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Comments on the Professional

by Taylor Spalding

Although this site contains some elements of parody, it is not my purpose to disparage the professional golfer. (S)he provides a valuable service to the large community of golfers around the globe. I don't discourage taking lessons either. Even professionals take lessons from other professionals. My aim here is to provide the golfer with some valuable tools to take to the lesson tee. The information provided here is about vital meditations that must be undertaken before one takes lessons. It is also something the golfer can use once the lesson is over, when there is not a stack of balls to hit . . . just one. I do not seek to usurp the authority that the professional has attained through the purity of his or her play. If anything, the concepts presented here could make these official standard bearers of the PGA look more like the geniuses they are supposed to be!  I will not shy away from the controversy these statements may stir up. I welcome it! For when I am labeled a charlatan by all the members of golf's "official-dom," I'll be assured that I am more on the side of correct than not! See my "Anti Guru Credentials."

The primary role of the professional today is to straighten out the "body corkscrew" of the average golfer. The pro must make malleable the body which, through the accumulation of tiny and grotesque tensions over a period of months or years, has worked itself into an inefficient lump of habituation. This brings to mind the David Leadbetter tape titled, "The Full Golf Swing." Leadbetter takes Bill, a fifteen handicapper, and basically does some unscrewing. By the end of the lesson Bill has been worked back to a neutral and relaxed address position. He has been postured in a way that will allow pure motion to act most efficiently through the human structure. This is all fine and good; Leadbetter and many other golf teachers excel at doing that very thing. That process however is not the focus of this material. My question is this: Did the student really learn or did the light bending gravity of Leadbetter's authority as a teacher provide the temporary desired result? Did Leadbetter instill the composure necessary for Bill to repeat that neutral posture and easiness of movement without the slightest thought? The simple truth is that a better form can be had if the prospective swinger upon address, having rested the butt end of the club against his belt, pretends to shake the hand of an imaginary person standing directly across the ball. Immediately at the conclusion of the feigned introduction the swinger then snaps the club from his waist and whacks the ball! Less methodical and detailed though this may be, it is quite direct and does not lead the swinger down the dubious path of thinking.

The professional may be an excellent tool for the student, but the plain truth is that it is up to we the seekers to do the learning. All I ask is that you put the professional, his "secrets" and his endorsed products(thick with marketing savvy) in the proper perspective. Don't forget that just a century and a half ago the professional golfer was the object of sneers and jeers. I can just imagine the aristocrats, who dominated the game back then, saying, "Oh blast it all! What's this inane idea of a professional golfer? How is it that this man is going to teach anyone with more than an ounce of common man's blood --- to be leisurely?!"


Taylor Spalding


At the outset I was firmly against Casey Martin riding a cart. I'm softening a bit on this and here's an article to tell you why.


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