Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Old Dog Project: A slow dance toward a balanced swing

(Jan. 18, 2011)
We had been clear about the concept of working from the ground up – starting with putting, progressing (I presumed) through chipping and pitching, and then to the full swing.

Lately, Tom Staskus (the teacher in this little drama) has taken me from putting right into a swing that’s as close to full as it needs to be right now.

It’s not out of sequence at all – we’re still on the ground. It’s all in the feet, man.

If the feet aren’t working, the hips aren’t turning, the weight’s not shifting from the back leg to the front, and therefore it’s impossible that your arms and the hands that hold the golf club are working in synch with your body.

It’s like a slow dance with a loved one, Dr. Tom says. Don’t force it, just go with it. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

When I feel that feeling in the longer swing, the teacher says, I’ll be able to find the same rhythm in the short-game swing.

“Not bad, kiddo,” Staskus said after a recent session. “I like the pace we’re going.”

It’s too easy, in severe middle age, to stop trying to learn, to stop seeking out the people who have something to teach us. Golf, in this case, is the subject of choice, and relearning how to learn is at least as important, in the greater scheme, as hitting a golf ball.

He calls me “kiddo” and I have to laugh. I’m older than he is. But you take your mentors where you find them, and you learn your lessons as well as you are open to the teaching of them.

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