Linking Today’s Golf Forums to the Game’s Ugly Deterioration: Part One

The following information reveals the crucial need for this particular augmentation of Waggle Weight Wisdom™.

There are postings made on various golf forums by individuals who oftentimes provide some reliable answers, individuals that appear to truly care and really want to help those having inquiries.  I could certainly support some of these individuals regarding certain topics.  On the whole, however, golf forums as they exist today are among the very worst places for getting accurate information about subjects like golf swing and clubfitting fundamentals.  This is particularly true for those seriously trying to learn or improve at the game (as opposed to more casual players), and in large measure the future of golf rests in the hands of what such people are taught about the game.  In view of this, the future of golf is currently in an awful lot of trouble.  There are a number of reasons that contribute to a rather poor reputation regarding forums, and I might further address these reasons in a separate Waggle Weight Wisdom™ article(s) at some future point.

But I will point out a couple of important ones right here and now.  The first is that essentially anyone can register and post on such forums as a self-proclaimed expert (and many do indeed).  I mean some individuals with published books that have already gained followings in the past as experts of certain golf subjects even provide some very wrong and poor answers and advice, let alone novices having less experience that sometimes think they know it all.  And with golfers as a general whole being about the most gullible group there is regarding swing and equipment performance attributes of their very own game, one comment from an inexperienced and unqualified clubfitter for example (even if commonly asserting that of being a professional or certified clubfitter) can quickly have uncounted more gullible golfers believing and spreading the same untrue nonsense regarding clubfitting.

But there are less obvious reasons that contribute to the problem as well.  Consider that I am personally one that would like to provide certain answers for free on such golf forums to help less experienced golfers based my knowledge and experience.  However, and even though I may have already thoroughly addressed a specific subject in previously published material, there is really no way of telling, right when formulating an answer to any given forum inquiry, whether I might come up with a brand new and more effective way of explaining the same thing, or come up with a new term or idea that could possibly lead to extremely valuable intellectual property protection and that judiciously should not be immediately disclosed publicly under such circumstances.  Some of my most original unique terms and perhaps insightful composition first came into being right at the moment of composing a particular post, paragraph, or even sentence.

Keeping this firmly in mind, I quote here selected parts from sections frequently referred to as Terms, Rules, or something similar as presented by a couple of the more prominent Internet golf forums over approximately the last decade.  As there is typically an ongoing evolution taking place, the following can be considered representative protocols that are commonly found among such forums as of the date this particular article is published.  First I reference a golf forum site that (as basically stated in other terms or rules of the site) does not want its members (of which I am technically still one at the time of this writing) using its trade name in a manner such as this.  While complying with that as currently written, it is nevertheless not difficult to determine the name and location of this specific golf forum, as in part the letters “WRX” are contained within its website address.

For additional reference, this particular site (which includes its forums) claims to be “The largest golf community on the web” at the present time and also has its very own line of branded merchandise including apparel and headcovers.  Since not using the trade name of the entity here as per the entity’s own terms or rules, I will not be able to attribute or cite the following direct quote as well as should be done.  But what I can do instead is to substitute my own developed and unique trade name to memorably associate with this specific site (especially relevant toward the quality and accuracy of the site’s golf swing and clubfitting educational or instructional content, although certain other information inflicted even beyond its forums is also very poor) based on the aforementioned letters that comprise part of the entity’s trade name.  To that end and when I subsequently mention the website, I will fittingly refer to it as the “Worrisome Reasonless Xenogolf” site (the prefix xeno- commonly defined as being strange or foreign), with the following direct quotation (apparently tailored toward the desires and enrichment of the entity’s ownership and/or management and broadly resulting in hurting the game of golf) being from the website’s terms or rules section:

License of Postings and Content to Us- You agree that, by submitting Postings and Content to the Community Services, you are granting to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable and fully assignable and sublicensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, edit, reformat, create derivative works from, distribute, display and provide to third parties those Postings and that Content throughout the world for any purpose and in any media.”

