The future stars of the games next generation aren't going to be found in some upper class country club or national elite squad team. No! The future of the game is born out of the street and boundless possibilities the urban landscape has to offer. With such a vast expanse of creative space to express themselves this concrete course will cultivate the most exciting wave of talent the game has ever seen. From both a mental and physical standpoint this fresh new breed will bring elements of life's struggle, the street life instincts for survival but most importantly these success hungry expressionists will inject life and color.
With the endless possibilities every bustling city has to offer, we have before us the greatest platform for escape of mind, freedom of soul and attitude for greatness. If we can get into the big city, target the deprived, inspire the fighters and throw a line into the struggle we can channel and shape the many kids that seek to challenge their own self worth. Give them a real golf club, a soft ball and a target to shape it to and I guarantee we have ourselves the rawest new beginnings and quite possibly the games future alternative to the now seeked golfing machine.
Its a long shot, hell what chance do we have in handing a street kid a weapon and a ball?
Maybe not straight forward, but what new direction is?
And it was probably the most important book he ever scribbled in.
Full of thoughts, ideals, feelings and beliefs this book is a testament to the life of a passionate practitioner. A man so totally consumed by his art and craft for human shaping he will probably never be surpassed as a true golfing genius. His life in the game is a testament to the raw art that is human shaping through the medium of golf. His references to the finer talents of the artistic world and the graceful analogies of artists holding fine musical instruments and tools of great expression provide a clear understanding of the great mans appreciation for the game as an art form.
He considered the hands as the most vital fundamental of them all and described the best hands on the golf club as a pure work of art. He handled every fresh pair as a sculptor handles every mold of clay, like its set in stone for as long as thy shall perform with flair and instinctive expression. He undoubtedly had a deep appreciation for the heart of all golf swings. He said if you have a bad grip you don't want a good swing. With a bad grip you have to make unattractive adjustments in your swing to hit the ball squarely. A great looking swing with a poor grip would knock many a ball out of bounds.
Mr Harvey Penick ultimately stood for one thing, simplicity. He was a master of spoon feeding the pupil with only the most appropriate and relevant information for the individual before him. He knew people because people were his life, his achievements through those that seeked his wisdom is unprecedented. He never conducted lessons of more than one pupil as he believed the temptation of others to grasp unnecessary information of no relevance to themselves was to risky. Working with one pupil is as pure as the teaching art form gets, developing and shaping that players unique strengths and key tendencies is the ultimate road to self sufficient greatness.
Harvey is a legend, he is remembered in my teachings as he is pursued in my dreams.
To what extent has this piece of technology corrupted the natural evolution of swing?
Have we forgot how unimaginable our world and this precious game would be if everyone of us became a machine?
Invasion of the robo golfer is surely not upon us!
This sole destroying invention is by know means a prime example of the modern golf swing. Yes it has the power to repeatedly strike one pure arrow after another but ask it to hold a solid iron shot against a right to left breeze and I'm afraid you have a malfunction! Ask it to knock down a 7 iron approach into a tight pin location and it break downs, the creative work space is missing and quite frankly leaves its future in the hands of the scientist who built it.
Constantly fiddling and fumbling around the meaning of the word Art.
Because you see this is no doubt where the dawn of modern swing thought was born, out of minimal movement governed by pure core strength. Room for that vital human reflex of lateral movement has been eliminated in mans quest for the straight, no curve ball flight. With special attention to the in vogue FAD that is STACK AND TILT you can instantly appreciate the motive for this golfers writing. If the golfer remains fixed with his weight planted on the front foot and develops an unnatural reflex for turning on a fixed axis he believes he will produce the consistency of Mr Iron Byron.
If Mr Nelson could see this he and Ben would be disgusted.
Mr Byron Nelson could be hailed as the godfather of the modern swing as it was he who first mastered the art of swing with the introduction of the steel shaft all those years ago. Please try and feel my disgust at the association of such greatness with something so emotionally lifeless. Don't get me wrong its place in the game has been undoubtably formidable as far as progressive club design and ball developments. A subject I could also write aggressively negative points of view on.
We must never forget the human character we all are, yes totally unique to one another and individual in every facet of the players makeup. The very action of swinging the golf club with the hands and arms as we stand to the side of the golf ball demands a certain level of movement from the large muscles of the core that essentially react in support. Yes thats right, the smaller, faster body parts, the hands and arms are there to swing and direct the force created by the weight of the golf club. The bigger, slower muscles of the bodies core are there to support, through resistance on the back swing it stores energy before unleashing its power into the increasing speed of the club, hands and arms on the downswing.
