Friday, April 30, 2010

A Golf Lesson with Thom Schuyler (Terrible idea)

Most that have played the game will tell you from time to time that golf was invented by dark demons from Satan’s den of hellish torture. It is not an easy game. If you are playing pretty well right now I’m happy for you but you will suck again very soon. Trust me. Twenty-five years ago – at the peak of my very modest game – I got my handicap down to 7 at a lovely and challenging old course in Nashville, TN. Although it never got lower I did stay in single digits for 5 or 6 years. Twenty-five years later I’m doubtful I could break 90 on any course. I have no swing, no positive swing thoughts, no new equipment and no confidence.
Anyway, I played in a great tournament this past weekend – much to the chagrin of my partners – and I happened to get paired on the second day with one of my favorite people – a great college basketball coach and a real good golfer whose game has temporarily hit the skids. Walking down fairways together we discussed how golf instructors offer opposing advice for any issue. For instance, should I place more weight on my toes or my heels when I’m addressing the ball? Answers: Toes, heels. How far should the ball be from me at address? Answers: Reach for it a little, as close as possible. Where should the ball be in relationship to my feet from the perspective of left and right? Answers: Play every shot off the left heel for consistency, move it little-by-little in your stance from left to right as the clubs decrease in loft, find a spot that works for you and keep it there. So, it’s confusing. One thing I do know about playing a round of golf (and I’ve often heard pros say the same thing:) pick one thought per round and concentrate on getting that right (steady head, flexed right knee, rotating around your spine, etc.) and you’ll have a better chance of making some really good shots and turning in a decent score. The option is to go through a rather long checklist before and during every shot.
1. Relax
2. Pick up the club with your left hand in a manner so that the ‘V’ created by your left thumb and pointer finger is pointing toward your right shoulder.
3. Place your right hand on the club in a manner so that the ‘V’ created by the thumb and pointer finger on your right hand also point to your right shoulder.
4. Relax your grip on the club. Do not strangle it. (You will note that the real strength in your hands emanates from your ring and middle fingers.)
5. Place your feet a comfortable but stable distance apart – about the same distance as your shoulders.
6. Flex your legs to a comfortable and athletic position.
7. Keep your back straight.
8. Place the weight of your body equally distributed between your toes and heels and the left and right side of your body.
9. Relax
10. Place the ball a reasonable distance away so that the club head meets the ball in a natural way based on your current posture.
11. For starters, imagine a line running perpendicular to your body starting just inside your left heel. That’s where the ball should be.
12. Try to keep your head in its original position – not moving left to right or turning – during the entirety of the next section – the swing.
13. Begin the swing by pushing the club into a natural motion with your left hand (rather than pulling it away with your right hand.)
14. Allow your left shoulder to follow its natural path and turn well beneath your chin.
15. Hips should also be equally involved in turning.
16. Load up a good portion of your weight to your right side as the club continues its back swing.
17. Keep that left arm (this is all presented from a right-handed perspective) very straight – (DO NOT ALLOW IT TO BEND.)
18. When the club has reached a position behind you in which it has become parallel to the ground you have reached the maximum back swing distance. At this point the club should be pointing toward your target.
19. Begin the down swing with dominance from the left arm allowing your shoulders and hips to turn back through the same path they just traveled.
20. The club head is designed to strike downward upon the ball rather than ‘sweeping it’ off the ground.
21. Try to maintain a visual perspective wherein your body and head stay ‘behind’ the ball into impact and finish with a complete follow-through (DO NOT STOP THE SWING ONCE YOU MAKE CONTACT WITH THE BALL.)
22. Finish ‘high’ with your belly facing your target.
23. Say, ‘Shit!’ or ‘Fore!’


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