And, while my latest check on FreeGolfInfo.com has revealed a format change apparently so recent that no new site regulations are even posted at the present time, until quite recently the following had appeared on the website for many, many years (with past original postings of mine still archived there due to my past stupidity):

“By sending or transmitting User Content to Active, or by posting such User Content to any area of the Site, YOU GRANT US AND OUR DESIGNEES A PERPETUAL, WORLDWIDE, NON-EXCLUSIVE, UNLIMITED, TRANSFERABLE, FULLY SUBLICENSEABLE (THROUGH MULTIPLE TIERS), ASSIGNABLE, ROYALTY-FREE, FULLY PAID UP, IRREVOCABLE RIGHT AND LICENSE TO USE, REPRODUCE, DISTRIBUTE (THROUGH MULTIPLE TIERS), MODIFY, ADAPT, COMBINE WITH OTHER WORKS, CREATE DERIVATIVE WORKS OF, PUBLICLY PERFORM, DISPLAY, STORE, DIGITALLY PERFORM, PUBLISH (ON THE SITE, ON ANY OTHER WEBSITE(S), IN PRINT, RADIO, TELEVISION OR ELSEWHERE), MAKE, HAVE MADE, SELL, OFFER FOR SALE, IMPORT AND COMMERCIALIZE USER CONTENT, OR ANY PORTION THEREOF, IN ANY MANNER AND CONTEXT (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO USAGE IN COMMERCIAL, ADVERTISING OR PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS), NOW KNOWN OR IN THE FUTURE DISCOVERED, IN ACTIVE’S SOLE DISCRETION, IN ANY WAY, IN ANY AND ALL MEDIA NOW KNOWN OR HEREINAFTER DISCOVERED, WITHOUT LIMITATION AND WITHOUT ANY COMPENSATION OR ACKNOWLEDGMENT TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY.”

With these and other forum sites specifying terms or rules like these, and with such sites sometimes owned by larger entities, this means I could potentially have original forum reply work done by me widely published by a major golf magazine or some other well-known entity with no compensation and/or credit whatsoever given to me for any original material developed (unlike many of the paid contributors of such entities that frequently publish inaccurate hogwash that takes the golf industry backward rather than forward).

In light of this, no self-respecting individual that inspects such terms and places any value whatsoever upon his or her original work would ever fundamentally contribute to such forums, even if genuinely wanting to help when seeing some inquiries.  Self-serving terms like these that try to exploit the knowledge and work of others to potentially create profit and notoriety for those unskilled in the applicable field(s) plausibly attracts and promotes poor quality posters, postings, and material that commonly lacks originality and/or technical correctness.  The end result is that in attempting to take advantage of others in such a manner(s), site creators have justly produced forums of shoddy qualities that understandably also negatively affect the golf industry and its reputation on the whole.  Though I cannot say whether the quoted terms or rules were specifically the reason, I have through the years observed many very skilled and intelligent individuals (knowing sound golf swing and clubfitting principles and techniques as examples) begin to post on such forums (as I did before I learned better).  But they soon ceased doing so, leaving the posting to people commonly unqualified that take the golf industry distinctly backward due to frequently ludicrous and embarrassing content and feasibly choosing not to be associated with such posters, content, and/or sites.

To make matters even worse, such terms or rules might breed forum sites that are also frequently badly managed by unqualified individuals to say the least, as I have personally experienced on multiple occasions.  To reveal a few examples, in previously inquiring to the Worrisome Reasonless Xenogolf forum website regarding specific terms for possibly becoming one of their so-called featured writers, whoever responded to me could neither satisfactorily explain all of the terms nor even address me by name correctly, using someone else’s instead.  And more recently I inquired to the same site regarding possible exceptions or adjustments to their terms for writers under certain circumstances (with the hope that I would not have to commence this section).  But I was crudely responded to with an e-mail merely signed by “The Management” to hide behind, consistent with the type of individual and/or operation that also chooses to develop and publish that entity’s noted terms or rules.  With the noted terms or rules also stating uncounted times to be courteous and respectful, apparently The Management does not expect the same kind of behavior from itself as it does from the site’s registered members.  And so here we are.

