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The Road to Golfing Health: Part 1


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Editor's Note: Percy's discussion of golfing health relates to the health of your game, and not to health aspects you should keep in mind for optimal play and well being. There will be another section on golf health included soon in this blog book.

NOW I could write a whole book on the experience of my golf student I discussed in the Golf Bogey section.

That'd made a very interesting book too, for the case contained all the elements of a perfect illustration of the desirability of some sort of conscious control that could be used to check the often fatal tendency to do the obvious thing.

For do not forget it was Golf Bogey No. 1 — the natural tendency to do the obvious thing — that upset my student's game.

As soon as she wilfully tried to drive down the middle of the fairway she was a mess. When she reverted to the proper method of considering the stroke, not the ball and not the distant green and tried to sling her club head out into the rough on her right — she became a beautiful, sweeping machine again. But note that we only arrived at this happy state when reason had dominated instinct — when her golf had evolved from instinctive end-gaining to conscious control of the stroke.

This conscious control, as I see it, can only be built up in some such manner as I have used in my teaching. Conscious control by feel certainly cannot be made use of simply by accepting its theoretical basis! Nor can it be made use of by copying the style and swing of someone who possesses it! It has to be built up in the individual golfer. And how? I'll tell you later on.

For now, I think it's enough to say that the "conscious" in conscious control is a warning that a fine and experienced golfer is not necessarily a good teacher of the game. Why? Because many cracks do not know how they play themselves — when it comes to anything like a close analysis of their shots — and they have no idea at all of how a beginner must feel in order to make the shots that they make.

Let me illustrate that last point, because it is fundamental to teaching and to learning:

All crack players feel that they swing from in-to-out when driving. I have been doing this so long that it no longer feels a "guided" or unnatural swing to me. Indeed if I feel myself making any other sort of swing I know it will result in a bad shot. Yet with the beginner this in-to-out swing does feel unnatural and gives an impression that the ball will be pushed into the rough to the right. This feeling will of couse be corrected by experience. This disparity in feeling about shots as between the crack and the beginner must never be lost sight of in teaching.

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