If you swing your lead arm away from the ball you can't help but feel the body move laterally in support, thats a good thing and quite simply essential in a pure golf swing. Take a ball and draw your arm away from the target in preparation to throw it as far down field as possible. I assure you the body has moved away from the target laterally in response to the arms need for support and firmly planted your mass of weight on the rear foot. Now throw the ball as far as you can and I assure you the first reflex in the through throw was a firm planting of the lead leg and weight into the lead foot. It provides the greatest sense of speed, power and distance. Hell, its a natural reflex and one of essential requirement when propelling the limbs down field weather it be to throw a ball of swing a golf club.
When you swing your arms you shift your weight, it stabilizes, supports, stores and injects the power needed to strike great golf shots.
Learning to purely turn on a fixed axis is unnatural and frankly far from healthy practice for a human being of any physical makeup.
The machine is designed to strike arrow straight shots time after time, well I can safely say the game is not won with a straight ball flight. The ball must curve one way or another, deciding which way is down to the individual, controlling your shot shape is all you ever need to concern yourself with.
Enjoy the process of swing not the science of technology.
Can I tell you the only thing you should ever be working on?
Controlling your golf ball!
Now tell me the most important point in the swing?
Now tell me why?
Because this is the deciding point that decides how the golf ball is going to be influenced.
So what has the greatest influence over the flight of the golf ball?
The club face!
Now what has the greatest influence over the club face?
That's right, the HANDS!
The hands rule supreme over everything as its your only contact with the golf club. Everything you feel, sense and react to internally and physically is formed around this vital connection.
So you're working on a position or movement in your golf swing?
Why do you think that happens?
Because you're totally unique and built like no other person on the planet. That's why!
So can you in grain the muscle memory to over ride this?
You probably can but will it last forever?
I can assure you not!
Ok you may have some success but I guarantee you the amount of work required to sustain it will be immense and quite frankly a waste of time and talent.
Before we continue just ask yourself why you are trying to perfect the look of your golf swing?
What's wrong with the current flight of your golf ball?
What's the flight of the ball telling you about the condition of IMPACT?
Is it curving in flight? Which way? Is it high? Is it spinning? Does it start left or right of your target? Does it stay on that line? Or does it curve further away from the target? Or does it curve back across the target line? Is the divot deep or shallow?
These are the questions a great teacher is asking himself with every new pupil he views.
His role in the beginning is that of a golfing detective who's only concern is the players conditions at impact.
He knows and respects the flight of the golf ball reveals all and all diagnoses comes from here. All the clues are there, impact and ball flight, he can diagnose exactly what's happening in the swing and which fundamentals/ what part of the setup is causing it.
Controlling these conditions is all the golf swing is about, and controlling them is a matter of manipulation through adjustments in the address.
The BASIC FUNDAMENTALS of the SETUP are all you need to control your IMPACT.
Impact is key and ball flight is your teacher. My job is to educate as many players as I can and give them the skill to look after their own golf game without my constant help.
As the great Peter Thompson says, 'the modern players are too coach dependant, in my day you looked after your own game and never relied on anybody'.
That's my man and that's my ultimate goal with everyone I work with.
You can all be your own best teacher, you just need to start looking at the right things.
Modern coaching has become way to concerned with the positions and movements within the swing and almost totally lost respect for the positions before the swing. The introduction of video and freeze frame footage of the golf swing has most certainly given us great insight into the key elements of an effectively functioning swing but how relevant is this? How controllable are these key positions during the swing? But more importantly, why do these effective positions occur in the best players in the world? What's the common denominator?
Add this to a winning ATTiTUDE and you have a supreme golfer.
The world of top flight sport is seriously big business, its literally saturated with cash, corporate, tv, big brand money train politics! And with cash comes people, the lucrative world of sport especially golf has been corrupted by wealth and turned over by commercialism. I'm afraid the day of the individual, the artist, the passionate shot maker, the true champion golfers are lost in a crowd of money hungry bastards. The pilots of this game, the hangers on are disrupting the pace of this games natural evolution in their selfish effort to make that quick buck.
Its time to make a return to simple, ball controlling fundamentals. The day of the creative shot maker is upon us once more.
Operating or effectively performing to a level of excellence through a higher or multi level of conscious thoughts, feelings senses and imagination. An out of body experience that elite performance athletes search for in a quest for excellence.
When a top flight golfer enters the zone, he has reached a level of thought that allows him to focus on more than one of the feelings or sensations associated with the shot before him. He can allow his body to react without conscious awareness of his bodies reflex movements and remain totally fixated on the target and feelings associated with the shot before him. He can give up controlling thoughts and focus all his attention on the target, essentially he has total trust in his skill of execution and going in search of the only thing that matters - THE TARGET.
