As a struggling hacker trying to improve your golf game, have you ever spent any time looking into some of those “swing systems” out there? You know the ones: “Guaranteed to lower your score a bazillion strokes in just a week without even having to practice!” The minute your address gets on their radar the e-mail hype starts streaming in. If you’re on Twitter and follow golf-related people like I do, the ads are everywhere. There’s the “Simple Golf Swing,” (not to be confused with the competing and artfully-misspelled “Symple Swing”), the “Natural Swing” (also known as “Single Plane,” as opposed to my usual “Thousand Plane”), “Stack & Tilt,” the “Four Magic Moves,” and so on.
To be honest, I’ve spent no small amount of time looking into many of these systems, no doubt underscoring my personal level of desperation. One of the first things I want to see is some frank, unbiased review from people who have tried them and can share real results.
Just try Googling for the usual search terms, and then explore the links that result. Market hype. Long, wordy pages filled with bold face and loudly colored exclamations and endless testimonials about how wonderful is the system in question—and, of course, affiliate links. You can always spot those, just hover on the link: is it “clean,” or does it really go to some sort of click-through service?
To avoid the hype-ridden circus you can try to get clever and tune your search looking for negative writings using terms like “worthless” or “hoax.” The SEO gurus have beaten you to the punch. “I once thought the So-and-So Swing System was a hoax, but then I tried it! Now I play on the Tour!”
You get the picture.
So, what can a body do to weed out the crap and find some real information? I’m not gifted with all the answers, but I do try a couple of things. One is to pretty much blow off at least the first several Google hits. You know those are going to be SEO-massaged marketing hype, so scoot on past and start looking at the search hit info to find forum or blog posts that sound promising rather than hyped. Another great asset was underscored during a recent “Twitter conversation” (you Twits know what I mean) with a golf blogger: seek out and collect sources you learn you can trust. There are several good golf blogs out there, for example (I link a few in my blogroll here, if you’re interested) where the author(s) include review information now and then.
Start with my search method above and find blogs, then spend some time reading the posts to get a feel for how “sincere” (in the Peanuts pumpkin patch sense) the blogger is (as opposed to a shill who’s just there to sell stuff). Bookmark the good blogs, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough for them to have reviewed what you’re interested in. If not, ask them about it. They might do a special review just for you, or maybe they’ll be able to point you somewhere good.
I’m not against all affiliate marketers, don’t get me wrong. Some of the reviews you’ll find through my above-endorsed method might very well turn out to be selling what they’re reviewing as an affiliate. Does that represent a conflict of interest? Strictly speaking, yes—but there’s a lot of grey in that area as I see it. You should quickly be able to tell marketing hype from well-thought-out review content. The really scrupulous author might even tell you up front they like the product so much they decided to start selling it, themselves. If they’re a source you’ve already investigated and found to be fairly honest then methinks you can forgive them the link. If their content is just a pile of hype and the affiliate link was the whole purpose for their being on line? We hates it, we does.
It’s a major pain in the ass to have to go through so much effort to research my sought-after golfing magic bullet. This annoys me to no end!