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Monday, 23 November 2015

Imagine the Ball Has Little Legs

Henry Cotton, who was well before my time, but was reputed to be no slouch as a player and a teacher, said, "Imagine the ball has little legs, and chop them off."  I believe he was the first teacher to teach the "impact" approach, having students hit a tire with one hand, then the other, and then both, learning to make a solid, square strike and building some golfing muscle in the process. (There are some good videos on YouTube showing Cotton's tire drill)

As someone who got lost in swing mechanics, I have found myself at the point where I can no longer even find my old swing.  However, I have found this idea from Henry Cotton very helpful in the recovery process.  Imagining those little legs under the ball and chopping them off works like a charm to give you the right strike.  

Harvey Penick taught his students the same thing when he told them to "clip the tee" under the ball. Harvey said he didn't know why, but clipping the tee caused the club face to be square.  It was like magic.  Harvey also loved to see a player who just brushed the ball off the turf, taking little or no divot.

Johnny Miller also likes to talk about the "brush, brush" drill, especially with chipping where you make sure you brush the grass under the ball.  This approach beats the hell out of beating down on the ball and taking divots big enough to bury small mammals in, as I am sometimes prone to do.  

Since I've fiddled with my swing to the point of almost total confusion and paralysis, I am back to trying just to cut those little legs out from under the ball.  It beats the hell out of worrying about my backswing.

If you're having trouble with your swing, or your ball striking, maybe chopping the legs out from under that pesky little ball might help you as well.