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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jack Nicklaus Talks About Fundamentals

I really wanted to include a swing thought or two from Jack Nicklaus this month. Regardless of which side you take in the great "Jack vs. Tiger" debate, there's no doubt that Nicklaus is one of the top five golfers in history. (No, Jack and Tiger aren't the only great players. Sam Snead had 82 PGA wins, and Gary Player has over 160 worldwide wins. Neither Jack nor Tiger has matched those totals yet, so I'm unwilling to say that they're the top two. It's my blog and my opinion; live with it.) At any rate, when Jack Nicklaus talks, it pays to listen.

Problem is, Jack has written so much (and been quoted so much) that picking just one or two thoughts is tough. But I think this thought kind of sums up a lot of his mindset, and it's a thought that most weekend golfers can really profit from. It's actually the first paragraph in his classic book Golf My Way:
I am not a believer in "methods." I'm a believer in fundamentals. Whatever any golfer does with a golf club should have only one purpose: to produce correct impact of club on ball. If he can achieve that consistently, the manner in which he does so doesn't really matter at all. (p.15)
There are so many methods being taught these days, and I've mentioned some of them in this blog. But any method, no matter who teaches it, is only as good as the fundamentals that it's built on.

I really try to focus on fundamentals in this blog. I don't claim to be some great teacher; I just hope that what I say is so basic to the game that anybody can use it and improve. But it's up to you to do the thinking, to pay attention to your game and understand what you have to do to hit good shots.

I remember, years ago, playing behind a guy who had a pronounced over-the-top swing. Most people will say that's a fundamentally flawed swing; but he was a weekend player, not a pro, and I think the fundamentals can be a bit different – especially when you don't have 8 hours a day to practice. Anyway, I ended up being kinda jealous. This guy may have had a slice, but it was controllable; it always landed right where he was aiming. And he hit it solid. He hit almost every fairway and every green.

My swing may have looked better, but head's-up he would have beat me silly.

Don't listen to anybody who judges your swing; just listen to your scorecard. That's where consistency shows up, and consistency comes from sound fundamentals.

At least, that's what I hear Jack saying... and he didn't do so bad.

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