A similar worthless result came about through a communication with the management of FreeGolfInfo.com (though at least with an actual individual) regarding signatures after postings for more conveniently displaying the original source of a provided response.  And that communication prompted me to dismiss further contributing to that particular forum site years earlier.  So unless and until some noteworthy changes are implemented in the terms and/or managements of such sites as examples, it seems unlikely that I would further directly contribute anything worthwhile (even if not comprising any original material) unless being paid appropriately to do so.  (Based on recent changes to its forum site, FreeGolfInfo.com might have already paid quite a heavy price for its past practices, possibly due at least in part to that described herein).

And before further indicating how utterly foolish sponsors or advertisers appear and how they are potentially hurting their own causes by advertising on such forum sites, I first note the following in preparation for what is discussed right afterward.  Forum members and posters can generally utilize fictitious names for themselves without their real names ever being publicly revealed.  This format can be a real blessing for members and posters that have no idea what they are talking about, giving them something to hide behind after unknowledgeable and embarrassing answers and comments they frequently make.  But unfortunately it is also a format that allows and can even encourage behavior that is more irresponsible, repulsive, and disrespectful to name a few undesirable traits on the part of some posters.  This is yet another reason that can influence good people to not post on such forums.  (I am not referring here to inexperienced beginners who might be fearful or lacking in confidence to ask something [they need not be], but more to far too many [though not all by any means] ignorant posters that might post literally thousands of times and continually subject others to their drivel over and over again).

I find it truly amazing, at least under the typical terms and/or formats currently invoked by golf forums, how any company or organization can actually spend money to advertise on such sites that contain and regularly display and promote some of the worst and most inaccurate golf swing and clubfitting information imaginable.  This reflects quite poorly on entities that advertise on golf forums, as it decisively and consistently links them with conspicuously bad postings that seem to promote destroying the game rather than saving and growing it.  Though Mr. Gullible Golfer might feel differently, I for one am generally more prone to discourage support of entities that advertise on such sites instead of encourage support.  Though every individual site can be different, some Internet golf forums take remarkably long to load largely because of the number of advertisements on them, just to be able to access some of the worst golf swing and clubfitting information ever conceived.  This is truly a case of reality being stranger than fiction.

Now I personally feel that my golf swing and/or clubfitting knowledge still has so much room for further improvement that I cannot even fathom it.  But even at my present level of knowledge it is very easy to deduce with plain common sense how embarrassingly bad so much of the information is on golf forums today and what a toll it is taking on the golf industry as a whole.  If I really had to place an advertisement for the WaggleWeight® Company on any of these sites as they currently operate, I could only hope that I would be allowed to use a fictitious company name like individual posters can in order to avoid the stigma of being associated with the inferior and erroneous golf swing and clubfitting content commonly contained on golf forums.  Longer-term negative effects would likely be far worse than any shorter-term increase in customers that might be obtained through any such advertising or sponsoring.

The names and formats of golf forums have come and gone over time and will probably continue to do so.  The Worrisome Reasonless Xenogolf entity just happens to be one existing today that representatively reveals and even contributes to the poor state of golf overall today and where the game might be headed (toward extinction) unless and until appropriate changes are skillfully made rather soon I would think.  This dismal situation can be partly attributed to the terms or rules listed by such entities, where the ownership and/or management seemingly believe that there is really nothing worthwhile new to discover within the game of golf, but that if there is they should effectively own any material originally developed by others.  And this in turn contributes to a prominence of conspicuously poor postings/writings and posters/writers, especially concerning the most critical areas of the game of golf swing and golf club fitting theory and practice (though certainly not limited to just these subjects).

As briefly alluded to earlier, I next address this site’s “Featured Writers Program,” which generally solicits for writers of stand-alone articles rather than the answering of specific inquiries made by others.  Similarly to some individual posters, there are some featured writers that on an individual basis have submitted quality material and that I could easily support.  Regardless of this, however, and largely for the reasons noted, I would strongly advise anyone seriously considering contributing to that program to forego the alleged opportunity, and for anyone that has contributed in the past to rethink their positions very carefully.  I find the invitation to volunteer for the program to be rather pompous, with unfounded implications that the management and/or editor(s) correctly comprehend the technical aspects of a golf swing and golf equipment fitting (as opposed to reporter-type writing) and are thus qualified to select so-called experts in such fields.  The result has been the selection or allowance of very many featured writers that technically have no idea what they are talking about and whose work you might well be associated with over time if deciding to submit your own work.

