October 5, 2008

Small changes to a golf swing is a new swing...

I was playing a fast round the other day with Rick Blackie, the new GM at Van Tri Golf Club, and noticed something in his swing that was lacking in mine…

Ok, yeah I know, "distance, control and grace." Yes, very funny, ha ha, chet mat thoi. Get all the snide remarks out of your system now before we proceed.

Apparently, at some point over the years, I allowed my hands to drop back instead of setting them slightly forward, so I moved them forward again a bit and it made a huge difference in the descending blow, but naturally felt stranger than hell.

Another thing I had stopped doing was focussing on the exact dimple of the golf ball I wanted to hit. Yes, I know this sounds like an impossible task, but it really isn’t if you can remain focussed. Most good players focus on the quadrant of the ball the want to hit, but when everything is feeling good, you can even pick an exact dimple.

My game had degenerated to the point where just making contact anywhere on the ball was an accomplishment. My focus was totally gone.

Now, while these changes might seem quite small, I am going to impart some vitally important information to you. Something so earth-shattering that you might never be the same once you heard it. In fact, some of you might want to cover your eyes and run from the room instead of reading it. We’re talking deeply profound. Something most people would climb to the mountaintop to hear directly from the guru’s own mouth.

Ready?

"If you change one thing in a golf swing, regardless of how small, you have an entirely new swing."

Here’s the deal. A golf swing is a series of connected angular motions, each triggered by the preceding one along a specific plane. If you change just one small part, you’ve changed everything. All other angles must change, no matter how tiny the change was. The way your muscles interact changes, the alignment of your joints…everything changes to some degree of another.

Thus, when people claim to be "trying to fix their swing", they are actually "building a new swing." This is why people take so long to improve and why it is hard to keep the damn swing functioning properly.

By moving my hands forward, I changed the plane of my takeaway so that it wasn’t so Furykeske (as it were). But it also shortened my backswing enough that it triggered a condition known as "coming off the top."

Imagine Jerry Lewis having a mental fit. That kinda sums up what it looks like. Not pretty. But highly dysfunctional.

Hmm, come to think of it, because that movement hinders my normally long backswing, the next fault which would come into play if I continued with this takeaway over time would naturally be a "reverse-pivot" which is the deadliest error in golf because I would bring the club up before rotating all the way back.

See? A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, even for professionals at times and, therefore, I will return to my other motion, but continue to focus on a specific dimple to hit, otherwise I would have to reprogram my entire swing and patience, as you all know, is not one of my virtues.

If you want to change your swing, I recommend that you discuss the problems you’re having with a trained golf professional and let him work with you to develop a plan and a series of goals.

Like Rome, a golf swing wasn’t built in a day, but it can be destroyed in a day. So stick with the plan as best you can and be patient. Grooving a poor motion during a day at the range with your well-meaning friends is a sure path to destruction.

The best way to make changes is slowly and a step at a time. Make a small change and work to master it before moving on. Remember that you are building a machine which is complex in its simplicity.

Also try to remember that its called "golf" because all the other colourful four-letter words were already taken…


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