To Feel or Not to Feel

The Golfing Machine - Tuesday, December 18, 2012

To Feel or Not to Feel, That is the Question


Recently Steve Whidden, PGA wrote an article in PGA Magazine where he states that it is necessary to help our students to “play with feel instead of thoughts”. Let us examine his statement. During this examination we will look at the word “feel” and its many connotations.

When you ask someone how do they “feel” are you asking about their state of wellness? Their psychological state or how they sense something? This word has many different connotations and many different ways of internalizing its meaning. Everyone has a different way to explain their “feelings”, therefore, none of us would explain them exactly the same. For example when asked, “How did you feel about the movie?,” some will answer it made them sad, others will attest the scenery made them feel blissful and others still may state the movie created a euphoric sensation. Everyone watched the same movie, and everyone has a different way to explain their “feel” for it.

No two people sense things the same way. Feel cannot be taught and the extraordinary thing about “feel” on the golf course is that today it was warm and your body felt nice and comfortable, tomorrow however, it will be cold and rainy and that will change the way you feel or sense your environment and therefore, change your “feel” on the golf course. Not only do different people feel things differently, but the same person may feel things differently each day.

Some golfers describe themselves as “feel players,” effectively criticizing technical thought. But if greater consistency is the goal of golfers at every level and a golfer’s feel can change daily, then it stands to reason that greater emphasis on the scientific properties of the golf stroke that Mr. Home Kelley espouses in The Golfing Machine will help many any golfer more consistent.

I substantiate that when you are on the golf course you should think about the environment and what you must do to hit your golf shot safely to your target. You must think about the stroke you are about to make; ask yourself was this practice swing strong enough to carry the ball that distance? Only you know the answer.

The total golf motion from address to finish takes less than 1.5 seconds and the downstroke takes about 1/2 of a second. The “feel” that you get after a swing is compilation of that whole motion which included the crashing of the club and ball. This impact between club and ball creates the experience which most golfers term as feel. If the ball went exactly where you want it, then it felt great, but if it were off target then it did not feel as good.

Now, feel is based upon impact which lasts between 2/10 and 4/10 of millisecond. This is the precise reason Mr. Kelley states that “golf is a game for thinkers, and that alignments are more important than positions.”

Understanding and working on your alignments then YOUR game will be less likely to fall apart. Make your motion based on YOUR alignments and you will be happier with your game.

Feel will change based on the situation at hand  but the alignments are forever and they can be adjusted as you see fit.

Unfulfilled or frustrated with your golf or Instructor?

The Golfing Machine - Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The lack of results in your golf stroke may not be your fault. During my tenure with The Golfing Machine (TGM) book, which started in 1977, and my association with the Authorized Instructors beginning in 2000, I have witnessed many students taking lessons from non-Golfing Machine instructors. The information uttered, stammered, regurgitated by most golf instructors is awful, despicable and downright embarrassing to a properly trained and educated TGM authorized golf instructor.

Being a college graduate, I have attended many lectures and I am able to follow most people and their train of thought. However, when I listen to golf professionals “teach” I am embarrassed; they are simply spouting off as much information as they can in 30 to 60 minutes. Often, they try to impress their student with their knowledge of golf. Do they have an agenda or lesson plans prepared? Usually, and unfortunately, the answer is: No! Do they follow a logical progression from one thought to another? Again, no! Can they give a complete explanation of the concept and how you are going to integrate it into your swing? Sadly, no! Then why are you wasting your precious time and money with them? Please remember that if your instructor says “here is what I do,” this usually means he does not understand the complexity and variability available in the catalog of golf strokes.

Here is an example of what a golf instructor recently said to a student: He stated that the arms are not raised during the backstroke, “they do not go up,” he said stringently. This statement he made is absurd and not raising the arms during the backstroke makes hitting the ball impossible. A proper golf stroke cannot be made unless arms are raised by using the proper musculature; if these muscles are not activated, the arms will stay by the side. The correct muscles must be activated in order for the hands to go up to shoulder height in any full golf stroke. This hapless and unknowing student, however, did not question this instructor; he took this farcical statement as fact.

I hope you begin to ask your instructor questions and I suggest you ask him a lot of questions; if he cannot properly explain to you how and why the concept under question works then it’s time to find a more knowledgeable instructor. Remember, you success in golf is directly correlated to your instructor’s knowledge. If he states that “this” is the most recent swing model, again it’s time to find a new instructor. Proper geometrical alignments, physics and biomechanics never go out of style; they are the backbone to any good instructor’s knowledge base.

To Lag or not to Lag that is the Question?

The Golfing Machine - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mr. Homer Kelley wrote in The Golfing Machine that Clubhead Lag was the “secret to golf”. Clubhead Lag by definition is the bending of the Clubshaft during the Startdown of the Downstroke. It occurs because the static Clubhead is inert and resists the change of the direction of the players body especially the arms which in turn bends the Clubshaft as the Clubhead tries to remain stationary. The secret of Clubhead Lag takes time to understand, effort to apply and diligence to master. The question is it necessary?

“Apparently there is no factor including Clubhead Throwaway (no lag – when the Clubhead out races the hands into Impact) – that cannot with proper assembly, adjustment etc. be worked into a fairly effective stroke pattern for some application or other” (1-K). Mr. Kelley wrote that even without Clubhead Lag a person could play golf, however, in 3-F-7-A he states that clubhead throwaway or loss of lag is Steering.

Here is where you the golfer must put on your thinking cap and decide what is best for your game. You must sift through information and opinion about this topic of “Clubhead Lag” and take a stand. Anyone can make a statement that sounds logical and in golf there are hundreds of experts with their personal viewpoint, their opinion of what the “tour players” do and these “experts” have the right to their opinion, but are their thoughts logical?

Is it logical to think that the clubhead should out race the hands to the ball? Or, is the logic of Imapct explained that the Clubshaft is forward leaning by design. Is it logical to shorten the radius of the golf stroke from the left shoulder to the left wrist? Is it logical to believe that a shorter radius will move faster than a longer one?

Let us consider an analogy of a water skier. Visualize a person being pulled on skis by a boat, this person and his center of gravity is directly behind the center of gravity of the boat, he is lagging behind it. Now, consider this person stretching the ski line and moving in an arc around the boat. As he makes this movement around the boat his center of gravity is catching up to the boats center of gravity; and the moment the center of gravity of the boat and the center of gravity of the skier become in line, the skier is no longer being pulled as now he has caught up. He has nothing to pull him and he does not have any means of self-propulsion and therefore, he slows down and sinks. Similarly, once the clubhead becomes in line it cannot move itself as it does not have any way to propel itself, it is reliant upon the golfer’s pivot for propulsion. Therefore, the clubhead will be moving in its own orbit, while the golfer’s Power Package and Pivot have ceased to be effective.

If you believe that the club will propel itself, that it has the ability to swing itself, then you are welcome to this belief and the “constant struggle for consistency” (3-F-7-A), and the Clubface with be moving without rhythm. However, if you desire to be consistent and to have a better golf game, then we welcome you to the world of The Golfing Machine and its Secret of Clubhead Lag. We and the Authorized Instructor base are here to assist you with your golf game.