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The Progress of a Student and Teacher

EM originally wrote me to tell me that I was like Ernest Jones on acid. ( see viewer mail # 13) Since then he has worked the Spalding Method into his own game and written fairly often to keep me abreast of his progress. You may think EM is my student; he is also my teacher ;~)  EM's comments appear in red Arial font. My comments appear in blue Times New Roman font.

Visitors: Study The Spalding Method

Here are the chronological links to EM's progress:

3/17/99-no subject
3/19/99-Nothing's Important
3/22/99-Short Game
3/26/99-Get A Grip
3/27/99-Get A Grip, continued
3/28/99-Wrong Orbit
3/29/99-What Now?
4/3/99-Setback
4/8/99-Bobby Jones
4/18/99-Golden Round
4/19/99-Golden Road
4/22/99-Dissolving Method
4/25/99-Dissolving Method, continued
4/26/99-Be The Ball
4/27/99-Grip It, Don't Rip It
4/28/99-Planest Truth
4/29/99-EM finds the Center
4/30/99- EM finds the Center, continued
5/1/99-No Mind
5/13/99-Distraction of Style

Part 2

 

3/17/99 (no subject)

TS,

I continue to work on my swing following your guidelines. Some thoughts:

It seems to me the relationship between what I interpret to be your method and a pendulum is forced. When I swing it feels more like a trance. If I concentrate on the ball and nothing else, maintain that state through the swing, and watch the ball being hit, I don't know what happened, let alone identifying it as feeling like a pendulum.

As I mentioned in a previous Email the connection between EJ's sense the clubhead and your method seems forced. If I attempt to sense the feel of the clubhead I fall into the trap that you have written so much about.

Could it be that your method may be more original then you think, or am I not understanding it.

EM

I'm not sure what you mean by that. You seem to have grasped the basic concepts.

TS

3/19/99 Nothing's Important

TS,

Use my initials, not my name, if you print our correspondence. I eventually want my instructor to log in and don't want to unduly bum him out with my comment concerning his inability to help me.

I continue to practice. The idea of washing appears to be key.

My current TS inspired swing thought:

Each swing is the first of the day and there is every reason to believe it will be good. There is nothing to fix and nothing to think about in the swing. See the ball and nothing else, with your mind quiet.

What's the deal with the swing thing? Even after hanging out on the product web I did not get a feel for its origin, relationship to your philosophy, and its connection to consistently sending the ball on its way.

EM

EM

The Swing Thing? That's a simple little gizmo to help you connect the outermost with the innermost. No training device "works," per se, because the problem in golf is a mental problem involving the essence of time. But as far as training devices go, The Swing Thing is about as close as you can get to a pure mechanism. Its aim is to teach balance, flow, centered-ness, and supple handed-ness. If the movement is pure, the hands (being stable) will have pure
connection to the center of gravity. The result is a perfect reaction of the hands through the ball (waning and welting). It is my belief that the majority of miscues in golf are not caused by mechanical breakdowns but by a loss of connection near the center of gravity. This loss of connection will then become evident as a mechanical flaw. It's why Greg Norman blocks out
weakly to the right when he gets under the gun. He loses connection not in the shoulder or elbow or left pinky but farther inward.

Imagine one of those big cymbals you see in the marching band. CRASH!!! It's now vibrating and warbling. Now touch your finger halfway between the center of the cymbal and its rim. Everything from that point inward deadens. Yet everything from that point outward keeps vibrating. Tiny nuances of tension do the same type of thing in the body. The golf swing is one full bang of the cymbal without interference and tensions of consciousness.

I'm eventually going to get around to that article on True Gravity. But in essence I believe that for every spiral wave moving from the perimeter inward there is a reciprocal spiral wave moving from the center outward. See What is Golden in the Public Web. When we trust that the movement will direct itself perfectly there is nothing to do but look at the ball and move.

Pressed for time. Gotta go.

TS

3/22/99 short game

TS,

I have heard since I started golfing that the short game was important and should be focused on more than the long game. I completely ignored this advice since I reasoned it was important to practice what I was enthused about and it was hard to be enthused about chipping and putting when I could not get off the tee. Using the approach to golf you advocate I now understand the origin of this short game emphasis. Now when I practice the challenge is "seeing the ball" through the entire stroke and this can be cultivated better with the shorter slower shots. Now I practice the short game knowing I am
improving the whole game.

A thought:

What allows me to hit the ball so much better now? If I would not have spent a year studying formalist training would I still be hitting the ball just as well using your method? If so, how? are we born with the ability? Recall Hogan's reply when someone told him he had a natural swing - "there is nothing natural about the golf swing."

