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The Greatest Illusion in Golf(cont.)


The most learned of the game believe that the swing is a pendulum. We may observe pendulum and contemplate it endlessly. But until we are the pendulum we cannot really know it. We know that the pendulum will swing and change direction, wane and return; if we grab hold of the weight at the end of the string we destroy the properties of swing itself. If we enter into the sensation of swing we likewise destroy the properties of swing. Having conditioned ourselves with the ambition for knowledge, we fail to let the hands wane because we cannot release our urge to observe it by attending to sensation. Often it is only after we enter the "I give up" state that the ambition to know is released and the pure motion emerges. Golf is passivity in action. The true swing is a senseless act in which we can hardly believe we moved. Upon its completion only the awe at the sight of the ball rocketing straight and true remains with us. The energy of equanimity abounds in us as the ball bounces as if purified by slowness..

It is impossible to anticipate a reaction within ourselves, though we are resolved to try. That is what the true golf swing is . . .a reaction. The stable state of intent is simply the "will" inextended. When the will is extinguished at the very start of movement the body becomes free to react. That perfect reaction is called mechanics. The golf swing is nothing more than "a dynamic start." There is a tendency in golf to invoke the term "mechanics" as a catch-all kind of phrase. We apply the term without the rigorous understanding of the mathematical elegance supporting it. More importantly, however, is that no matter how great our understanding of mechanical laws may become it is still worthless in the face of the shrinking moment. Suddenly we are grappling with infinities, trying to catalog the events of correctness in the face of the wizening instant. We observe the professional and search for clues to his mastery. But what we observe as the content of his swing is sheer emptiness to the professional we are observing. Only when the player consistently enters this emptiness does the true form emerge. Only then does it become Fred Couples’ swing, Raymond Floyd's swing, Nancy Lopez's swing, your swing, and my swing. Imitation is an overtly flawed approach to learning. We all have distinct physical compositions. Though we share a common set of parts, none of us are connected in exactly the same way. It is therefore completely useless to apply the layman concept of mechanics as a barometer for the correctness of the golf swing in any individualized form.

We require a clearer understanding of the pure motion beyond its effect on the rocky outcroppings of bodily parts. For this reason we must nurture the reality of Waning and Witnessing. The terms are precise enough to indicate the necessary action, yet broad enough to prevent the mind from grappling with what can only emerge through the intuition. Mannerism and style are always subject to waning . . . the only swing mechanic.

It is the mind ripening to emptiness that we must cultivate. This emptiness, born in our Waking, is expressed in Waning and Witnessing, the "pinnacle of nothingness." And from these we discover Welting. But before we can approach these purer notions, we must work toward detaching, in a positive way, from other aspects of our own conditioning. This requires a certain attention to attention.

We must look at the mind and inquire about its tendency to become disquieted. See all the illusions and then empty the mind. When the mind becomes empty the ball is truly seen in its primal state where it has no title, no name. If we look closely, we will find that the mind clings to its own past experience and taints what is now with both broad and specific summations of what has been. Aided by the dubious aspects of memory we tap the ego, the whirlwinds of authority, and the ambition for respectability. Memory, as a means of attachment, is a tenacious foe blocking the creative experience of the now-reality, the crackle of life.


Copyright 1995, Golden Barefoot Golf


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