David Owen: The golf swing’s fatal flaws – Brief Article
I discovered the secret of the golf swing the other day. All I have to do is shift my-well, it’s too complicated to explain. But the secret enables me to hit the ball high and straight and long.
Actually, discovering the secret of the golf swing is an old thing with me: I do it every year about this time. On some chilly afternoon toward the end of November, I try something new out of desperation, and the change solves all my problems, immediately.
Then the first snow falls, and our course shuts down. I’m not sad that the season has ended, though. Knowing that I know the secret of the golf swing keeps my hopes alive all winter long. I practice the secret in front of the mirror. I think about it when I’m supposed to be working. I dream about all the terrific golf I’m going to play as soon as my club reopens.
When spring finally arrives, I take my secret to the course and, to the astonishment of my friends, it works beautifully. “I’ve never seen you hit the ball better,” my buddy Ray or Art or Tony says. That lasts for nine or 10 holes. Then the secret stops working, and I turn back into my old crummy self.
It happens every spring. Why?
Well, I’ve been watching reruns of “E.R.” and reading some medical journals online, and I’ve developed a hypothesis. Here it is: The bodies of average golfers cannot tolerate extended periods of good golf.
Good golf swings are like viruses, I’ve determined. When we hit good shots, our immune systems identify our swings as deadly intruders and mobilize to destroy them. Antibodies rush into our bloodstreams, our swing thoughts become confused, and our ability to metabolize alcohol is undermined.
Some good golf swings survive longer than others. That’s because some swings, like some pathogens, are difficult for our bodies to eradicate. (Practice swings, layup shots and provisional balls don’t seem to be affected at all.) But our bodies always prevail, especially when our new swings have been weakened by competition, pressed bets, or better players.
Why aren’t good players affected by any of this? They are, to some degree. But good players by definition are players whose immune systems have been compromised. That’s good for their golf games, but it leaves them dangerously vulnerable to other illnesses, such as braggadocio, hubris and tumescent self-esteem.
Don’t envy good players. Feel sorry for them. They are very, very sick.
COPYRIGHT 1999 New York Times Company Magazine Group, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group