EM

EM

My method encourages the golfer to get into a comfortable setup by balancing the upper and lower body. Method here is not quite so destructive and much can be gained by attending to the formalities of alignment, grip, ball position, etc. Once these formalities are attended to, however, the perception of method must be deserted while WAITING for the ball to emerge pristine. When we wholly detach from ideal forms the clubhead is free to move into the slipstream of pure motion and the ball flies like a bullet off the clubface. Of course this effect is muted in the short game but pure nonetheless. In the short game the result is usually a ball flight or path where the ball seems to have eyes of its own. Golfers tend to like that :~)

Hogan was both right and wrong. Swing is one of the most natural events in the universe. Only when we add the golf club do we perceive that it is not natural. We are all born with the natural ability to swing. Yet we are all born with different levels in our ability to let it shine. This method is about peeling away the consciousness not adding more to the heap of knowledge. Everything we need to know is already there. Do you see what I'm saying?

TS

TS,

Are you saying that the swing is innate but the natural ability to find the swing is clouded by any combination of environment, heredity, or just trying too hard?

EM

I didn't reply to this message because I believe he answered his own question.

3/26/99 Get a Grip

I continue to practice. Some thoughts: It is bad when I notice something I'm doing when I'm hitting well. The tendency is to emphasis or consciously try to replicate the "thing" to ill effect.

That's the mind going into What is IT?

This is consistent with the washing concept and the need to see each shot as the first of the day. I agree that the ball can be hit well with any damn stance or grip. But I think we should be conventional in these matters.

What I really meant by some of my comments was simply that performing a WANING motion while getting a pristine look at the ball will tend to purify whatever physical circumstance you are in while swinging.

I find it comfortable to place my left hand well within the bounds of what is considered conventional but this same comfort with the right leaves the right strong. If I move the right into a more conventional, v close to the right cheek, position I can also hit well and perhaps eventually reap the benefits of this position that is championed by so many champions. I know you are working on the Spading grip and look forward to your comments.

I'll send you a copy of The Spalding Grip when the article is finished.

3/27/99 The Next Day

TS,

The next time I write to you to say I'm changing my grip just shoot me. Moving my right hand to a more neutral position was disastrous. My grip is effective and comfortable with the V on the right hand pointing toward my right shoulder and the V on my left to my chin.

3/28/99 Wrong Orbit


TS,

I've recently read and attempted to put into practice my interpretation of "Waking to the orbit of the swing." I was under the impression that I should take the club back and then put it into orbit. I had watched players who obviously had a mental swing picture of "cracking the whip" and was sure I wanted nothing to do with it. They typically fell back on their right leg and generally had an exaggerated "flippy" action to their swing. But, in their defense, if they hit the ball it moved along quite well. I was trying to swing the clubhead. I took the club back and smoothly started it down, as it went faster, I went faster, I attempted to lead the clubhead, racing ahead of it with constant acceleration and increasing velocity right through impact. In short, my interpretation of "swing the clubhead" resulted in a 5 wood with the trajectory of a driver and reduced distance. You can imagine my results with a 3 wood, or driver. I have had success and revelation with the concept
of tossing the club back into orbit and then crashing it down. I continue to find your point of view unique and effective.

EM

No response

3/29/99 What Now?

TS,

I went out today with the thought of putting the club in orbit on the way back and letting it crash back to center. I didn't give it much thought. I tried to remain focused on the ball, but just having that thought in the back of my mind got the ball curving to the right toward the end. I then went back to focusing on the ball with a clear mind and the ball went straight and far and the swing felt great. I now think I can achieve from time to time what you mentioned in one of your Emails - When we trust that the movement will direct itself perfectly there is nothing to do but look at the ball and move.

How do I proceed now since I know that the puzzle can only be solved by not solving it. I suppose I have to develop this kind of "strange concentration" more fully. But how? Should I just keep hitting balls?

EM

EM

When Greg LeMonde, winner of the Tour de France, was asked how he became a great racer his response was, "By racing."

Play more and practice less.

When you do practice, concentrate on the short game and less on banging balls. The long game will grow out of your proficiency around the greens. Practice the long game more in your head while away from golf.

In the course of actual play, work on course strategy. On short par fours think "What club do I need to hit so that I'll be exactly the distance from the pin to hit my seven iron into the green (or whatever iron you have the most confidence in). Play position golf, not distance golf.

Polish your golf etiquette and your temperament and knowledge of the rules, etc.

Teach others to teach themselves.

Buy a Golden Swing Thing and help me put my kids through college ;~]

Study fractals and look at trees. The game is aesthetic.

....???? Trust me, the mystery will only grow deeper with time. As soon as you say "that's it" it's not. Patience is everything in golf.

