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The Controlled Golf Swing: Final Part


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This is the last instalment of the controlled golf swing discussion.

I realize that I have already given you plenty to think of and to work at.

But there is a development in your game or in your way of playing it that I want to prepare you for; so, for that reason and for the sake of analyzing the matter out to its logical conclusion I add the following.

After a while by dint of pivoting correctly, not dipping our shoulders (i.e. not lifting with the arms), we begin to play some good shots, nice and straight and reasonably long.

We have arrived at this stage by building on the basic trinity — pivot, shoulders up, and width — and by occasionally taking a sly peep at how they are going.

So far we have never consciously produced a good shot; we have merely made certain mechanical movements which we have beentaught will result in good shots.

But now we begin to realize how we should feel in order to produce a good shot.

We are on the other side of the fence.

We know now what it feels like to produce a good shot, and now, instead of preparing for a shot by sly looks at our pivot etc., we instinctively get into the position which we feel will produce a good shot.

And as we go on, the feeling of this preparatory state comes more and more into the foreground.

Also because we are working from a secure basis we can now begin to notice the nuances and subtleties.

We find that we produce purer shots from one sensation than from another only slightly different.

We are enticed to arrange our back swing according to the type of shot we wish to produce: an extra pivot if we wish to pull or a restricted pivot if we wish to slice.

But please notice that this will not be a conscious, mechanical control — you will not say to yourself, "I wish to slice slightly so I will restrict my swing to an arc of so many degrees," you will simply alter your swing unconsciously in response to your feeling of what will produce the shot you want.

In other words, the control of your shots has now been placed outside your conscious mind and will.

You have built up a feel that a certain swing will produce a slice — so you can produce a slice by getting that feel into your swing.

This is only the beginning of control by feel to the very good golfer. He begins to hit a variety of shots, with little difference in flight or character and yet each subtly different and with its individual feel.

He files away in the "feel cabinet" in his unconscious memory all these subtleties. Consequently he never has to "think out" a shot on the course — he sees the lie and the flight required, and these produce, by an automatic response, the right feel from his cabinet and so the right shot from his club.

In this connection consider the hanging lie.

Now this golfer's bugbear is a bugbear simply because it is thought that a shot from a hanging lie must be difficult; so the very sight of such a lie produces difficulties in the mind.

If you learn to play by feel, no such difficulties will crop up; the sight of a hanging he will suggest the feel of the necessary swing, restricted and slightly from the outside with the face somewhat open in consequence.

Because of the lie you feel that this will give you a shot of normal height, though you feel (correctly again) that such a swing played on the tee would produce nothing better than a vulgar slice!

In one sense, when I tell a pupil at his own request how to play from a hanging lie, I am telling him something I do not know.

All I know is the feel of how to play off a hanging lie — and I know that well, for when I was at my apex as a golfer I missed fewer shots from indifferent lies than I did from the tee — probably because I concentrated more severely on the difficult shots than on the easy ones.

Difficulties help concentration. I would rather have a bunker to pitch over than a plain run up of the same distance to play.

I hope that this chapter is easier to read than it was to write.

I like it as well as any in the book, because it does condense what I take to be the essence of the golf swing into a reasonable space, readable in a reasonable time, so that the beginning should not be forgotten before the end is reached.

But it is a vast field to cover and much compression had to be exercised — so it might be as well if you turned back now and read it again!

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