If we refer back to Miles Davis for a moment and the sounds he created, on listening for the first time the listener is forced to reject it and typically label it as rubbish. Why is this, well if you haven't experienced the sound of Miles Davis between the period of 1969-1972 then go listen. 9 times out of 10, people don't get it, this is because the sounds are so diverse and so bold, vibrant and hypnotic as individual journeys that combined they just sound like a mess. It really is a matter of disturbing the listener and then demanding their attention, you see this kind of music as with all great art is demanding and so appealing to those with great intrigue and a desire for understanding everything around them. The more you listen the more you get, the more you get the more sounds you define, the more defined your favorite sounds, the more emotionally connected you become with the music. As you study it, you discover new sounds, you go in search of the sound then add another then another before you're lost in a piece of music that is demanding you function on Multiple Levels of Consciousness. The sound takes shape and the feelings it creates are like nothing any other piece of music will possibly ever create.
I assure you its demanding, just as the game of golf provides a fresh challenge every time you step onto the course, finding the mental state of mind that allows you free entry into the ZONE on every stroke is equally as tough. Or is it? If we look back at the music of Miles Davis, in its simplest form its a series of layers of individual sound and hearing the complete piece of work is a matter of focusing your hearing on one sound then adding another then another until you hear the complete sound. Its your pathway to the ZONE, in golf it should be no different only you're dealing with and focusing on layers of a correct procedure. You can fall into the ZONE in much the same way, by simply following a simple routine or procedure for effective shot making.
Starting with an evaluation of the situation before you, hows the ball lying? Where's the pin location? Where's the danger? Where can I miss this shot? Where's the wind? Take on board as much information as you can and build your senses of feel and awareness upon it. Now identify the shot shape and trajectory best suited to achieve your target. Now select the club needed to perform the shot and rehearse the reflex action as you effectively feel it. With a clear image of the shot in your subconscious mind you have a free and open mindset with which to effectively execute the shot before you. You are essentially in the ZONE and FREE to PERFORM with a CREATIVE REACTION.
Multidimensional Consciousness is a highly complex subject, its a level of human thought very few individuals ever fully experience. Working towards it is the only sure fire way of guaranteeing your mind is on the demanding road to excellence.
The more you think it the less you actually behold it. Allow your mind to wonder within the confounds of perfect preparation and every fresh challenge the game has to offer.
Everything he did was a statement.
Every breath, every blow of his horn, every move he made, both in life and music was a pure reaction to everything around him. Not once did he stop to think or ever doubt his instincts. He lived his life through an acute instinct to create and continually push the limitless boundaries of both mind and body. Not only did he create sounds so ahead of there time, Miles Davis redefined the genre we know as Jazz and opened the doors to exactly what it is. In his own words, 'you can call it what you want', its anything and everything artistic expression should be. Its FREE, and thats what Mile Davis was, he was so free of constraints, opinions and beliefs, he was never controlled by others, he was a genius, an individual, a outlaw, a visionary, totally unique. He created sweet sounding, critic loving music, he redefined it, he created new directions in Jazz and fed the world with easy to appreciate sounds that could appeal to an elite minority of music lovers. But Miles wanted more, he was an artist and wanted a far greater reach, he wanted a younger more impressionable audience. He was into the young sound, the fresh beats of the day and wanted to express his intake of everything around him to the next generation of music fans, he wanted to be on the pulse of the day, the inspiration of tomorrow. He wanted to interpret the appealing funk rhythms, electric guitar, keyboard and distortion possibilities of the modern era. His intake was clearly overflowing with inspiration and creative emotion, to the point where he was forever in search of new sounds and possible ways of expressing it through ever diverse rhythmic patterns and fresh new arrangements.
His stature within the art of sound and the Jazz world gave him the power to pick and choose literally any musician he wished, and he only wanted the best and the best would join him because Mile Davis knows how to get the best out of everyone. Simply putting musicians in a room and giving them a note to run with, he would play without rehearsal, without forward planning, the whole creative process was about exploring oneself and talent with the instrument before you. Recording with Miles was a raw creative adventure amongst talented artists, it was never controlled or planned, the only thing Miles cared about was the quality of the musicians he was surrounded by. That was a BASIC requirement, with the best basics he knew he had the freedom to create whatever he pleased, and whatever he pleased he so did.
Miles Davis was never motivated by money, sure he enjoyed the rewards of talent but what drove him was a passion for creative freedom. Freedom of mind and body to create new sounds with constantly more colourful depths of emotion.
He was totally into himself and music, consumed by creation.
It may seem strange to of found this piece in the middle of a blog so totally dedicated to golf, I hope you can see the relevance of Miles and why I hold him in the highest of regard. It doesn't matter weather its Golf, Music, Film or Flying, all that matters is you stand yourself away from the crowd and shout as loud as you can with the talent you have. Never fall into the pack, remain passionate and dedicated to the art of limitless possibilities and you are well on your way to the freedom required to lead the pack and push the boundaries set forth by the legends before you.
Over control means know control - Respect the basics and let yourself go - give up control to gain control