Those are just some random thoughts. This "strange concentration" is not something that can be commanded to appear. It just sort of happens when you get into the resolute mindset of "just do it" or "see the ball, hit the ball."

TS

4/3/99 Setback (EM slips into formalism)

Bit of a setback.

I went out and played 18 the other day with discouraging results. My divots told the sad story. They looked like knife tears in the sod (toe deep) and pointed most definitely left. Yes, I was hitting from the top. The primitive instinct to hit from the top may be a demon to be reckoned with Taylor. I could only tame it by falling back on a tried and true mantra - lazy back,
left leg, swing. I am sure such mechanical thoughts turn your stomach. I'll explain:

Lazy back: Full relaxed coil
Left leg: Bump forward - and keep your mind on something other then starting down with your hands too early
Swing: For completeness. The left leg bump made it the thing to do anyway.

Back to maze where circular reasoning my be the finest virtue, others just sit in a corner.

What do you think?

EM

EM

Sounds like you need to just wash that round out of your system ;~]

When the observer awakens the sentient sensation hunter awakens as well. I bet you FELT your hands all day.

I'm glad you brought up the left leg issue. My latest article is titled Lower Body Composture: Re-explaining David Lee's counterfall theory. (this article is now in the protected Product Web) It's not posted yet. I'll send you a copy after I finish slicing out some words.

Let me ask you something. In your hits from the top did you notice your weight moving toward the left big toe? When you "bumped the left leg forward" did you notice that the weight moved more to the outside of the left heel?

I think I already know your answer.

I realize I'm descending into formalism here. Just humor me for a moment.

TS

TS,


I'm not sure what my weight was doing when I was hitting from the top but when I bump it definitely goes to the outside of my left foot. I'm not sure if it is more on my heel or not. I'll check next time.

Visited the range today. Here are some observations. What I am describing is the most method based swing I know - the Leadbetter "The Golf Swing" swing. I am continuing to use the mental focus I learned with your method and I'm hitting the ball well - today.

Lazy backswing must get a tension free full coil - if you don't get the slack
out between the upper and lower body the left leg move gives the upper body a jerk - which is hard to control and results in lost power.

The left leg move must not be accompanied by the right leg going up on the toe and sliding toward the target - this pushes the upper body outside the line and the hands have to swing back toward the body to hit the ball - this results in a slice - keep the right heel down until it is pulled up by the turning of the torso.

Don't neglect to swing - after the transition move, swing - the upper body
opens the lower body to the target. If you don't commit to a full free swing after transition you will slice, the clubface will not close.

This is working now - the backswing and the full swing through have been vastly improved by my time working with your method.

I think what needs to be addressed is the nature of the natural "thoughtless" swing. I re-read my Bobby Jones book and he indicates that conscious thought is needed and constant adjustment through various swing thoughts a must.

But you know this:

"We must find out what can be accomplished through method and what can only be accomplished through the whim."

A guess at the golden mean:

Mushin - backswing
method - left leg bump left, right heel stays - (this just ain't natural)
Mushin - swing

EM

No response

4/8/99 Bobby Jones

You expressed interest in the Bobby Jones book and I suspect you find his views hard to dismiss. I continue to believe your method will be effective in the backswing and post transition swing, but the transition is a sticking point. I've attached an animated GIF of the Jones swing that may be of interest. The only book on the swing which I have read that does not indicate the lower body lead is E.J who, or course, only had one leg.

www.golfonline.com/tours/masters/1999/swings.html

Don't forget that Ernest Jones was a great player before he had his leg blown off in the war.

The message may be that you can adapt and hit the ball quite well, but a swing from the ground up is optimal.

All motion in golf reacts to the center. How could EJ have done it any other way? To swing from the ground up would have spun him on his ass! I'm not needling you; I'm just not very fond of that descriptive.

This is the question: If someone who has never swung anything purposefully in their entire life wakes up one morning and is handed an object to swing how would that individual swing?

...by looking at his intended target and moving. It's impossible to mitigate what we oberve as fact with what we experience as true.

a) Would they swing with their upper body?

or

b) would they start with their lower body to give their upper body a running start? What do you think?

Dualism is the root of all evil ;~]

Next Day

Now I remember! I saw that same sequence in a recent Golf magazine foldout section. I remember circling the comments under frame four in vehement dissention. This frame does not prove ANYTHING about motion. To say that this proves the left side is pulling is completely delusional. This is a prime example of yellow journalism in golf.

The left side does this, or makes the appearance of this, because of its position in relation to the center of swing. It would be better to say that "... in the perfectly reciprocating swing the left side pulls so powerfully that the right side can never overtake it. Conversely the right side is pushing so powerfully that the left side can never outrun it. It's all about the center. Once we get to the center, there's nothing left open for speculation.

