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Golf and The Senses Part 5 (Final Part)


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This is the last part of Percy's Golf and The Senses Chapter....

Now here, for those who collect coincidences, is a true story which shows an independent and extremely practical application of the ideas on which my teaching is based.

I was giving a lesson to a young American, a thoughtful, analytical fellow who up to that time had taught himself all the games he had played.

He came to me because he could not connect what he knew he should do at golf with the physical action of doing it. So as briefly as possible I explained to him the idea of control by remembered feel. He was deeply interested, for though he had taken a course in psychology at college he had not thought of golf as one of the interests in which a knowledge of the subject might help him.

He saw the point, and when he had reflected on it told me this very curious story:

"When I first came to England, the traffic keeping to the left instead of to the right as it does back home nearly got me time after time. Whenever I was going to step off the sidewalk I looked to the left instead of to the right as I should have done....

This got so dangerous that I had to take a dip into my brain-box to find a way of checking it. It wasn't any good just telling myself to look right; I had done that and promptly looked left again! So I decided that every time before stepping off a curb I would raise my right forearm and lench my fist. I reckoned it would draw my attention to the right as desired, and it did. In a few days I was cured."

Do you see the full significance of that story? Here was an intelligent fellow who knew that he should look right before stepping off the curb, but who could not do it merely by knowing that he should do it, because he had been brought up to look left.

Looking left had become a muscular memory with him, and in the control of actions, knowledge and thought can never equal muscular memory. Finding this so, this very intelligent young man decided to build up a new muscular memory with the sequence: edge of curb-raise right arm, clench fist — look right. And it worked.

Now here was a clear case of an effective psychological-physical control being developed out of the necessities of the moment with no formal knowledge of the concept whatever.

Exactly the same development has taken place in the game of every successful golfer.

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