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Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Fascination of the Swing

Golfers are now, and likely always will be, fascinated by the golf swing. They love to analyze great players' swings and to dissect and study the intricate mechanics of the swing in general. They do this even though it is quite well known, or should be well known, that every player has his own swing; and that to break down the swing is very often not very helpful to their game. So why do they do it? They do it because they love to do it. It's fascinating to them.

I have started reading a new, old book called The Methods of Golf's Masters, by Dick Aultman and Ken Bowden. It's pretty interesting. What struck me first was the great golf writer Herbert Warren Wind's introduction. Right away Mr. Wind gives an excellent explanation of the appeal of examining the golf swing. He wrote:

    "I am not a cardplayer, and so it astonishes me that devotees of bridge, regardless of how many years they have pored over the game, never lose their passion for it. At the same time I can understand their perpetual keenness because as one of the many thousands of men and women who have been happily enslaved by golf since childhood I have always been astonished by the way one never tires of discovering more and more about the golf swing--dissecting it, restudying its various phases, practicing its movements, discussing the latest theories about its basic facets, examining the methods and manners of the game's champions, and so on and on, ad infinitum. It is one of the comforts of this life, in which one involuntarily loses his zest for so many things, that thinking about and learning about the golf swing are one of the rare enthusiasms that never pall, never get boring. Age cannot wither it nor custom stale its infinite variety--or something like that."

So, whether it's really a good idea or not, we will keep studying the golf swing. It may not be good for our game, but it is part of the game's fascination for most of us. Just remember, thinking about the swing is very interesting, and possibly very instructive for some. But the moment we start thinking about our swing as we are swinging, and forget about hitting the ball being the only purpose of the swing, we are headed for disaster. We will all likely, at one time or another, dissect our golf swing, but just understand, as Bobby Jones wrote, that we could be doing so at our peril. It's fun; but it can be dangerous.