TS

P.S. Gotta go watch my Cleveland Indians home opener. Sent a couple of Golden Swing Things down to their training camp last month. I don't know if the team is using it but...they're averaging 9.7 runs over the first six games. Wishful thinking perhaps :~)

P.P.S. The reason we are more susceptible to thinking with the woods is that with a longer club there is more time to think. See Heart of a Goof, Chapter six, "The Awakening of Rollo Podmarsh."


TS,

I think I understand your point on the left side. I continue to have some success focusing on the left side starting both the backswing and the downswing. Could it be that some of us are so right sided that we come closer to center by consciously emphasizing the left?

EM

EM

I think we can both agree that dualism is a key problem in golf. Left as opposed to right, up as opposed to down, in as opposed to out, and so on. I suppose my key interest is in understanding the role of the right side. My game, though rusty as ever these days, was transformed when I found trust in the left side connection and allowed the right to pluck the string of that connection.

TS

TS,


I know some good players who are convinced the game is all left sided. I've watched them swing and it is plain to see that an element of completeness and balance is missing. With the big drivers they get the ball out there nicely but nowhere near their potential. Their shots have poor trajectory, very high, not penetrating.

Here is what Leadbetter has to say (The Golf Swing page 116):

"A question I am often asked is whether golf is a left or right sided game. It is neither. It is two sided: both parts have parts to play at different stages of the athletic swing"

"To begin the swing, your left shoulder pushes down, back and across. The right half of your body, as your wrists hinge, then completes the pivot motion back. To initiate the downswing, your left knee moves towards the target. Halfway down, as in throwing a ball, your right arm and shoulder chase down the target line ensuring that the clubhead accelerates and stays square through impact"

"... the swing can be summed up as 'left-right, left-right' with more emphasis on the right in the hitting area."

Bobby Jones concurs with the right hand emphasis in the hitting area on page 119 of his book:

"To my mind the right hand is absolutely useless, except for a steadying factor, throughout the entire backswing, and nearly half of the downstroke, or hitting stroke. Its first real use comes when it assumes command for the actual delivery of the blow"

Notice that Leadbetter advises not to use your right side until 0.5 through your downswing and Jones recommends < 0.5 :)

EM

EM

No offense, but this conversation has disintegrated and fallen into the giant pit of dualism. Let's talk about something else.

TS

TS,

Yes, and worse yet I keep going over the same old ground. I played today thinking left side and though not disastrous none of the shots were great. I have to get back to the automatic swing I was using with my irons the other day, but I have to come up with things to do when automatic isn't working. Things that don't lead back to thinking my way through the swing
and all this left-right stuff.

What are the things to try when things aren't going well?

EM

EM

I think David Duval the "ca-jalien" is better qualified to answer that question :~)

But it seems that all the left/right, this/that, what is the nature of "such"ness? is responsible for the creation of the observer. As soon as we say "what is" we create the time problem and a stepping away from the moment of now. We golfers don't want to believe that the asking of such questions is at the heart of the problem in golf. If there were a formula for stepping into the zone we would all be scratch ... right?

See the ball, hit the ball. Everything else is Suki.

TS

4/18/99 Golden Round

TS

After a lapsing into dualism, and dragging you through it, I have completely recovered. I played 18 today with minimal conscious interference. Tee shots, iron shots, chip shots, and putting all went well. I stayed out of my way and hit some pure shots. I am back on board and won't be so easily strayed next time things go a bit sour. It is unsettling to me that I act with such uncertainty after spending so much time working on this game. I have been over and over formalist methods only to find that after fixing one thing another pops up. I am going to commit the next two months of range and course time to nothing but your method.

EM

EM

It's amazing how energizing the pure shot is. It's like synchronicity. Congratulations on your golden round :~) I think that once you experience that "pure shot" a few consecutive times, you begin to understand what the hell I'm talking about. Time shrinks, the ball glows, motion feels motionless, and effort becomes foreign as you fall into the slipstream. Is that all starting to make sense?

TS

4/19/99 Golden road

TS

Absolutely starting to understand.

Played 18 today. I'm playing a lot because my father is visiting from Ohio. This time started a bit differently. I could not get off the tee initially but the shots were salvageable, my irons, chips, and putting, although not feeling as automatic as Saturday, were working well and I still felt good about the first 9. I knew the problem with the woods was that I could not disconnect the act from the actor.

Time gap between the observed and the observer.

- I could not release conscious control and I didn't know how to begin doing so. On the second 9 my irons began to fade and I noticed the toe deep left divots and slicing ball flight was beginning to appear. This happens when I get tense and really begin to enter into a conscious based swing.

