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Zen and the art of Golf:  Part II

June 17th 2005

The Game of Golf

Here I am watching the first round of the 2005 US Open and I see a lot of great swings. I also see a lot of swings that "get the job done." As with it seems every sport, precision doesn't always come from spotless technique.

I thought I'd open with that concept in this article. It's an important thing to remember when you're out there actually playing a round with your friends. Sometimes just being aware of yourself is all it takes to pull out the better round. This ties in with what I spoke about in the last article where we defined what our JOB was as the golfer. It's not about the person who has the perfect techniqe, but rather that person who creates the nearest thing to a "swing".

Today I'd like to delve into the somewhat more nitty gritty parts of that definition of "swing" that I gave you. In case you forgot here's a quick reminder. Your only task as a golfer (or JOB) is to "Swing" the golf club.
That's it. I later went on to define a swing as a "backward and forward circular motion."

Conceptually most people think there is a lot more complication to what we do as golfers. Our focus tends to be on the specific ways in which our body moves. Now that's not to say there aren't better ways than others for our body to move that allow us to make a "swing", but sometimes we focus our attention narrowly on the most inane things. In all honesty I think that's because the modern golf instructor likes to point them all out. That's what you pay them for isn't it?

This type of nit-picky golf does have it's successes, but in the overall scheme of things, I don't see many happy golfers who struggle through it. Instead of narrowing on the finite, lets focus more on the big picture. Back to our definition of a swing.

If our job is to make a backward and forward circular motion I beg of you the question how many directions are we making the club move? A lot of golfers today would give you anywhere from 6 to 12 directions. Straight back from the ball, along the shaft plane, then above the shaft plane, alone the new plane line, clubhead pointing at the target, clubface slightly rotated, then dropped into the slot allowing the lower body to uncoil, holding onto the wrist angle created between the shaft of the club and the left forearm (for right handers), then released down at the ball, and whatever happens from there is a consequence of everything before it.

Let's look one more time at the EXACT DEFINITION of our job. BACKWARD and FORWARD circular motion. That is two, yes count them "2" directions total.
Which of those two movements would you prefer to think about and perfect?
Which one of those philosophies would lead to longer lasting improvement?

Well lets do a little experiment. Grab a piece of paper and pen. Now draw a circle. Good. Now right next to it draw another one, but this time I want you to count how many directions your hand moved and which muscles were involved in each change.

Now that you've drawn the two circles let me ask you a few questions, which one has a smoother perimeter? Which one took more effort? Which one was drawn with more speed? Which one came naturally? Which one is more repeatable? Which one more closely resembles a circle?

You see, we all have an inherent ability to do what we tell ourselves to do.
This is the famous "paralysis by analysis" line we always hear about. The second circle was far too complicated to perform not because drawing a circle a second time is any more difficult than the first, but because our minds are focusing on the wrong things.

So next time you get up to the tee box I want you to simply think "BACKWARD and FORWARD" and nothing else. Your body will know what to do, you just gotta give up control and let your mind get to the task of performing it's new found job.

Next article I'll go into the most important word in our job definition...

For more Golf Tips see Stevens Golf Tutorial.

Steven Bishop 
Steven is a teacher and trainer for Blaisdell Performance Systems in Arizona. Website:






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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Sunday, July 11, 2010 01:18 AM