Articles | What is Form?

What is Form?

Some golfers try so hard to develop a certain, particular, exact and proper form of swinging. But what is form? Do you think Julius Boros’ form is like Gene Littler’s form; or Littler’s form is like Miller Barber’s form; or Barber’s form is like Ben Hogan’s is like Sam Snead’s or Lee Trevino’s or Jack Nicklaus?

I get pupils who are so worried about form that their minds won’t let their bodies perform efficiently. A student who wants his legs to work like Nicklaus’ tunes me out when I talk to him about swinging his arms freely. Another, who thinks he needs “delayed wrist action,” resists when I ask him to start unhinging at the start of his downswing.

I may hit a shot or two off one foot, just to show the Nicklaus fan that leg action isn’t everything. Or I may show the “late-hit” man how far I can drive the ball by “hitting from the top”, as they say.

“See that?” I’ll ask. ‘That may not be pretty, but it’s effective. That ball is humming’, Baby”.

Teachers are often to blame. Some teach one particular form; they haul out books and photos of great players to prove that this is THE WAY to play—- the perfect form. The shot of a player, near impact, with his wrist still uncocked, is perhaps the most popular photo of all, closely followed by the one of the golfer with club shaft horizontal at the top of his swing.

But you can’t play golf in stop action. The form of one great player, or your impression of it, might be dead wrong for you. So the next time you take a lesson, leave your preconceived ideas about proper form at home.

And if the teacher tells you this is the way to emulate some famous player, ask him just how imitating that player is going to help you improve YOUR contact with the ball.

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