Saturday, 26 December 2015

Bobby Jones on the Golf Swing

In golf writing I daresay more has been written about the golf swing than any other subject.  It seems to be a source of endless fascination, conjecture, and theorizing.  While Bobby indicated that he never knew his teacher, Stewart Maiden, to engage in a discussion of the golf swing, Bobby was somehow convinced to do so.

Bobby was nothing if not practical in his discussion of the golf swing.  In chapter 6 of Golf is my Game he talked about what really mattered in the golf swing.  It turns out that what really matters is what your mind is doing--not your body.  The golf swing, according to the master, is all about knowing what to focus on.  Bobby wrote:

 "The swinging of the club back from the ball is undertaken for the sole purpose of getting the player to a proper position for striking.  So the one influence most likely to assure the satisfactory progression of the swing is the clearly visualized contact between club and ball still at the forefront of the player's mind.  Just as the backswing should not begin until this picture is adequately established, so the movement should continue until there results an awareness that the player has become capable of striking in the intended manner.
  I stress this point, and intend to continue to do so, because I know that the unrelenting effort to play golf this way can do more for a player than anything else he can possibly do.  When every move of the swing is dominated by the determination to strike the ball in a definite fashion, the complicated sequence of movements must acquire purpose and unity attainable in no other way."

While most dubs focus on keeping their head still, or their left arm straight, or turning their shoulders, or whatever; the top players focus on how they want to strike the ball.  They don't swing until they have a clear picture of the shot they intend to play, along with an understanding of how the ball must be struck to produce that shot.  After that, the primary focus and purpose of the swing is to put themselves in the best position to deliver that strike.

I have to continue to remind myself of this every time I hit a golf shot.  It will, if nothing else, keep my mind on the job at hand, which is to play a shot--not necessarily to look pretty while doing so.  It really is--and always will be--all about the strike.

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