Tension destroys True Gravity.

On the last 9 of 27 holes I regained the experience of the thoughtless swing. Here are some thoughts on how the happened: The experience of walking in the woods or birdwatching cultivates living in the moment and pure observation. To observe the woods and detect wildlife by their sounds and movement without internal commentary on some detail in the scene, or worse yet, memories of yesterday or plans for tomorrow builds the kind of concentration I think we are interested in.

Yes, trees are a wonderful source of inspiration and aesthetic release. To see the paradox of man's endeavor to play games in opposition to nature's instinct to perpetually win the game is always a profound thought. Trees are especially profound if you have a basic understanding of fractals and self-similarity. Krishnamurti used to talk about looking at a tree and observing it purely. In other words, what do we see before we can say the word "tree" or "bark" or "leaves?" What can we observe before we label something? I suppose that's what I'm trying to get at with the whole glowing ball idea. What do we see before we can say "ball?" Can we move before we can conjure up an image of what it means?

I was trying to clear my mind but all I heard was internal commentary that commenced as soon as I addressed the ball. I started the club back
promising myself as soon as I did I would let go and swing automatically but I could not. On the last 9 I looked at the trees and challenged myself not to start and internal dialog about them. I just observed them and went as long as I could before I heard my mind speak. I tried to extend that time on each attempt at just seeing.


Golf as a meditation.

Then on the flag - I would get my grip behind the ball and just see the flag. I would then walk up and divert my sight to the ball and before my mind could speak I would just hit it. This felt absolutely reckless but all the properties of a pure swing were there. I did not know how I swung, time compressed, and the ball was struck pure.

Excellent!

What I came away with today was how unsettlingly uncontrolled a pure swing feels and the importance of a preshot routine to keep the conscious mind out of play. I am thinking that maybe the primary importance of a preshot routine is to keep the conscious mind out.

Yes, it's unsettling because we are dealing with the uncertainty principle. Embracing the unknown is golf's great lesson ...life's great lesson. When sensation is minimized there is no dualism of "this feeling as opposed to that feeling." Could it be the sound of one hand clapping?

TS

4/22/99 Dissolving Method

TS

Played 9 today. Chipping and putting ok, irons marginal, woods pathetic. I think sometimes I tense up and lose flow when I concentrate on witnessing too much.

I think you're reading too much into the method. Concentration is an indication of higher brain wave activity. We want to "de-centralize" the thinking process and slow down the brain wave activity. This means pushing the mental process down into the lower reptilian areas of the brain.

At the end of nine I walked over to the first tee, teed up a ball, and crushed a 3 wood, absolutely crushed it. The difference was I didn't carefully clear my mind and attempt to see the ball.

"Attempting to see" and "seeing" are two vastly different things, just as "attempting to swing" and "swinging" are completely different activities.

I just looked at the ball and hit it. I did this without a single swing thought, the swing had a complete absence of any particular feel, and the ball just went.

Yes, remember the quote of Chuangtse in The Greatest Illusion in Golf?

I think walking up to a ball and hitting it is covered by the Spalding method.

EM

4/25/99 Dissolving Method, continued

TS

Yes I was concentrating. So the idea is to de-centralize. Is that more like spacing out on the ball? Like when you are very tired, too tired to think, and you just stare.

Oh, I suppose. It's very difficult to express the nature of slipping into that particular kind of attention. I believe it has something to do with the rare moment of aesthetic disinterest. It's has the pithiness of a defining moment ...like when you first look at a Van Gogh or a Renoir, gaze upon a magnificient piece of architecture, or take in the Grand Canyon. There is no self-interest there; we just look. It's mystical.

In golf there is tremendous self-interest. We are not just skipping stones; we are counting how many times each stone skips :~/ The nature of the game pushes nearly all golfers toward different levels of mediocrity. And if we don't learn how to be truly playful, the game will play us.

TS

P.S. Trivia question: What does Ti (Chevy Chase) say to Danny just before he says, "Be the ball Danny." ?

P.P.S. I know you said you're having trouble with the woods. Screw it! Next time you go out put only 3 or 4 clubs in your bag. Take a 3, 7, 9, and a putter and play strategy golf and shot creation. I bet you ten bucks you will shoot a lower score than you did last time out with your woods in the bag.

4/26/99 Be The Ball

TS

"There's a force in the universe that makes things happen, and all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen"

Then he says, "...find your center and be the ball."

When you find the center and trust completely that a stable Center will perform the action perfectly, then the hands can be the edge of that Center (review Vital Metacenter).You need only to bring the hands to stability. Tension separates the hands from the Center. Letting them be a part of the Center allows perfect reaction.

