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Miley Cyrus
By Anne Marie Goslak

Although I teach golfers of all ages, a large part of my client base consists of teenage boys. You can only imagine the distraction the week that Miley Cyrus “performed” at the Video Music Awards. If you missed it, Miley did some dance moves that one might consider inappropriate. The internet was abuzz. Everywhere you turned, people were weighing in on what they saw.

I ignored most of the chatter, as the boys shared their thoughts with each other, viewing the video one more time before class began. That night, we had a good class, but as I was wrapping up, I asked my usual question, “Is there anything I have not addressed today that you wish I would? Does anyone have any questions? ”

One of the boys said, “Yes, I have a question? what did you think of Miley's performance???” The group erupted with laughter as they waited for my answer.

It's not part of my job to comment on social media, nor push my morality on other people's kids, so I had to tread lightly. I thought for a moment and said, “When I was a kid, the best musicians came out on stage, sat on a stool and sang. They were SO talented that they did not need shocking dance moves or provocative lyrics. Great singers like Barbara Streisand or The Judds entertained the audience but they did it with their voice or by sharing a personal story.”

I went on to say, “I feel badly for Miley because, in my opinion, she is letting the world know that she does not have the talent to hold your attention. She has to go to the extreme in order to achieve her goal. I am not sure the risk was worth the possible negative outcome.”

I explained to the boys that there was a lesson they could apply to course management. Although it's exciting to go for a par five in two, such as Hole #15 at Oak Valley, the chances of eagling that hole are very small. In my opinion, when you insist upon taking a risky shot from a distance away, you are saying, “My wedge game is so bad from 90 yards and in that I can't possibly expect to hit it close enough to give myself a decent birdie chance. Hitting a safe shot off the tee, laying up to a short wedge shot and sticking it tight is just too hard for me. My only hope of getting a good score is to go to the extreme and hope to get lucky.”

My hope was that the boys saw that doing something for effect or for the pure thrill of it really is wasteful when you have the talent to go a more traditional route.

Last week, I saw a kid pull a driver out on a very short par 4. His buddies said, “Look, he's about to pull a ‘Miley’ ”. The kid thought for a moment and put it back in the bag. The hybrid, wedge combo yielded him an easy tap in birdie. I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but “Thanks, Miley!”

-Anne Marie Goslak