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Learning Golf with Inverse Functioning Part 1


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Learning Golf with Inverse Functioning is the last chapter of Percy Boomer's book "On Learning Golf".

I have divided it into small parts for your easy and quick digestion.

There is a curious evolution in the learning of golf which for want of a better phrase I have called inverse functioning.

It arises because we have to teach certain movements directly in order that they may later be used indirectly.

Consider the pivot.

We have to teach you how to pivot by telling you or showing you how it is done and asking you to do it that way. That is, we teach it directly as if it were an end in itself.

Yet, no good experienced golfer pivots directly like that-his pivot is the outcome of his correct conception of the follow through.

The act of pivoting has two basic functions:

  • to guide the club head,
  • to generate power.

We know that we must feel that the club head is brought onto the ball from in-to-out and that the peak of the activity of the club head is reached two or three feet beyond the ball.

So we do not hit at the ball or down the line of flight-and the experienced golfer has found that the pivot is an essential factor in producing the in-to-out sweep, through the ball that he has found to be correct because effective.

Now it is really important for you to get this difference in outlook or feeling clearly realized, because until you do, you cannot be anything but a mechanical golfer.

So I will put the same thing to you in another way. When you watch a good golfer driving, you may feel that he has a perfect conception of the pivot, but you would probably be much nearer the truth in thinking that he had a perfect conception of the follow through.

If you asked that same golfer how he pivoted, he would quite possibly propound some involved and elaborate theory to you when actually he would have been more truthful had he said, "I don't really know how I pivot, but I do know that when I feel like I felt today I can sock that ball milesl"

In other words, again, his beautiful action has evolved not out of the study of how to turn his body but out of a feeling of how to swing past the ball.

So, when I explain to a beginner the mechanical workings of the pivot, I know that I am beginning backwards But, just as soon as I can, I reverse the pupil's conception.

As soon as the pivot is sufficiently well established for the pupil to feel the club head move from in-to-out, I switch over from the pivot as a movement to be made to the pivot as a means of encouraging the club head to travel from in-to-out.

And soon most of the emphasis can be put on the feeling of in-to-out, because if he retains this feel his pivot cannot have been lost.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Learning Golf with Inverse Fuctioning.

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