Recall that the idea I had coming into this game was to simply read books and practice until I could play well. I didn't have the "just go out and play golf"
experience. From the beginning my efforts were focused. Now I have to back out and just play. I was at the range yesterday with a jumbo bucket and a cup of coffee digging toe deep left divots. The straight level divots of my golden
round we're no where to be found. I could hit a slice or a pull, both results consistent with an outside in cut across the ball. I said I was going to use your method exclusively for two months but I felt I had to fool around to try to find out what was going on - I have been plagued by this type of thing from the beginning. I tried a Bobby Jones exercise. I still let the ball be the only sensation but I simply put my feet together, the ultimate in a narrow stance and an emulation of the way EJ played post accident. It worked, the narrow stance let me swing the club straight through the ball. It seems that the narrow stance lets my lower body move with my swing without me "doing" it.

There is nothing wrong with drills.

You are no doubt correct that I will play better without the woods. I have played with only irons to better results. But I want to swing the club and I believe the irons are just forgiving enough to get along without a true swing. I want to swing. Let me try again. Is this a true statement? You have to be passively focused on the ball with the mindset that any outcome of the shot is equally acceptable?

Any other approach takes us out of the "Now" moment. Passivity in action is key! This is a very difficult notion for the hunter gatherer mind set to accept ;~)

TS

P.S. Do you wear a glove? How long does it last?

4/27/99 Grip it, don't rip it

TS

Interesting you should ask. My brother and I were just talking about that. We agreed that although hitting the ball consistently was still a deep mystery our gloves were lasting longer which we reasoned was due to swinging the club and not squeezing and jerking the thing around.

I'm working on an article about how the Momentus swing trainer works as a complimentary device to The Golden Swing Thing™. (This article is now in the Product Web)

Axiom: The greater the mass outside of the sensous sphere the lighter the grip must be. A more assertive grip is less disasterous when less mass is encountered.

The right hand works on top and inside the swing sphere and is closer to the clubhead.

EXPERIENCES LESS MASS

The left hand works underneath and on the outside edge of the swing sphere and is farther away from the clubhead.

EXPERIENCES MORE MASS

A reduction of tension in the left forearm and grip will prevent the left side from breaking down and allow the delicate and crisp right fingers to pluck it fully from the True Center. The weightiness of the left side mass is enough to guarantee connection. There is no need to tense the left. Let it cooperate. You'll be hitting clean crisp divots before you know it. Keep intact the Spalding Triangle. Pinch the right forefinger and thumb, the left armpit a tinge, and move those two points in harmony with the navel. All will be well.

Worn out gloves prove that we are flaunting the facts.


I've had the same two gloves, which I alternate, for about 3 or 4 months of hitting almost every day. I used to go through the good ones in a week and the cheap ones in a day or two. I was going to quit wearing the things due to expense. I hit the ball well today. Some thoughts: I have noticed two times your method worked like magic (there were many others it worked well). Both times were after a bout with the formalist notion of starting with your hips. I can't play good golf thinking about starting with my hips. But it seems to help to "burn it in" and then forget about it and use the thoughtless swing. At the range today the ball was again fading and slicing. I tried the following:1. Starting with the hips - no2. Making sure the club was brought back without crossing the ball target line - no3. Finally just swinging the thing a bit like a baseball bat, more around my body, less upright, hands not so high - yes I then went back to the golden swing idea with a dash of I don't care and hit the ball nice and straight.

EM

P.S. The outside in swing path is a nasty problem for many. What do you think?

4/27/99 Planest Truth

TS

The instructor I went to last year spent most of his time trying to get my hip turn right. From the beginning I had no clear notion of how the hips should be used. He thought there should be very little hip turn, that hip motion should be mostly lateral. He believed it was best to swing the club straight back and through. He reasoned that this type of motion was more compact (simpler) and less sensitive to ball position than the inside, square, inside stroke advocated by others. He had a lot of spine tilt in his posture, my spine is much more upright. Therefore the square, square, square swing was stillperpendicular to his spine (read square, square, square as an exaggeration), my version of this swing took the club well out of the plane of orbit created by a rotating cylinder (torso). So guess what happens when you start back down - the dynamics of the situation cause the clubhead to seek the plane perpendicular to the axis of motion, and if it had time it would get there, but it only has time to overshoot outside in through the ball.

The hips are reacting to Center, but...

Stop. Don't confuse yourself. All you should know is that because the torso tilts forward and the fact that the arms are attached on the opposite sides of the torso, two things happen.

