The average handicap of a golfer in the United States is 1 stroke higher today than it was 50 years ago..........higher..........With all of the new technology and all of the information and all of the instruction available, as well as significant advances in the maintenance and condition of golf courses, we are less skilled now as a group than we were half a century ago.
How is this possible? Human beings have demonstrated throughout history that the human body can learn anything that it is physically capable of, and many things that science sais it is not…..so what is going on in the sport of golf? Learning to produce a motion with a golf club that will send a golf ball in the direction of a target is not a particularly difficult thing to do.
If an object such as a pendulum, a weight on a string, or a golf club is allowed to swing without interference, it will always return to the exact place from which it started.....always. Human beings, however, seem to have a propensity for interfering with a golf club's motion (doing more) when in reality what is required is to do less. It is about learning through awareness to add less and less to the motion until we are eventually left with nothing but a swing. Never has the 19th century proverbial phrase "less is more" been more relevant than when playing golf.
With a few exceptions, golf instruction has taken the opposite approach for some time now. It is fragmented, complicated, information-based, mostly theoretical, and often without common sense. In many cases the information violates basic principles and laws of motion that were discovered centuries ago. If it did not work then it will not work today.
Mr. Williams' approach centers around the cornerstones of truth, simplicity, and freedom. These apply both to the physical nature of swinging a golf club and the psychological and emotional aspects of learning and playing the game.
What is meant by truth in this context is the unarguable fact that a movement produced with an implement, such as a golf club, that is built upon sound principles of motion must be successful not only in golf but in any activity. Principles of motion.....laws of geometry and physics.....do not change from one action to another.
Much of the information that we have been bombarded with over the years concerning the golf swing is simply not true, or it may be something that occurs during the swing but is only an effect and not the player's responsibility to be the cause of it. A great deal of the information is more often the point of view of a perceived "authority" that others have accepted as the truth when in reality it is not. The propensity of the human mind to follow this pattern is unfortunately not limited only to golf instruction.
A golf swing should be like thousands of other movements we make every day of our lives. In this case we are producing them with a golf club. If a golf swing were that difficult to learn, why is it that some of the most fundamentally sound and beautiful swings in existence are owned by 4, 5, and 6 year old kids? How difficult can this be to do if a 4 year old can perform it?
A golf swing only takes 1.7 to 1.8 seconds to produce. There are countless books filled with hundreds of thousands of pages of information describing a motion that takes less than two seconds. How much can there be to do in 1.8 seconds? How much information can a 5 year old possibly assimilate and yet they can still swing beautifully? More importantly.......is information really the access to learning a physical skill at all?
It is the experience of Mr. Williams that this is the one thing that virtually every golfer would like more of in their golf games. Freedom from the tension, rigidity, and muscular strain (effort) that can injure the body; wear us out; and produce nothing in the way of results that we had intended. A golf swing can be a completely tension-free and effortless motion, in fact, it is the only manner in which a swinging motion can occur. Physical freedom
The other freedom that human beings want more of is psychological in nature. Freedom from a confused, overloaded, fearful, and incessantly chattering mind. Has anyoneever experienced optimum learning, performance, and enjoyment of anything in this state? Swinging a golf club does not require a single thought.......it does require an intention......but it does not require thought. Conscious thinking during a physical action is the one activity that limits and interferes with our performance more than any other single factor. Psychological freedom
Although there are several, the greatest difference in the approach of Ernest Jones, Manuel de la Torre, David Williams, and a few others as far as the golf swing is concerned is their focus on the appropriate movement of the golf club rather than the movement of individual body parts. Ernest Jones was often quoted as saying, "The trouble with the teaching of golf is that one is taught what a swing produces (body movement) instead of how to produce a swing (club movement)".
It is much more aboutallowing things to occur during the swing than it is about an effort to make them happen. When the extraordinary significance of the target is realized, and the player's intention and attention (awareness) is where it needs to be, on the club's movement and the relationship of that movement to their target, golf can be a very simple and far more enjoyable experience.