by Michael Hebron, PGA Master Professional, CI
Smithtown Landing CC, Smithtown, NY
We've all hit a great shot and then said "that felt great" but have you ever
stopped to identify what the feeling was? "If you don't know golf as a game
of feeling, you are like a deaf man trying to play the piano by ear",
according to Ben Hogan.
Perhaps in the past you have tried to improve your swing by paying
conscious attention only to the different elements in the swing. Are you
overlooking what the motion "feels" like?
Feel can bring a personal point of reference to every element of motion.
We should use it to personalize information when we are improving our golf
swing. Feelings can provide a very important connection to the golf swing.
Words can only act as a reference, they are not the action itself. When we
pay attention to the feel of an action or reaction, we can create a "feeling
image". When the feel of our action is combined with a picture, learning
improves 70 percent. In reality that is what the effort is all about, maximizing
your ability to learn and improve.
The right brain is the portion of the brain that controls motions such as the
golf swing. The right brain only understands pictures. It does not
understand words. Our job is to put words into actions and become aware
of what the action feels like. As long as we do not consciously interfere, our
brain naturally associates the feeling of the motion with a mental image or
picture. Once we become aware of the image that we associate with the
feeling of the swing at hand, we are able to recall the picture and thus recall
the desired swing. If we try to just recall a word without a feeling image, our
right brain has no way to associate it with a specific motion.
Tips for Developing FEEL
• Hit some balls with your eyes closed
• Don't try to alter your swing from stroke to stroke
• Be aware of what the motion feels like
• Be aware of what you are doing before, during and after the swing
• Get absorbed in the feel of the clubhead
• Get absorbed in the feel of one area of the body
• Get absorbed in the feel of the ball or the target you choose
The suggestion to hit balls without adjustments or evaluations may sound
strange to you. By focusing first on your present swing and learning what it
feels like allows you to make it repeatable. Your feel will vary at first, but
you will soon recognize the feel of your swing which leads to consistency.
Leaving your swing alone is the only way to learn the feel of what must
change. So, be aware and just observe what you do. If you could repeat the
same slice every time, you would be better off than many golfers who do
not know where their ball will go! Once you have developed the ability to
feel and be aware of your current swing, you can start the process to
develop a new or different swing.
Copyright Michael Hebron, 2008, all rights reservedback to top