One: the right hand wants to move back straight (direction wise) and steeply up and,
Two: the left hand wants to move around and flat

The plane, bite my tongue, is the mitigation of those two tendencies. If the hands are stable this cohesive non-effort will happen on its own and the hands will meld at the invitation of intuition. I say intuition because in this unfreezable moment of time the mind should be all ball and not wrapped up in philsophical ponderings and mirror checkings. I do however believe that intuition is blocked accutely through left arm tension.

New article in the product web! go to the what's new page.

I'm strongly convinced that one should let stupidity (mass) reside in its most sucseptible side and deftness (direction) in its own side. I don't think any one side can perform both adequately. It's hard to be both deft and stupid in the same action.(Of course I look at the world and see it happening all the time ;~o )


What you just said about your teacher is just the thing that makes golf a difficult game to teach.

Keep in mind that it is fairly easy and often fictitious to look back at past events and fabricate a nice clean story.

Your Email helped. Especially the idea of the left armpit and hands moving with center from the beginning. This and the concept of swinging more around
myself is working.


Check that: left armpit and right hand. Let the left hand be dumb.

I was out in the garage tonight hitting into a net. I was having trouble feeling how flat to bring the club back.

The right hand knows. The right hand communicates to the center through the left arm and its connections. When the left arm is supple, the right hand encounters less garble.

I used the Hogan swing plane idea and thought it worked well. I don't think the swing plane idea is really a formalist evil. It is not prescribing motion and can be implemented hard or almost subliminally.

Yes just like the seduction of knowing something through memory only to chase it through time and away from the moment of "right now."

The problem with the net, of course, is that you can't see a slice.

Rethink that word evil ;~ )

TS

4/29/99 EM finds the Center

TS

Yes, I think I'll stop before I confuse myself. Played today and got off the tee 6 of 9. The last 6 of the 9. I can't flatten my swing plane. It's a bad thought and it wasted the first 3 holes.

That's good -- not good that you wasted three holes, good that you realize how fruitless it is to attempt to think.

Thoughts: The only way to relax your body is to relax your mind. I am so keyed up when I get to the first tee it's no wonder I can't hit the ball. I can't really swing until I get comfortable with the people I'm playing with and the situation in general. It does me no good to try to relax my body.

I hear you brother! Get there early, chip and putt, look at trees, and take deep breaths in between practice shots.

After I stopped messing around with my swing and just looked at the ball and swung I started hitting them. I had some time so I played a couple extra holes. I thought I would field test your advice: "Pinch the right forefinger and thumb, the left armpit a tinge, and move those two points in harmony with the navel. All will be well" Ok, I've found that's way too much stuff so I thought I would swing the club and navel together.

It's not too much if you put it into the context of upper body composture. "move two points in harmony" is fairly abstract. It would be better to say "move all points in harmony with center." This is accomplished through WANING.

I say left armpit is because this area is the most unstable lever point in the form. It becomes more unstable when the mass below it becomes tense. A tinge of "excess connection" in the armpit is good so that the left arm and torso can work in unison. Any tension in the tissue below will work toward the diconnection of the arm with the torso ...brittle.

My other point is that the very smart right hand communicates with the very smart Center via the conduit of the very stupid left side connection. When we experience the "fear of the unknown" that fear creates tension in the left hand and forearm and garbles the communication between the right hand and the Center. The left side wants to know things it has no business knowing.

Golf gloves...condoms for fear. ;~)

I tried this and it worked very well. Maybe for the first time I sensed the "center" you talk about. The ball as the only pure object and the mindless swing concept I picked up right away but I never experienced the "center" sensation. I had the distinct impression that I was hitting with center. I was rotating about it from the beginning of the swing and then I had the feeling of my "center (navel)" shifting direction, rotating and whipping everything through around it. Is this center?

If it is, then you already know ...and it will be difficult for you to keep it a secret.

P.S. Read the article and even got the correct answer. You continue to run a little contrary to Hogan and B. Jones who recommend swinging the club back
with the left arm and the right just staying out of trouble. But - Hey who cares - your stuff works better. The Vardon story was interesting. I'll check my left verses right grip pressure I never gave any consideration to differential grip pressure.


Remember though, the taking of the club in the hands should be a battle of the two sides for lightness. Only when it can't get any lighter, then you may let the vital metacenter gently and curtly assert itself. Think deft right ring, not smother hand.

TS

P.S. Oh, one more thing. I tested out this swing theory on a child. See A Child Verifies the Axiom in the product web.

