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Monday, 24 July 2017

The Obvious Way to Play

Bobby Jones believed that there was an obvious and uncomplicated way to play golf. Unlike many teachers of the game who espouse finespun theories about how to swing a golf club, Bobby felt that the uncomplicated way to play was to focus on the strike instead of the swing.

The best swing in the world is of little use if it doesn't produce a proper strike. I know I've quoted this information from Bobby Jones before, but I think it bears repeating in view of the fact that there are so many golfers out there who could save themselves a great deal of work, and no small amount of heartache, if they could only convince themselves of its truthfulness. Bobby, in his book Golf is my Game, wrote:

    "Golf is played by striking the ball with the head of the club. The objective if 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 ways in which a golf ball can be expected to respond when it is struck in different ways. If you think this 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."

The simple fact is, a golf ball only reacts to the way it is struck. The golf ball cares nothing about your backswing or your follow-through. In his book, Bobby provided diagrams to illustrate how the ball must be struck to produce a straight shot, a hook, a slice, a push, and a pull. 

Too many golfers are fooled in to thinking that it's their swing that produces the hooks or slices that ruin their scores. But it isn't their swing. It's the strike that causes the slice or the hook. I think, and, more importantly, Bobby Jones thought, that golfers would immediately improve if they learned to think a whole lot less about their swing, and a whole lot more about the strike. 

If you don't know what causes a straight shot, a hook, a slice, a push, or a pull, I suggest you read Bobby Jones' book, Golf is my Game. If you don't have the book, I have covered that information in my featured article, entitled The Wisdom of Bobby Jones: Striking the Ball.