And the same people that have selected these featured writers apparently also have the right to edit and reuse your submitted work forever as it is their very own in accordance with the site’s terms or rules, and in accordance with their very own belief(s) and/or agenda(s) whatever they may be, with no compensation to you whatsoever.  That is a very heavy price to pay that may be sincerely regretted by anyone having something genuinely worth offering and protecting, especially in the area of advancing technical instruction rather than news reporting or editorializing for instance.  But in the end it would be up to each individual.  Personally I now consider myself fortunate regarding the behavior of The Management of the Worrisome Reasonless Xenogolf entity, behavior that markedly influenced me to not pursue being a featured writer any further than initially evaluating known pros and cons of participating.

There are a substantial number of people that really have no business being in the golf industry, and the game of golf may never appreciably recover and grow (if it ever does again) until these people are no longer involved with the industry.  And even then, any recovery and growth might be slow due to some of the very severe damage some of these people inflicted upon the game and the very large mess they created.

Still, there is no doubt that there are some good people that want to help, think they are helping, and are not being intentionally underhanded in trying to run and/or contribute to any given golf forum as examples.  But they simply do not have the proper core of technical knowledge and/or experience in certain areas of golf to do so in a manner that can help the game of golf rather than hurt it.  Based on much of the critical instructional material contained on such sites, it is pretty evident that these sites are commonly owned and/or operated by Messrs. Gullible Golfer in their own rights.  This situation has vastly contributed to many people now truly believing that MOI (Moment of Inertia) golf club matching is an advanced form of swingweight club matching (whereas the truth is technically they are essentially total opposites of each other), or truly believing that golf grip size should be chosen based upon one’s comfort in order to achieve one’s best golfing performance.  These are merely two of many absurd concepts commonly believed by Messrs. Gullible Golfer, and there are actually more gullible golfers around today than there used to be thanks at least in part to supposed experts on Internet forums.

Such forums, within their written terms or rules and to help protect themselves legally, might include a statement(s) similar to anything contained within the site does not necessarily reflect the views of the owners and/or managements of the forums and/or that the owners and/or managers are not legally liable for any material displayed on the sites.  While this might help in a legal situation, it does not alter the fact that these forums as a generalized group and as they currently operate have notably hurt the game of golf and conspicuously contributed to its diminishing popularity and reputation in recent times.  In the most important areas of playing the game and the related instructional and technical core of knowledge that fundamentally attracts people to or drives them away from golf, the overall body of work perpetrated and spread by these forums and many of their so-called experts is tantamount to the common expression of the blind leading the blind.

To illustrate, it is these very golf forums and their contributing posters and featured writers that have substantially initiated and then spread on a larger scale the technical irrationality that MOI (better termed Moment of Insanity as a golf club matching concept) is an advancement of swingweight.  This statement (along with many others perpetrated regarding other topics on golf forums) is so technically erroneous it is comparable to an auto mechanic babbling that a car should drive backward when put into a forward gear.  More and more people continue to abandon the game, a mass exodus appearing to start about the time the humiliating MOI golf club matching concept was reintroduced (yet again) and with many of those remaining exhibiting undesirable attributes not really conducive to a healthy future for the game.  (The exodus has not been solely due to this particular lunacy regularly found on golf forums).  And there appears to be zero capacity by the owners and/or managements to responsibly guide the operation and content of their forums in a manner(s) that can help the game of golf instead of destroy it.

Such is the current shape of golf forums backed by their alleged experts that commonly propagate nonsense like the example above.  As a result, the game is turning into a real farce as unknowledgeable and inexperienced Messrs. Gullible Golfer believe such absurdity upon being repeatedly subjected to it, while uncounted knowledgeable and experienced people are abandoning golf, maybe partly due to disgust (and rightly so) over what the game seems to be turning into.  As a generalized whole, the current state of golf forums exemplifies the poor direction(s) the game is headed in, and this not exactly the kind of revolution or overhaul golf needs right now in order for the game to recover and grow.  Part Two will contain new crucial details.

Posted in Waggle Weight Wisdom™ Forum Responses