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Golf Swing: Knowing Less is Sometimes Better

Golf is a simple game of putting a ball into a hole three times its size. The course offers an open path and provide transportation to get the hole as well. The golf swing supplies kinetic energy to propel the golf ball to the hole. The golf swing can be anything but simple and we make it more complex by trying to pile more and more techniques, tips and tricks on top. Sometimes, making golf simple makes it easier.

The Speed of a Golf Swing

Before we talk about doing less, let’s examine the timeframe of a golf swing. According to Andrew Rice Golf,

The PGATour average time for the backswing is right around 0.75 seconds, with an additional 0.25 seconds for the downswing. Notice that ideally there should be something close to a 3:1 ratio of backswing time vs. downswing time. That means that on average a Tour golfer will strike the ball in about a second from when the swing starts.

So we have that blink of an eye to make all elements of a golf swing come together.

Check out that club shaft flex.

What Makes Up a Golf Swing

The golf swing is a combination of movements. Let’s see how the Great Ben Hogan described them in Ben Hogan’s Power Golf:

The illustrations within the book are very detailed and breakdown the elements of the golf swing.
  1. Starting the club back, the hips shoulders, arms, and hands move simultaneously.
  2. Wrist strt breaking at waste line. Left knee starts to break inward toward the right foot.
  3. My left ankle starts to roll in toward the right knee.
  4. At top of backswing, my wrist are almost broken to their maximum. The right elbow points down. the left arm is straight. The left should turns underneath the chin.
  5. Hips turn to the left to start the downswing.
  6. Shoulders start turning next.

Do I need to continue or have you already fixated on one element of that swing description? “I need to roll my ankle because that is the one thing I don’t do.” you say.

Are You a Potter or a Sculptor?

When I was studying Jeet Kun Do with Sifu Micah Farris, he imparted some wisdom of Bruce Lee onto me. He described Bruce Lee’s martial art as taking only what worked in real life and discarding what did not. A potter will slap more clay on until the piece is done while a sculptor chips away the marble until only the work of art remains.

So, ask yourself:

  • Do you watch countless YouTube videos based on searches for what ails your swing?
  • Do you concentrate on one single element of the swing?
  • Do you really know what is wrong with your swing or do you think what’s wrong with your swing?

You have stacked more on to your swing and golf process.

The Wisdom of Kunu

The ageless Paul Rudd makes me laugh every time he is on screen. One of my favorite roles of his was that of surf instructor Kunu in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. During a surf lesson with Jason Segel, Kunu repeats his advice of “You are doing too much. Do less.” Despite this clear advise Jason Segel because paralyzed with confusion and just lays on the board.

If you find yourself paralyzed by over thinking the golf swing, just remember Kunu and do less. How do you do less in golf?

  • Slow swing tempo down
  • Shorten backswing
  • Use one club. Only hit your 7 iron.
  • Breath

So If you are trying too hard to lock in on one element of your swing, remember do less. Go to a Zen place and do less. Stop trying to play golf and just play golf.

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