Posts Tagged ‘Stricker’

I was over at my friendly neighborhood driving range the other day, and noticed something revealing about most amateur golfers. Most bend their forward arms in all the wrong places compared to the pros. Of course, it got me to wondering why this is. As Oscar Langman, the driving range pro in Philly who taught me how to play in 1960, emphasized, the forward arm is key to maintaining a measured swing, delivering the clubhead back at impact to the same spot at address. Without it, there is not much possibility of keeping the ball in position, hitting it far, and particularly hitting it high. Mostly, you’ll slice, pull, scoop, or top it. I know: the older I get, the more that arm bends somewhere in the back or forward swings. We’ve even given it an Oh-so special identifying tag: the chicken wing.

No need to believe me on this. Here’s what the Hawk himself, Ben Hogan, had to write on the matter, particularly in relation to the shoulder turn on the backswing: (more…)

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In golf, as in life, the idea is to stay in position, to keep the ball in play, even at the expense of distance or too much success too soon. Otherwise, you’re always struggling, always making up ground, always losing strokes just to get back in play, always taking two steps back for each forward. For a touring pro, he may look up one day, perhaps in his 40s, and realize he has not really succeeded in his chosen profession. He has been out of position a bit too often, to the point where that has become the norm. It’s what he knows best and is almost too comfortable with being there. John Daly and Paul Goydos come to mind. Steve Stricker, on the other hand, on the brink of quitting the game after years of being too out of position, fought back to become Number 2 in the world. For the amateur, being out of position, too, may have become too familiar. His expectations begin to slide. He loses hope that his game will improve. He talks himself into believing he’s just out there to have fun and that’s enough for him. Even in business or marriage or health, he has slipped into always being a bit out of position, and settled into that state of being slightly out of balance, more or less. A frustration hovers like a fog, which develops into a mild depression, a malaise, a stagnancy.

And yet, there is a danger in not risking, in staying too safe, in laying up instead of “going for it.” So to play golf and always endeavor to stay in position by playing it safe is not the Ballesteros approach–a way of passion, joie de vie, and adventure. Risk must not be wild, though. (more…)

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