To Feel or Not to Feel

To Feel or Not to Feel

Education, Learning

18 December 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.