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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Don't Hurry, Don't Worry

Walter Hagen famously said, "You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way." It was great advice for living and for playing golf. Worrying and hurrying are two things that can ruin your swing and your game.

With respect to the golf swing, Bobby Jones said that no one ever swung the club too slowly. And he identified two points where most golf swings go wrong--the takeaway and the first move from the top. If the takeaway and the change of direction from the top can be accomplished in a leisurely fashion, good things can happen.

How many times, especially when it's a difficult shot, haven't I taken the club back nice and slowly, only to lurch at the ball from the top and ruin the shot. Hurrying the strike is a killer. There is, after all, no need to hurry. The ball isn't going anywhere. 

But Bobby Jones also said that many golfers think they are concentrating when, in fact, they are only worrying. And worry causes physical as well as mental tension. Tense muscles don't help the golf swing. They might be good for bending iron bars, but they don't make the club head move faster.

Someone said, "you don't play golf to relax; you relax to play golf." There's a distinct difference. We want to be engaged in our golf game. We don't want to relax, we need to try to play as well as we possibly can every time we tee it up. It is in the throwing yourself wholeheartedly into the playing of the game that we derive the most benefit from it. But, again as Bobby Jones said, we must fight tension whetever it may be found when we are swinging the golf club. A relaxed body can really whip that club through the impact zone.

So, I think the Haig's motto is a great one for us golfers. Don't hurry, don't worry. Pick your shot, take the club back slowly and leisurely, and make that change of direction nice and smooth. And while you're walking or riding the course, stop and smell the flowers. Enjoy the birds, the trees, the deer, even the gators, you come across in your travels on the links. We are, after all, only here for a short visit.