4/30/99 EM Finds The Center, continued

TS

Hi, I read the story about your baseball game. I think it's interesting and you have a point the I'm definitely going to experiment with. To keep the piece accurate I think you should make the following distinction: Bobby Jones did not advocate the left sided swing. He believed the right hand should enter in about halfway down. Other formalist like Hogan and Leadbetter state the right hand is the more powerful member at impact. Although Jones doesn't say it explicitly I have the impression he would not be at odds with this. With all due respect, don't sell the general population short. I've yet to meet a genius and I'm surrounded by (name of prestigious institution deleted) people all day. Bobby Jones states there is nothing occult about the golf swing and Hogan states he wrote his book because he believes it's not that hard. What is hard is conveying it and that's where you are unique and effective.

Thanks. Perhaps I'll substitute "uncanny giftedness" for "genius."

Boy did I have fun today. The boss decided it was a good time to play hooky and, well, he is the boss. We left at 2:00 and were on the first tee by 3:00. The course was nearby but I hadn't played it before. I'll be back often as it was a beauty. The weather was perfect. I took up were I left off yesterday; hit with the center. I was very relaxed and not overly concerned about the shot as I set up to the ball. I got off the tee 13 of 14 times, irons good, short game good. I think I may have a piece of the "center" concept but I'm not sure. Here are my impressions: When I practice your mindless swing method the impression I get is that my mind doesn't go back with my swing (or hands or clubhead) it stays with the ball. I feel my swing is happening nearby on the periphery of my conscious awareness.

Yes! effortless! ... WANING


Before the thing happening nearby was mainly club and arms pulling torso and hips around and then on they way back again perhaps a feeling of more torso and arms. With the swing I've been experimenting with lately the impression is that thething that is happening on the periphery (backswing and downswing) is all driven by what feels like hip turn but it's origin is
a bit higher.


Yes, the Golden Center. It's about an inch above the navel and sits opposite the pole occupied by the center of gravity. It forms a ring around the navel. I kind of lump them together and call it True Center. If you take your height and multiply it by .61803 the result will give the approximation of your golden center. It's esoteric.

TS

P.S. The technique that I explain in Extending the Shortgame Technique really helps me personally step into the moment of the shot. When I work this technique in with the walk and waggle it really helps me zone in on the ball without freaking on it and cues my body as to how effortless and conservative the swing movement is.

5/1/99 No Mind

TS

Visited the driving range today with the "no mind", "center" driven swing - wow. My impression is that it is a very forgiving, powerful swing. The forgiving part gives me confidence it will work on the course in the future as it did yesterday. It's powerful yet effortless and everything above and below center just happen without a thought. Center is only guided by a hint of the will.

"A hint of the will" yes! Just a tiny bit of will goes a long way. It is when we become "willful" that all goes awry. It has to do with the difference between conviction and desire.

It's ironic that I used to spend all my practice time trying to control the things above and below center. I read "Extending the Shortgame technique" again. I remember dismissing it initially because I didn't think there was any bloody way I was going to be able to get the retinal burn in to persist long enough to find it in all the clutter of a real scene. For putting and chipping I continue to use the dark ball stuff - I could not put or chip before the dark ball stuff, not at all. I hung a white towel from my hitting net and got the "fried egg" image you wrote about when hitting full shots into the white towel - pretty neat.

The technique is more powerful if it is used for the short game first and then extended to the longer shots. The idea is to train the eye to virtually track the ball as it comes off the clubface. Then the intuition can visualize the projected path to the target. We are trying to time the eye. If we throw a projection in the mind of what is going on in the swing or what should be going on (mechanics), the eyes gets lost. Attempting to recover them becomes futile.

But, I would have to stare at the ball on the tee to get my burn in. Then I would have to try to track the darn thing as I looked out toward the flag over a very complex scene. All this while trying not to care and attempting to let my mind pull back to idle. This seems to be very mentally active stuff.

Again the idea is to time the eye movement with the "virtual strike."

For short pitches, chipping, and putting I focus on the ball and burn in. For everything else I look at the ball, but not with the retinal steadiness required to burn in. But, I know better than to not give it a try.

5/13/99 Distraction of Style

TS

Played 36 yesterday. I fouled up the first couple holes with the "hit with center" thought. I'm finding that if it's a swing thought, it's bad. I then went back to wash, walk/waggle, wait, witness - and I hit some great shots. Got off the tee very well, almost routinely. I think the "hit with center" thought emerged through the "noticed something that happened when I hit well" mechanism and is inconsistent with the notion of washing and just does not work. Center happens without conscious intention.

EM

Here's a great one :

"There are few of us wise enough to learn, once and for all, the lessons here taught, viz.: -- 1st, that as soon as any point of style is allowed, during the shot, to occupy the mind more than hitting the ball, a miss, more or less complete, will result; 2nd (and this is less obvious), that nobody can acquire complete uniformity."

Sir Walter Simpson
The Art of Golf, p.124

The rest of the quoted paragraph is brilliant as well.

TS

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