Sunday, 7 May 2017

Tired of Not Knowing What to Concentrate On?

What I think I like most of all about Bobby Jones' writing was his ability to get to the crux of the matter. He didn't promote any type of swing, other than his advice that it should be smooth, rhythmic and unhurried; especially when it came to the start of the downswing. In fact, Bobby realized that what was important was not the swing, but the strike.

In Golf is my Game, Bobby devoted a chapter to "Striking the Ball." He felt that it was the most important chapter of his book for the beginner, the average player, and the expert. He wrote:

    "This will be the most important chapter of this book. It will describe the most useful learning you will ever acquire as a golfer. You may gain knowledge from the mere reading of this chapter that will help you in the playing of every golf shot you make for the rest of your life. This knowledge can make you a better golfer overnight.
     If you are a beginner, this chapter will start you off on the road to a correct understanding of the nature of golf. If you are an average golfer, it will give you the means of deciding upon the club to use and the shot to play on the basis of reasoned judgement, rather than guesswork. If you are a better than average golfer, it will broaden your perception of the possibilities in the game so that you may become a player of imagination and resourcefulness. If you are weary of being told to concentrate without having knowledge of what you should concentrate on, this is it."

That's a rather big promise from a man who didn't engage in hyperbole. That's just how confident Bobby Jones was about the fact that golf is all about striking the ball. Consider what he wrote next:

    "Golf is played by striking the ball with the head of the club. The objective of the player is not to swing the club in a specified manner, nor to execute a series of complicated movements in a prescribed sequence, nor to look pretty while he is doing it, but primarily and essentially to strike the ball with the head of the club so that the ball will perform according to his wishes.
     No one can play golf until he knows the many ways in which a ball can be expected to respond when it is struck in different ways. If you think this all should be obvious, please believe me when I assure you that I have seen many really good players attempt shots they should have known were impossible."

So, if you are presently confused, frazzled, and tired of not knowing what to concentrate on. Take it from Bobby Jones; it's the strike, not the swing. Bobby goes on to describe the various ways a ball might be struck and the resultant ball flight that strike will produce. If you can get a copy of his book, I encourage you to do so. If not, check out my article entitled, "The Wisdom of Bobby Jones: Striking the Ball." It contains Bobby's information, pretty much verbatim. 

This year, I hope to get back to just trying to be a ballstriker and forget my damned swing. It isn't easy, because generations of teachers have taught us to think swing, not strike. And, according to Bobby Jones, they've missed the proverbial boat.

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