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."

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