Are You Afflicted with Golfer’s Brain?

Last post I divulged that by using a “more natural” grip to hold onto a golf club (no overlapping or interlocking of any fingers), one may substantially increase the chances of hitting a golf ball noticeably farther with no conspicuous loss of consistency in ball contact and/or travel when using any given golf club.  (It might take some time to get “re-accustomed” to such a grip and any accompanying swing changes if one has gotten used to an overlapping or interlocking grip).  In continuing with what I will term even “earlier fundamentals” of golf club gripping than others begin with, let me first make sure you understand an elementary truth before you try to convince yourself that your swing has all of a sudden become better and/or stronger if and when you obtain such results.

The strength, accuracy, and consistency of one’s golf swing is based on the muscle, flexibility, and coordination throughout every inch and part of one’s body, from the tips of the toes to the tips of the fingers and up through the neck and brain to the very top of one’s head.  (I am referring here to one’s pure golf swing, isolated from all other factors such as the inclusion of a golf club and golf club fit, which can confuse the issue at hand).  Anyone believing that the overall quality of one’s swing will change in a quick and/or dominant fashion by simply altering one part of the body in any way (moving the hands further apart or turning them to a stronger position are just two of infinite examples) has been afflicted with Golfer’s Brain.  This unfortunate condition, caused mainly by a lack of specific knowledge, is extremely widespread throughout golf.  I have previously noted that typical golfers are often considered by many in the know to be less athletic than their counterparts in most other sports.  Additionally, however, typical support personnel to golfers (swing and clubfitting advisors, etc.) are also often thought of as being less perspicacious than their counterparts with respect to capably comprehending even their own sport.  Since many golfers eventually become support personnel, this link should not be surprising.  Evidence supporting such views can be found daily, though there are certainly exceptions and some terrific people in the golf industry.

While gaining sufficient education and experience are the best strategies for defeating Golfer’s Brain, I admit it can be a chronic and difficult disorder to completely eradicate given the number of infectious sources still within the golf industry.  I very often indeed analyze my own behavior at day’s end only to find that I sometimes have had a bit of a relapse myself just when I thought I had completely conquered the condition.  Believing a golf swing to be more difficult than most other activities is probably the most potent “bacteria” that leads to contracting Golfer’s Brain.  I briefly refer to selected past Waggle Weight Wisdom topics regarding how much easier it is for even a child to start whacking around a motionless object compared to the higher level of difficulty encountered when he or she tries to hit an object in motion, and how many more ways (not fewer) there are to adeptly hit a stationary object compared to having to be “ready” for swift action when a moving object is in play.  Particularly if you insist on golf being called a “sport” and endeavor to rate its swing difficulty relative to other swinging abilities in that category, a golf swing is actually one of the easier skills within that group.

Golfer’s Brain is exhaustively spread to golfers by supporting roles, including but not limited to swing teachers and clubfitters.  For whatever reason(s), these “professionals” are frequently infected with an ongoing (and self-imposed) insistence that a golf swing is a difficult activity.  Presumably as a result, these supporting personnel routinely overlook elementary swing and clubfitting concepts they think they know (assuredly most do not at present), having instead an apparent need or desire to jump to more complex theories and practices without proper foundation.  Consequently, some of their “advanced” theories and practices are rather irrational and statistically invalid.  While simple common sense is all that is generally required for developing good resistance to most such doctrines, many people nevertheless adhere to these doctrines very devotedly in almost a cult-like manner.  This is feasibly the most contagious (yet predictable) path for Golfer’s Brain, as virtually all roles in golf seem more vulnerable to believe in and apply unfounded concepts than their equals in other activities.  This observation contributes proof of why many people hold the above beliefs about golfers and golfer support roles.

Even tour level players sometimes exhibit signs of Golfer’s Brain when saying things like it is so critical to get one’s left thumb (right-handed golfer top hand) more to the right of center when gripping a golf club in order to obtain the “proper” wrist hinging action (whatever that is supposed to mean) during the swing, as though this singular detail may add many yards of length to one’s golf shots (it might, albeit temporarily).  Now I am hardly a student of precise physiology regarding human body movement during a golf swing, but I am experienced enough to know that the more active the hands and wrists are during a golf swing, the more and/or earlier the body will regularly engage in twisting around its trunk (decisively cutting off leg drive toward the target as this twisting begins), and the more “straight-legged” and/or “flat-footed” the left leg will be upon the finish of the swing.  Alternately, the less and/or more delayed the activity of the hands, wrists, and resultant upper body rotation during a swing, the longer and stronger the legs will drive toward the target before the lower body begins to rotate (reacting to upper body rotation).  There is little choice in the matter unless you are going to try and force one’s body to perform against nature.  I will continue this discussion next time.