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Overview of the Spalding Method

by Taylor Spalding

I hope that the Spalding Method will advance the understanding of the modern golfer. The Spalding Method was developed to help us realize the paradox between our true play and our pursuit of games. The goal of the Spalding Method is to urge the golfer to find repose and harmony within the context of this paradox. This is the peace making aspect of the method.

The professional may say, "You need not hold the club like an angry gorilla!" What carries us to this pensive condition, however, is quite remote from the question of golf. It is profoundly connected to our temperaments and to the illusions we cling to in the realm of consciousness. The keynote of the Spalding Method is this: The fact of correctness is always subject to the tension created by the question of correctness. This condition can be called "the tension of consciousness." You see, when there is NO question, the movement is guided by intuition ... much like the evocative movement of the artist's brush over the canvass. The question is not, "How do we learn golf?" The question is, "How do we stumble into art?" This work we must do from within; we alone must address our temperaments. This internal duty is far beyond what the professional or casual observer can surmise. It is far beyond any training aids, even the ones of my own invention. The Spalding Method is an introspective guide and a simple tool for self-teaching. It turns us toward the necessity of destroying method in the instant of swing.

The question of swing creates a time problem. The corruption of our movement occurs in the time gap between what we observe and what we experience. In this gap a misty cloud forms and obscures the "pure" view of the ball ( See the article titled, "Witness The Ball" ) The seeds of this cloud are the fragments of doubt and the remnants of method. When we dissolve this time gap we open ourselves up to the possibility of the artful movement. This opening up to art is not something that can be taught. It is not something to be gained by ambition. For this reason the Spalding Method is composed of ten simple words. It is a simple, precise, and yet incomplete description of the art. When we integrate these words and their meanings into the total action of art, we may then be more susceptible to falling "in" to the whim of it. This feeling of falling "in" is quite remote from the torture we endure through the clawing and scratching of our egos. To see the method in a non-linear fashion, please go to the Method Triangle.

But the thing in itself is beyond words. The whim cannot be created through any step by step process. What urges us to move beyond the limitations of words and description is the perception of immanent beauty and a return to the awe of our existence moment after moment after moment. This adjustment in perspective involves a de-mechanizing of our sphere. For this reason, there is not a word to be said of "swing planes" or "hip turns" in the Spalding Method. These terms are helpful in the spirit of observation but useless to direct experience. This method is only concerned with the whim, the freedom that arises when the mind is void of all concept in the "Now" moment of swing. Even to use the ten terms is dangerous; it could lead to mechanical thinking in some form. But each of the ten W's is directed toward action. How the student integrates the concepts surrounding the ten intuitions (ten actions) is dependent on the student's unique mental makeup. Knowledge is only useful when it provides a perch for us to take to flight from. In that leap, we leave what we know behind. When we come upon this simplicity we find ourselves at peace with the game. We find the inner smile. In this way we may practice constancy even in the face of our own delusion.

Please take a look at the outline for Making Peace With Golf. Many of the subjects in the outline are not discussed here at the goldengolf site. Though many articles will be added in the future, some subjects such as "Detaching from ego and meaning" may never be covered. These elements are highly subjective and require more effort from the reader than from the author. (And for the author to pre-suppose that he knows the answer is not only a delusion but an insult to the reader). These deeper things naturally come into the awareness as we become comfortable in the nature of golf’s golden paradox. When we expose ourselves to this reality there is no need for instruction; the revolution in golf has already begun.

Copyright 1994, 1995, 1996, Golden Barefoot Golf


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