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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Bobby Jones on the Feel of a Golf Swing

This quote comes from the book Bobby Jones on Golf. It sort of goes against the grain of most modern thought, but I think a lot of golfers would find the game much simpler if they believed this legendary golfer.

Bobby Jones with the Grand Slam trophies

Here's the complete quote:
There is nothing occult about hitting a golf ball. In fact, although the application may be a bit more complicated, we use no more than the ordinary principles of motion we encounter numberless times every day. Once started upon a correct path, the club will tend to hold to its course until outside forces cause a change.

The great fault in the average golfer's conception of his stroke is that he considers the shaft of the club a means of transmitting actual physical force to the ball, whereas it is in reality merely the means of imparting velocity to the club head. We would all do better could we only realize that the length of a drive depends not upon the brute force applied but upon the speed of the club head. It is a matter of velocity rather than of physical effort of the kind that bends crowbars and lifts heavy weights.

I like to think of a golf club as a weight attached to my hands by an imponderable medium, to which a string is a close approximation, and I like to feel that I am throwing it at the ball with much the same motion I should use in cracking a whip. By the simile, I mean to convey the idea of a supple and lightning-quick action of the wrists in striking – a sort of flailing action.
That doesn't mean that strength isn't useful, only that it's used to create speed rather than create power. It's a different way of thinking about golf.

And most players would probably be longer and more accurate if they tried to swing as Jones suggests, rather than pretending to be cavemen (or cavewomen) beating a mastodon to death. I'm just saying...

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