Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bobby Jones Was Ahead of His Time.

Either Bobby Jones was ahead of his time or this philosophy got lost as the years went by.


I read a lot of the writings and thoughts of the greats of the past because I believe their message is still effective today and that the future of golf instruction is in learning to teach better.  Not in learning more "what to teach."  It appears that Bobby Jones knew over 70 years ago something that is now being learned, or relearned about how people of all ages learn to swing the golf club.  The science behind human learning is slowly seeping into golf instruction.

They learn primarily with their eyes and not their ears! 

There are sub-groups under that -  visual, auditory, read-write, and kinesthetic, but we primarily learn with our eyes.

Without getting too deep into the rabbit hole of neuroscience, the Holonomic brain theory supports that people learn motor skills not by linking a progression of positions together like line-by-line computer code, but instead by storing the entire movement as a neural 3-D hologram.  In other words they learn from watching.  

It appears that Stewart Maiden and Bobby Jones understood this.
Bobby wasn't a big proponent of teaching the golf swing.  Bobby learned the game by playing and observing the pro at his club, Stewart Maiden.  Maiden did not spend time on the practice tee giving Bobby swing instruction.  In fact, Bobby claimed that, to the best of his knowledge, Maiden never allowed himself to be drawn into a discussion about the golf swing.  To Stewart Maiden, golf was all about striking the wee ball.  Bobby might have been convinced to write about the swing, but I suspect he did so with mixed emotions.  He was not a man who believed in playing the game in a mechanical way.  He was not a fan of what he called, "rigid adherence to prescribed routine," in the teaching and learning of the golf swing. 
Bobby wrote: "Even if a person may not have begun to play golf at an early age, I believe that he may gain much by emphasizing naturalness in his learning processes. I think he has the right to convince himself that an effective golf swing can be made without rigid adherence to a prescribed routine and that there is room for differences in physical structure and capabilities. No matter how nearly equal in performance the top-rank players may be, yet they are as recognizable by their swings as by their faces.
"What the average golfer needs more than fine spun theories," Bobby wrote, "is something that will give him a clearer conception of what he should try to do with the clubhead... When we speak of sound method or good form, we mean nothing more than that the possessor of either has simplified his swing to the point where errors are less likely to creep in and he is able consistently to bring his club against the ball in the correct hitting position."



Friday, December 18, 2015

Golf Course Superintendents With a Sense of Humor

 Golf Course Superintendents With a Sense of Humor

I have always loved golf course superintendents that have a sense of humor.  Since all too many golfers take the sport too seriously, it is always nice to lighten it up a little.  I have collected these over time and if you have any others please email them to me sam@essentiallygolf.com or send them to me on Facebook.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

These are in no particular order.






This may be my personal favorite!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How To Keep The Ball In Play With The Driver




Here is a wonderful video on learning a quick and simple way to keep your driver in play.  It actually applies to every club in your bag, but I find it easier to learn by starting with the driver.

The most important key to this is taking practice swings.  You need to swing without the ball until you are comfortable taking a full swing at various speeds.

Take the practice swing and then hold the finish long enough to remember what it felt like.  Remember the feeling of being balanced and controlling speed.  Then just repeat that feeling.

Just remember that it is not a three-quarter swing - it is a full swing at three-quarter speed.

You will find out that when you start to relax and slow the club down you will start to make very solid contact.


The importance of this was taught to me by the legendary Mickey Wright.  How far I can hit a club and how far I should hit it are two different things.

The video only takes a couple of minutes and will be well worth your time.  It and several more are posted on my YouTube Channel.



Monday, December 14, 2015

A Simple Way To Check Your Alignment.

A Simple Way To Check Your Alignment.

I just ran across this and had one of those moments where you slap your forehead and say, "Why didn't I think of that."

I have noticed over the years that many of my students struggle with getting the club face square at address.  Most have it slightly open and then wonder why they slice.

Well, here is a simple and inexpensive way to help you check your club face alignment.  Simply buy some small magnets and glue long tees (the longer, the better) to the magnets.

It will help you train yourself to what proper club face alignment actually looks like.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Are You A Golf Tip Hoarder?

                                                    Beware of Golf Tips

One of the most damaging things you can do is become a hoarder of golf tips.  I know it’s tough because you are bombarded on all side by the internet, TV, magazines, and your buddies that offer them freely even if they are a 28 handicapper.

One of the really interesting things about golf is that anybody that can get it airborne thinks they can help others.  This brings in the subject of myths that keep getting pasted on from golfer to golfer.  Things like “you looked up”.  Not one golf professional I have ever talked to has ever had a student “look up”.  Then we have “keep your head down” or “you took your eye off the ball”.  The head doesn’t move independently of the body on the down swing and blind people play golf.


I think one of the reasons so many women quit golf in a short period of time is “tips” from their husband or boyfriend that cause them to get frustrated.

Just remember, the seemingly innocent act of fiddling with your golf swing because of a new tip you picked up somewhere has caused many golfers to say “I have lost my golf swing. I can’t hit the golf ball anymore.”

A golf swing doesn’t disappear; your golf swing is still there … it’s just buried under these new compensations/tips.

If you have a slice there are tons of articles, videos and tips for fixing it.  You will read and hear all about why an out to in swing path is causing the problem.  If the club is facing in the direction it is traveling (square), an out to in path will simply produce a straight pull to the left.  I have yet to find one that says a slice is caused only by the club face being open to the path at impact.  That’s too simple and you don’t need to buy anything to fix it.  Adjust your grip and grip pressure (lighter) until the club squares up.  You can do that on your own.

If you want to get better and enjoy golf more, forget all your tips and swing thoughts.  Go out and relax and remember that effort is self-defeating.  Try practicing by playing instead of hitting balls.  Swing smooth, take plenty of club, and work on solid contact.

If you want to read about golf subscribe to GolfWorld - wonderful articles and no instructional tips.  You can watch golf on television all you want as long as you are only watching people play golf.  When the announcers start doing swing analysis, take a bathroom break.

The point here is to enjoy the game by learning how to get the ball around the course with your swing and remember the most important point – there is no secret and no matter what the equipment companies tell anyone, their clubs will not dramatically change their game.