(Guest Column #3) Being a kid again

(From Bob)

I sent gwlee my ‘list’ of what my golf swing is for 2011 about a month ago and told him this is it. This is how I’m going to swing the golf club this year, I’m not changing anything. My list has always been about simplifying the process of swinging the club; setup, grip, how to take the club back, transition, impact, follow through, etc… I always thought that if I could just simplify & nail the process down, I wouldn’t have to think about it anymore and I could get on to ‘playing golf’ . Well, about 2 or 3 weeks ago I was at the range and hitting the ball pretty decent but I stepped back for a second as the sun came out and it felt really good so I just paused to enjoy it. Out of nowhere, I thought to myself what if I just discarded absolutely all swing thoughts, not just simplify the list but completely eliminate it and just hit the ball. What happened was nothing short of miraculous, I hit ball after ball like a tour pro. When I did hit a couple of little misses in a row, a little more draw than I wanted, I didn’t change my swing, I looked to my grip and noticed that I had let it get a little strong, then hit ball after ball just as pretty as you please. I got so cocky, I decided to start working the ball the other way, I weakened my grip a little more, opened my stance a little, and just like I knew what the hell I’m doing I hit the ball I saw in my head over and over again. I did this through the bag, I got to my driver and was hitting the ball just a little higher than I wanted, I took the club back just a little lower and started absolutely killing it.

I started looking at the golf swing like I did when I was learning to perfect a sport as a kid. I didn’t go through some complicated process. I learned to wheelie my bicycle in an afternoon, I could keep the bike on one wheel for a mile if I wanted to and it wasn’t complicated, push down on the pedal, pull up on the handlebars and keep my balance. Did anyone ever judge me because my spine angle was not exactly the way they’d like to see it or that my hands were gripping the handlebars a certain way when doing a wheelie. No, all that mattered was that I could do it. I’ve been such an idiot for making the golf swing way more complicated than it really is. I’ve been to the range a couple of times since that original session and things have been really good. Hit the ball good, have a couple of misses, make an intuitive small adjustment, hit the ball really good some more 🙂

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17 Comments

  1. Wally

    I have played tennis,golf, handball, hockey,downhill skiing on double black diamond mogul trails, boxing. Why is it that the gurus’have to complicate what would seem to be the most simplest of these sports, the golf swing.

    Reply
    • s.

      “downhill skiing on double black diamond mogul trails”

      And, a curse on skiing magazines…because they taught skiing the same way people teach golf…with positions.

      On moguls, you need a quicker & better concept.

      Reply
  2. gwlee7

    Bob is easily one of my best friends not just in golf, but in life as well.

    Interestingly enough, we have often had “opposite” approaches on just about everything and the golf swing is no diffrent. For the longest time, I have been a hit it and go find it kind of guy who relied on short game and putting while Bob was a more fariways and greens type of player. We have had great matches over the years.

    Here lately, I have been actually working on a few mechanical things in my swing so that my score is not so dependent on the sun and planets being properly alligned. I have always hoped that Bob would “lighten up” just a bit and thought it would make him a much better player.

    Just like everything else, there has to be some balance between the two. Ultimately a consistent (not perfect) swing coupled with a good short game and positie outlook should do the trick.

    Reply
    • Bob34

      gwlee, I agree with you. There always has to be some balance and taking a lesson is probably always a good thing if you’re taking it from someone that can distinguish what’s a flaw or not. This is especially true when we can’t figure why the ball is flying a certain way for ourselves.

      Reply
  3. Doug B

    I find that a proper setup is about 75% of the battle for me. I am relearning the game after a years-long hiatus and surgery last year, and it has taken me about 6 months to understand the proper setup. Monte’s videos have been a great help with that. With a proper setup the swing itself should be simple. I just remind myself to do a full shoulder turn (sometimes I get a little lazy) and keep my head back on the downswing. That’s it. I have a problem if I go with absolutely no swing thought at all. Maybe it’s just me, but if my mind is completely blank I tend to lose focus altogether.

    Reply
  4. S.

    You write, “Out of nowhere, I thought to myself what if I just discarded absolutely all swing thoughts, not just simplify the list but completely eliminate it and just hit the ball.”

    I remember getting so frustrated once on a golf course that I said to myself, “What if I just hit it like a baseball”?

    In baseball, there are no backswing thoughts, and that’s about 90% of golf instruction. Nobody turns their hips at a baseball. Nobody thinks about their shoulders in baseball, or their spine angle, or trying to achieve a look.

    Baseball is rotational. Yet our two favorite views in golf (face-on, and down the line from behind) make golf look two dimensional on a viewing screen.

    Anyway, of course the shot left me with my mouth open. It was long and straight, and it looked good getting there.

    Then, I tried to figure out how I did it, and quickly slipped into micro-managing mode, with predictable results.

    Reply
    • Bob34

      Been there, done this more times than I can count. The difference for me now is that if I’m hitting the ball good, I’m not trying to figure out why. I only try to figure out why when it starts to go wrong and then look for the simplest most obvious reason first. This easier now that I understand the new ball flight rules.

      Reply
  5. Mike

    This is a very fine read, thank you!

    Reply
    • Bob34

      You’re very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  6. Wally

    I never read a ski magazine, maybe that’s why I could ski well, I don’t read golf magazines’ either, doing uses a different part of the brain than reading about it. I did take a few private lessons from real professional ski instructors. even went to ski instructor school, was great. Too bad golf doesn’t good affordable schools like that

    Reply
    • S.

      “Doing uses a different part of the brain than reading about it.”

      And teaching requires a lot more understanding than just being able to do it well. A coordinated person has to learn to think like an un-coordinated person.

      Eddie Merrins’ videos were the worst instruction that I ever bought. But, if he’d have changed just one word, they’d have been the best.

      Reply
  7. Wally

    Try OUTER LIMITS at Killington

    Reply
  8. Wally

    How many of you folks out there in Monteland,take a sceintific approach to golf, by that I mean actually keep notes about what works and what doesn’t about your game. Stuff like ball position, width of feet, height of ball on tee, stuff that might actually be useful to your game, some balls play in cooler weather than others, some ball putt better than others. Won’t hurt

    Reply
    • Bob34

      Keeping notes on that stuff is pobably a good ides but doing that for the golf swing is too much like work for me 🙂

      Reply
  9. hank

    Monte,
    can I get your opinion on the tour striker?

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      I have a few problems with it.

      It forces you to create a movement that you might not be capable of at this time. You will be forced to dive in front of it or creates forced lag with the hands independent form the body, etc.

      Instead of the proper natural sequence of moves that gets you to that position naturally.

      It’s like putting someone in an Indy Car going 200 mph when they don’t know how to control it or get it there in the first place.

      Reply
  10. Qtlaw

    I am 48 now and with working FT and a family its hard to get practice time.

    I got to a 7.6 two years ago then started trying to hit a draw and getting more “lag” and bam off the rails. I lost 25 yds on each club. It was brutal and not fun.

    Getting back to basics is exactly the epiphany I found last week and it’s working!! Yippee!! I just remembered how I used to swing. Let’s hope it lasts.

    Reply

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