In a recent blog, I mentioned Moe’s comment to me about why he was so available to help and teach me an allow me into his inner circle. We were playing golf at Cope town Woods Golf Club in Ontario.
Moe said, “Because you wanted it.”
While this might seem like a simple fact – of course, I wanted it. I could think of quite a few people who I thought wanted it. But in Moe’s highly natural world “wanting it” meant much more than trying and hoping. It said that I was willing to work at it and unwilling to stop until I had it.
Moe knew what it takes to have a great golf swing. It requires much more than effort. It takes grit.
This flies in the face of those who ask me “How long is this going to take to learn this?”. This might be the most unanswerable question ever asked. Moe would have said “It will take as long as it takes” which implies that you never stop.
Moe knew that I would never stop trying and learning. I was relentless. He knew that I had a particular ambition that few had. I wanted to have a great golf swing. Others wanted to play great golf. There is a significant difference.
The way I solved my golf swing problems was easy. I copied Moe. Most people try to hit great golf shots. Most people treat golf like a quail hunt, occasionally they get lucky and flush one out of the brush. They rely on the occasional acceptable result to measure their progress. I didn’t do this. My measuring tape was Moe’s swing. I hate guessing. So I eliminate the guesswork out of the golf swing. I either matched his movements or I did not. If I didn’t match them, I would change. Ball flight didn’t matter, the campaign did.
This other mindset makes all of the difference. It commits you to learning movement rather than practicing for results. It takes patience and determination. It requires self-analysis.
I have seen very few people who can ignore ball flight. Most people have a difficult time practicing movement when it comes to golf swing training. However, if you look at how other change related sports were taught, you will find that games like dance and martial arts focus on the moves first and results later.
Can you imagine fighting a black-belt if you are a beginner? You would dance around the ring and just pray you didn’t get hit. That is what golfers do. They take-on the golf course without the appropriate skills, and they get their butts kicked. Then they complain that they are frustrated. Let’s face it. You get your butt kicked because you’re untrained against the competition. You need to refine your skills.
We all know, Golf is a challenging game even if you’re good at it. Acquiring the skills should be priority number one. The more skills you have, the better chance you have to win once in a while. Having the passion for building a powerful golf swing was the bond I had with Moe. He saw my love for the pursuit of perfection. It wasn’t always easy.
During a Canadian tour event at the Royal Woodbine golf club in Toronto in 1995. Moe and I were having lunch as he tried to encourage me. “You won’t believe your eyes once you get it, you won’t believe your eyes.” Moe knows that I hadn’t mastered his swing yet. He knows that I was making progress and that it would eventually come. To this day I still can’t put the finger on when “I got it.” To be completely honest, I still fiddle with my swing occasionally. Maybe I still don’t have it. Even Moe might not have completely “had it.”
I once asked him why he kept practicing he said: “To make it stronger.” I certainly understand this. It seems that you can always make your swing better even if it appears perfect – that’s because we’re all human and we are physically changing all the time. The only thing you can do is keep training and practicing.
What’s important is that I love and enjoy the pursuit. Every subtle adjustment and slight change makes my swing as Moe would say “purer.” One way I know that I am close is that small changes are more natural now. I also find that the swing takes less work to maintain. I don’t have to practice much, but it sure feels better when I exercise more – and stay mobile.
If I take too much time off it takes me a day of swinging to get back into rhythm. This is because a significant golf swing is a series of movements in the proper order – in the appropriate timing sequence. Timing is what gets out of sync when you don’t practice, even if you have great technique. I recommend making swing motions every day just to keep your rhythm, even if you don’t hit balls you need to move.
One of my practice routines is to do what dancers do when they are learning the movements of dance. I stand in front of a mirror, without a golf club and make full swing motions. I work on my body motion and sequencing just to keep the feel of my golf swing rhythm. This is part of my workout routine.
I was recently invited to give a golf seminar to some beginning golfers. I only had about 45 minutes to teach them the golf swing. I started them by learning the movements of the golf swing and then showed them the sequence of the motion. Then they attempted to hit about 20 balls. The next day I talked to them, and many of them mentioned that the muscles in their backs, hips and arms were sore.
I said yes, golf is very athletic. The body is a machine full of bones, muscles, and tendons. When you move it in new ways, it adapts. Being sore is a beautiful thing – it means you changed your body. These is how golf swings are learned.
I really enjoyed the exhibition on Thursday. Every time I see you I get new nuggets of information that are so key to the swing. This time is was discussion about rotation of the hips and how over rotation can inhibit the swing. Also, the sequence of the swing is so important. Great demonstration of these ideas! This article reminds of the importance of getting positions correct in the swing…without hitting a ball. One of my favorite quotes of the exhibition was “take a step without actually taking a step”. I’ve been walking around at work taking a big step with my left foot to get that feeling so I can match the feeling when i swing. Thanks again.
Last week one of the emails you sent was about the right hand position; is it too weak. Interestingly, it’s not just important for hanging on to the club, but it also puts your body in the right address position and makes it easier to maintain secondary spine tilt through impact. I remember you repeating what Moe said about the address; if you don’t have a good address, you got nothing. The setup determines the motion. Good grip, good address position, good ball position: Good shot! Pretty much every time.