Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Golf - Lessons from John Jacobs

In Right Time, Right Place, Richard Brookhiser takes a certain writer to task for falling prey to the "no principles please we're British" error.  Maybe that's why I like A Life Full of Lessons--wherein teacher John Jacobs shares his thoughts on the game--so much.  It has that British feel to it, as well as the wisdom that comes from his having been a club pro for 60 years.  The article appears in the March 2011 issue of Golf Digest and I think it's about the best instructional piece that's been published in that magazine.

The whole piece is worth a close, attentive read if you play golf, but a few of the highlights for me are:

"If golf were about getting into correct positions throughout the swing, then the greatest players in the world have had it wrong."

I happen to have a pretty orthodox, classic type swing, but I think this is absolutely correct.  Or perhaps more to the point, the attempt to turn the swing into a series of positions will destroy more golfers than it will help.

"The feeling of wanting to take the club straight back, rather than on an arc, is intuitively human, but it's the core of many faults.  We think the longer we can make a straight line, the straighter the ball will go.  But golf is a side-on-side game with the ball on the ground, so it's the opposite."

For some reason, women seem to be particularly susceptible to this error.  I see it all the time when I practice and the temptation not to butt in and say something is tough to resist.  Difficult to stay silent when husband/boyfriend is going on about something or other while the woman has the club going straight all the way to the top of her backswing, and thereby has no chance to hit the ball with any force.  None.

And finally:

"Many players never start in an address position that makes a windup back and through possible.  If you set up right, it's all done; you don't need any more thoughts.  Leave the rest to the good Lord."

Took me a long while to figure this out, but I think that's about right (I have it that setup is about 90%, the top of the backswing is another 9.5%, and then not getting greedy because you know you have it right is the remaining 0.5%). 

Read the rest:

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