Brilliant Golf Swing
For a brilliant golf swing, we have not just to bring the clubhead down with the same line time after time. We must bring it down so that the clubface is square with the ball at the instant of impact.
And because the path of the clubhead is a curve, this means that impact must be timed correctly to an infinitesimal fraction of a second in the sweep of the swing. Also, the clubhead must be accelerating at the moment of impact.
So we have not only to set up the mechanism to make a good swing, which we can all soon do if we only swing at the daisies. However, we have to time this swing to the fraction of a second.
Now I think that most of us overrate the value of good mechanics in golf and underrate the value of accurate timing. I was once watching, with a pupil of mine who had a most perfect swing, a fellow whose action was not pretty—to put it kindly.
But he kept hitting nice long shots down the middle.”Not much to look at,” I said to my trainee. “I would certainly not care a damn what I looked like if I can repeat like that man!” he responded.
The awkward one could duplicate his ideal shots time and again. His mechanics were ungainly but his timing was near ideal.
Well, you may say, if that is so, why should you most likely to a lot of problems to offer us a great mechanical swing?
The answer is that good timing plus a good swing is better than good timing plus an awkward swing.
The best swing, mechanically, is the one that pulls the ball a little and then makes it turn a bit to the left at the end of its flight.
If you do want to alter, it may not be an extensive one. I remember one day at St. Cloud a someone came and begged me to give him even fifteen minutes—which I did out of my lunchtime as he seemed so insistent.
His trouble was that now and then his iron shots to the green would finish in the bunker to the left of the green. For three years he had failed to find a permanent cure.
So on the advice of a friend, he came to me. It did not take me long to see what was wrong and to clarify to him that occasionally his foot-and-leg job was sluggish. And also in effect, the clubhead came in too soon to put his ball a little to the left.
After that brief lesson, I never saw him again, as he got on his way back to the States from Paris.
But he left me a note of thanks and a handsome present, and when I inquired of the caddy who had been out with him in the afternoon learned he had broken 70.
Sometime later I saw his photograph in the American Golfer with the news that he had won the West Coast championship.
Too much thought about the mechanics is a bad thing for anyone’s game. Now the reason why golf is so difficult is that you have to learn it and play it through your senses.
You must be mindful but not as thoughtful as you swing. You should not show or think; you must feel what you have to do. Part of the difficulty arises because, apart from simple things like riding a bicycle, we have never learned to do things in this way.
What we try to do is to make the clubhead come down in the same path time and time again—in such a way that the face of the club comes straight into the back of the ball every time.
We have one fixed point (the feet) and one moving point (the clubhead) which we desire to move along the same line time after time. The golf swing may be compared to the drawing of arcs with a set of compasses.
The reasons why we cannot be so precise in our stroking as the compass can, are that we are supported on two legs instead of one and we are full of flections and joints!
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