Here is part 3 of the Golf Rhythm series of articles. Please, accept my apologies for the long delay in uploading this installment.
I won't bore you as to the details of why I have been off-line for a while, other than telling you that my kids consumed all the broadband for the month during school holidays, and I was unable to do anything worthwhile with appropriate speed during most of what was left of the month.
I have also being experimenting with a few changes in the look and feel of golf-swing-magic.com, to bring a few functionalities to the site. You won't be able to see them yet, but they will eventually come to you.
Anyhow, here is the next installment of the Golf Rhythm series by Percy Boomer. Enjoy!
We have timed a shot well only when we feel we have remained a long time in contact with the ball.
If we stop the forward pull of the left side at the moment of impact with the ball, we do not set up the resistance necessary to take up the shock of impact and at the same time to keep the club head accelerating until the ball rebounds from it.
In fact if we let up on the forward pull when we strike the ball, we "stop the club head at the ball" an absolutely cardinal fault in swinging.
That is why I always tell my pupils (and repeat it time after time in this book) never try to hit the ball; cultivate a sweep through the ball, and let the ball be nothing more than an incident in the swing.
Until you have built up your correct psychophysical reflexes to control Golf Bogey No. 1 you will have to use your will power not to try to hit the ball.
Your club head has to sweep down and through, gathering speed progressively. But the climax of this acceleration, as I tell you, must be not at the ball but away past it.
If we make the ball our center of attraction, our acceleration will culminate at that point, and since our effort will be exhausted, we shall not be able to "stay with the ball."
Now I have found that people who feel like this do so because they overswing.
Overswinging is the natural result of trying to hit the ball; the three-quarter swing is the natural result of trying to sweep through and past the ball.
The three-quarter swing puts the natural climax of acceleration of the club head where it should be, about a yard past the ball, but if you go back too far, you will not be able to maintain acceleration to this point.
From this arises a curious and valuable illustration of teaching methods. As you know, I do not like simply to say to a student: "You came down outside," or "You are overswinging."
These faults are mainly not mechanical at all; they arise from a false conception, and if I correct the false conception, the fault cures itself. In this case I found that the people who were overswinging were doing so because they were concentrating on the ball.
When I had explained that the climax of acceleration must be a yard or so past the ball, their back swings began to shorten automatically -because they felt the need for a reserve of effort to enable them to go on past the ball.
In short the good golfer measures the length of his back swing by the feel of his follow through. He is not consciously aware how far back he goes but he is aware of the acceleration climax point away past the ball.
This point and not the ball is the true center of the swing, and obviously the farther past the ball it is placed, the shorter must the back swing be.
In passing, I may point out that the conception of the center of the golf swing being away past the ball explains the meaning of the instruction to "hit your mashie shots on the down swing."
If you try to do that, you will land into trouble.
When using your mashie, you simply put the ball nearer your right foot (because of the shorter club) and again swing through the ball, thus taking it on the down swing.
Timing, then, is:
- The gathering up of speed through the ball from correct mechanical movement, and
- a correct conception of the location of the swing center.
These two can only be blended into a whole which can be faithfully repeated time after time by our sense of golf rhythm.
If, as we stand on the tee, I tell you to hum over the first two bars of the Blue Danube and then the first two bars of the Sailor's Hornpipe, you will get the sense of two quite different rhythms.
You will not find it difficult to recognize which is the rhythm of the slow, flowing swing-which it is that Mme Lacoste used when each spring we went out together to play a few shots to tune her swing up.
She was the one who told me that if she found herself swinging too quickly, this rhythm would put her right again immediately.
Incidentally until your own rhythm is well established, it is liable to be affected by that of those you play with.
One of the reasons why Mme Lacoste finds a few holes with me a good tuning-up process is that my own golf swinging rhythm is very similar to her own!