If I were to gather up about a dozen typical three-year old kids, put an appropriate baseball bat in their hands, tell them to hit the ball I will throw to them, and then start to pitch underhanded, the results would generally be adorable but hardly stellar from a success point of view. Most would miss the ball completely on a consistent basis, swinging too high or low as a result of having little experience and perception at that young age about the way a ball moves through the air. The children would swing too early or too late, particularly if I intentionally altered speeds a bit. If I really wanted to be cruel, which I often am, I will move my arm as though I will throw the ball and then hang on to it, and watch many of them swing hopelessly anyhow. In addition to experiencing this type of behavior first hand when playing with tots, my dad also set me straight in no uncertain terms about how pitiful I was at figuring how to hit a pitch when I was a youngster, missing the ball by literally a foot day after day, week after week, etc. as he worked with me. Very conveniently I suppose, all I seemed to remember for a long time was how good a hitter I frequently managed to be in subsequent years, but now I do not doubt that my father spoke the truth about those early days. His findings reinforced mine regarding learning the skillful art of hitting.
In taking those same children though, leaving them with the same bat, placing the same ball on the ground motionless, and telling them to hit it again, the overall results would change measurably. Many may struggle again at first depending on the individual, but if I left them alone for about an hour, upon returning I would find most of them banging the ball around pretty good. While the muscle strength, some consistency, and countless other experiences needed to play golf successfully are ordinarily still years away, half of the unadulterated swings I saw would have motions that are as well formed as any on the planet. Based on these observations of life, I am simply amazed how, in the process of moving from playful childhood to supposed adult maturity, the golf swing according to so many has somehow evolved from virtual simplicity itself into one of the most difficult movements that a human can possibly attempt. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is more than one explanation for the development of this stigma that has plagued the notion of swinging a golf club, which I will present in upcoming posts.