Something I don’t understand.

Most amateur golfers will freely admit they don’t understand the golf swing at all or know much about it. Yet they think they know enough to diagnose their own problem, pick a fix for that problem and implement that fix…or do the same for a fellow duffer.

Now let’s look at the odds.

1. What are the odds they diagnose the problem correctly?

2. What are the odds they pick the right fix?

3. What are the odds they implement the fix properly?

Now multiply 1x2x3 and you get an astronomical number. In other words, it’s never going to work.

So my question is this. Why not just play and have fun, or understand that getting better is a process and that it takes time?

The way to improve at all levels is to UNDERSTAND your feel. I will write about that tomorrow.




  1. john

    Totally agree. Most golfers I’ve encountered take it as a point of pride that they don’t take lessons or do fine without them and figure things out on their own.

    I’m of the opposite bent, I need to read instruction books and take lessons, but the thing is, not all the info out there is good as well as the instructors.

    I think you have the desire to learn and good info/instruction. You can learn on your own by trial and error, but I think that process will take alot longer *if* you can do it on your own.

    It’s funny, as an experienced amateur musician, I find most people go out of their way to seek instruction to play an instrument, say the piano. I don’t understand why the opposite is true in golf.

    One thing I don’t do enough of to diagnose and access is use video. Part of that is laziness on my part, but I know I should use video more.

  2. Michael

    “Now multiply 1x2x3 and you get an astronomical number”

    You get 6 🙂

  3. Mike

    I totally agree, 6 is a astronomical number. (LoL) he probably meant to multiply the possibilities or probabilities within the numbers 🙂

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Smart asses…LOL. My mother always told me it was better to be a smart ass than a dumb ass. David Leadbetter did not take this advice.

  4. Hank

    ouch on the leadbetter!!!!!!….lol

  5. Aussie Jack

    Here’s a story about an interaction between the great Australian golfer, the late (2007) Norman Von Nida and David Leadbetter. The Von was listening in on David Leadbetter giving a lesson to an amateur golfer. The Von, though a little bloke, and half blind, was always willing to fight if it was required, stepped in and told Leadbetter that what he is teaching was a load of bullshit and that he was willing to put his money where his mouth was, challenging Leadbetter to a match then and there. Leadbetter declined.

    My sympathies are entirely with Von Nida, finding Leadbetter unfathomable and unworkable.

    But you Monte make a lot of sense – and it’s freely given – particularly when you refine the legendary Jack Nicklaus’ advice (all parts must contribute – the hands, arms, shoulders, hips and legs); I’d add, with Henry Cotton/John Jacobs in mind – in the “order” that works for you.

    • Aussie Jack

      Here we are. Monte has talked freely of the value of Bobby Jones’ instruction to him. I hope this very old advice from the great English golfer Henry Cotton is appreciated. Forgive him for the endemic, slightly anal retentive prose style. And note the similarities with John Jacobs’ much later advice to amateurs (“swing the arms”, versus the body alone, and “swing down and turn through”)

      Henry Cotton This Game of Golf (1948)
      p. 129 Hitting Late and Hitting Early
      GOLFERS who study the game at all will have seen the phrase “hitting late” beneath numerous photographs showing players in action, and taken when the club is in what I call the hitting area. This area is from the shoulder-level until impact, and so the photographs usually show players at or around the impact position.
      Hitting late refers, obviously, to an attempt to define when the hit should take place during the swing, but it often misleads players who copy the position demonstrated in the photographs. I would like to point out right away, that it is possible to hit too late, that is, for the maximum speed of the club-head to come after impact, so that the ball does not receive the full force of the blow. I have mentioned already the possible over-use of the left arm, and it occurred to me that there are many who, although endeavouring to use their right hands in the golf stroke, still leave the hit too late.
      Have you ever thought how difficult it is for anybody to gauge his acceleration so exactly that the maximum speed arrives just at impact? It is almost an impossibility! While the ideal moment to attain maximum speed is at impact, it has been observed that often the left arm and the club are in a straight line before the actual impact, indicating that the player has made sure that the maximum speed shall not arrive after contact with the ball has been made.
      It is safer to try to reach maximum speed before impact, and to maintain this speed for the short period of time until the ball is on its way, than to gauge exactly the acceleration so that the club reaches its greatest speed at the instant of impact.
      Many of the snatchy half-hit shots played by even good players can come from hitting too late. I am certain that if weaker players, that is, short hitters, would try to get the right arm and club-shaft in line before impact, they would play steadier and more accurate golf, because, apart from the fact that the club-head would reach its maximum speed before impact, the wrists and arms could be kept firmer. Let me state once more : the club-head can maintain its maximum speed for quite a distance (like a motor-car which is accelerated up to peak speed), so there is no need to try to time the “hit” exactly for fear of the maximum speed suddenly falling off.
      I am sure that powerfully-made golfers can hit later than weaker ones, and I think that very long hitters can hit extra late; but this hitting late, although still spoken of as the secret of first-class golf, was not such a fetish years ago as it is today.
      I have an old golf book by me which speaks of throwing out from the top of the swing, but this action, I am sure, was required as much to straighten the bent left arm, fashionable in the up-swing of the period, on its way down, as to get the club-head moving fast enough in time. “Timing”, a word often used to express “hitting in the right place”, is not a constant, but a variable factor for each and every player, as it is necessary for each player to know where he must begin his hit in order to get the best results.
      Few players experiment on this point, and this leads me to make a very obvious suggestion. Experiment to see if you can hit earlier than you do. In 50 per cent, of cases players do hit too late, because they deliberately try to. The modern ball, which gets up so much quicker from the ground than, say, the old gutty, requires late hitting to keep it down, but only by long hitters.
      In the old days it was necessary to cultivate a swing primarily to throw the ball up, hence the old technique of throwing out from the top of the swing. Today, unless you are a very strong player, try to find out whether you can get your right hand to come into the shot sooner. I do not mean you must close the club-face with a whip of the wrist—you must keep your hands travelling forward.
      As I so often stress, to be a good golfer it is necessary to be able to balance one’s game all, the time, to avoid exaggeration and extreme positions; and this hitting late and hitting early want checking all the time to avoid drifting to extremes unintentionally.
      I often find players, particularly the better ones, altering their whole style of play in order to keep, say, the feeling of hitting late, which they visualised at the time of their greatest golf success, but which now has become so exaggerated that it cannot possibly work. At this point, trying the opposite extreme will often enable the player to strike the mean to restore balance to his game.
      Everybody hits late. But you must find out how late for yourself. The first thing I have taught my teaching staff to observe with a new pupil is “where he hits”, as generally the player has arranged his whole swing, including his body and foot work, around this timing, believing his timing to be naturally correct.


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