Wednesday, 11 October 2017

What Should You Think About?

It seems to me that golfers, of which I claim to be one, can think of a great many things during the second and a half or so that it takes to swing the club and hit a golf shot. I was reading Bobby Jones' book, Down the Fairway, and came across an interesting point Bobby makes about the golf swing and what we should be thinking about as we hit a golf shot. 

Bobby had been analysing for us what he thought were the important components of his golf swing. He wrote:

    "It seems fearfully complicated, this trying to take a swing to pieces and see what makes it tick. I'd hate to try to learn to play golf synthetically. These attempts at analysis are quite puzzling enough. But it has been deeply interesting to me, in my feeble efforts at analysis, to encounter so many times, and in so many ways, the factor of body-turn in all shots.
     One bit of earnest admonition. Stewart Maiden maintains that he cannot think of any of these details, or of any other details, during the execution of a shot--that is if the shot is to come off. He adds that he does not believe anybody else can think of these or other details and perform a successful shot. I find this to be the case with my own play. I have to do all my thinking as I prepare to play. Once the swing is under way, the only thing I can think of is hitting the ball. To attempt to think of anything else is the most certain method of courting absolute ruin."

Now Jack Nicklaus wrote that he could have as many as five swing thoughts and still play well. But we are not Jack Nicklaus. For most of us, if we must think about our swing, we should think about it before, not during, the actual playing of a golf shot. That's Bobby's advice. And I know it's good advice for me. If I start thinking about my left arm, or my right knee, or my turn, during a shot, I can count on having trouble.