I think the one thing I often forget, especially when facing a particularly difficult shot, is that the golf ball is small, light, and easy to get moving. That being the case, why is it that I keep hacking at it like a caveman trying to kill his lunch?
I have been convinced of the fact that there is some real genius in Harvey Penick's "clip the tee" drill. He claimed not to know why, but clipping the tee under the ball caused the golfer to square his clubface. Harvey liked to see a golfer just clip, or sweep, the ball off the turf. He wouldn't have been impressed with some of the divots I take--divots you could bury small mammals in.
Remove that golf ball, that just stares back at us, daring us to make a mistake, and our swing becomes smoother, more relaxed, and more effective. It's that damned ball that seems to mess so many of us up. If we could only trust the fact that the ball is small, and light, and that our clubs are well designed and more than capable of getting the ball in the air and on its way, we would be much better players. I am convinced that if I could just keep clipping the tee, or brushing the grass under the ball--swinging like I'm just clipping the heads off daisies, or dandelions--I would continue to see better results with much less effort.
Yesterday I was clipping the tee like Harvey taught, and was hitting some great shots straight at the pin. But for the fact that I missed quite a few putts, I would have felt like a real golfer. I was just brushing the turf, or taking nice bacon-strip divots. It was effortless, and my back wasn't hurting. That Harvey Penick was one smart teacher.
This Spring I intend to spend more time in the yard just clipping the heads off those dandelions. It's great for my swing. Until then, when I'm consigned to the indoor range, I'm going to focus on just brushing the astroturf under the ball, instead of bashing my club into the turf like a caveman. My swing feels so good and relaxed when I'm just clipping dandelions. And man, do those dandelions fly.
I watched, and posted, a video of Bobby Jones. His swing was so free and effortless. I think the last shot filmed was a 245 yard fairway wood to a couple of feet on a par five. He looked so relaxed, you would have thought he was just clipping the head off a dandelion. Not that I really have a problem with dandelions. People use them in salads, and make wine with them. But they are also an excellent swing aid.