. Again this isn’t illegal or immoral, it’s simply human nature, and to guard against observing and copying the best would be completely foolish. It usually takes a revolutionary to break the copy routine, Tiger Woods done it 15 years or so ago, and since, how many of us copied him at some level? What would Adam Scott’s swing look like? Would the fist-pump exist? I guess what makes Tiger so special is it would appear on the surface that he didn’t copy anyone. Master of the game as Allis would likely say.

It goes without saying some things definitely shouldn’t be copied, like Donald Trump’s haircut or John Daly’s trousers or Eddie Pepperell’s dress sense. (according to some maverick on Twitter) But to conclude, my advice to young golfers and alike is do not be afraid of expanding your own horizons even if you fear losing form, what you will gain ultimately is far greater. And imitation is one of our most amazing abilities, use it and then polish it.

From That Wise Old Owl,


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