Your Golf Swing; Remember What it is Like To ……….
How many times have you asked yourself “Why I am hitting the golf ball like that?” or “Why can’t I play the way I used to play?” The answer to those and similar questions you ask about yourself and your golf swing are actually at your finger tips, if only you can remember what you can do versus what you used to do.
Like riding a bike, you can remember your good golf swing if you allow yourself an opportunity to remember what t is like to make a good balanced golf swing. So many times I’ll see a client’s golf swing out of balance, which results in their body making compensations to stay upright and not fall over. A classic example of this is “Coach,” a very accomplished golfer I recently assisted, who during his prime won many amateur events in New England and was a university coach to many great players. It was obvious from his first golf swing that Coach was a player, but time had caught up with him. Due two injuries and subsequent surgeries, Coach had lost some range of motion and some flexibility, limiting his ability to make a good golf swing. Knowing he had a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience, it was essential in my mind that Coach remember what it was like to make a golf swing that enabled him to experience his past, so he could mimic the positions he cherished to recreate now.
After fixing a couple crucial set-up positions, alignment and grip, we set out to have Coach feel like he was 17 again, by making a balanced finish a reality. He had been concentrating so much about what his swing was doing prior to hitting the ball, that he had forgotten to get to a balanced finish. Working without the club, we worked on how a balanced finish happens, allowing a weight shift to happen in a reasonable amount of time within his swing. Once he had the feeling of being able to balance on his front foot, the fun began in a couple of ways. First, he was able to put the club on the ball and compress it, as well as square the club. Coach’s eyes lit up each time he was able to do. Then I brought out of moth balls a vintage McGregor Driver, circa early 1960’s. As I handed him the club, I asked him to remember what it was like to swing a much smaller and heavier club, and what it would take to have this club hit the ball to his intended target. Coach’s preshot routine slowed down, his tempo became more in balance, and yes, he hit the ball as far as he did with his 460CC driver. But more importantly, Coach was able to pose for the photographers once again, in the familiar pose we are all used to seeing from great golfers. The image and actual feeling of holding an old friend, the persimmon driver, allowed Coach to remember what it was like to get to a full finish.
Moral to the story – Take your time to remember positions, remember tempo and timing of the good swings you have made, and remember how those feelings equate to your success on the golf course. Remember that time does have an affect on how we age, but it can not rob you of your memories of what it takes to be successful. If you have to, pull out that vintage club collecting dust in your closet and make some swing with it. Feel the weight of the club as you swing. Feel how your body has to respond to the club and the movements it makes to put the club in the right positions. Doing so in a “Slow-Motion” speed provides your mind and body the ability to remember what it will take for you to play better golf.
What we all witnessed this past weekend is the emergence of an artist, a modern day Picasso of golf. What Bubba Watson can do with a golf club is sometime incomprehensible to the average golfer, yet we can all appreciate what his brush strokes create, especially on the canvas call Augusta National.
I have had the pleasure of playing in a group behind Bubba at a local private facility and it is absolutely amazing at times watching the club and his body get into positions I would never teach a client. Yet, his ball flight, based upon how he feels the shot at hand, is mesmerizing to watch. When so many golf swings we see on any tour seem to look very similar, Bubba’s golf swing provides us an insight into what creativity and individuality can bring you when you allow yourself to envision your shots and allow your golf swing to be as natural to your abilities as possible.
What we can all learn from our current Masters Champion is that being apprehensive, trying to perfect a swing, and being one of many number golfers that fit a mold is something that may not fit you. Bubba’s impact position is something for you to copy. But how you get to that position is all up to you. As Arnold Palmer stated in a recent big box store’s advertisement, Bubba Watson is the epitome of “Swing Your Swing.” When you do, good things will happen.