Chi-Power Golf Part 20 - What’s the real secret to golfing success?
chi-power GOLF is the world’s foremost complementary approach to playing better golf. Here, Jayne Storey discusses the importance of mastering the fundamentals which will add a new dimension to your practice routine and significantly improve your playing abilities
The answer to the question posed in the headline this issue is not particularly exciting, I’m afraid, but it is the basis for the success Jack Nicklaus had with his game and it’s a philosophy echoed in the Eastern approach to excellence upon which chi-power GOLF is based. Consider this saying from the martial arts:
“I don’t fear the man who knows 10,000 punches, But the man who’s practiced one punch 10,000 times”.
This attitude is so often compromised or overlooked in our race to succeed. Yet, in order to excel at golf (or anything else for that matter) you must master the fundamentals of the game, which Nicklaus re-visited at the start of each season with his coach Jack Grout.
And what are these fundamentals?
Well, for a start Nicklaus’s coach would tell him how to hold the golf club properly, with the correct finger position and pressure on the shaft. He would then tell him how to stand at address with the perfect posture and alignment – and he would remind him of the importance of a slow, smooth one-piece take-away.
And this happened even when Nicklaus was king of the entire golfing world – he reviewed his game fundamentals each and every year, knowing they were vital to the continuing mastery of his game.
You’ll notice that none of these fundamentals has anything to do with the swing and everything to do with the right preparation – each and every time Nicklaus set-up to the ball. And that’s the key to his superiority over other players, who didn’t spend as much time working on their own game fundamentals.
So often in our modern world, we want things so quickly that we overlook the most important issues, which is where chi-power GOLF can help, by providing you with some step-by-step fundamentals for a more athletic yet relaxed approach to the set-up, which echoes Nicklaus’s advice that getting it right before you swing will lead to better ball-striking and longer, more powerful shots off the tee.
Again, the Eastern world offers an entire philosophy around this concept with the phrase “Stillness is the master of motion” and in my own Tai Chi practice of the last quarter of a century, I’ve spent as much time standing still getting my alignment right before moving, as I have practising and demonstrating the movements of this ancient art.
Most golfers and even some professionals quickly rush past the fundamentals in a hurry to get to something more exciting – like hitting the golf ball. Jack Nicklaus realised this attitude was a path to misery and felt that his attention to fundamental details was a key differentiation point that few of his contemporaries paid adequate attention to.
He therefore built a basis so strong in theory and practice that it would not and could not be shaken under any circumstances. Some call this mental toughness – others recognise it as sheer mastery. Here are some useful tips to help you improve your own game fundamentals:
This is a phrase from Tai Chi which refers to body alignment and posture which can be clearly seen and therefore adjusted to create the best connection throughout the joints to ultimately deliver the most amount of energy through the ball.
When standing at address ensure you take a few moments to ‘stack’ your joints correctly, meaning that your shoulders match your hips, your hips match your knees and your knees match your ankles. This creates an unbroken thread of energy throughout the body and maximises the energy available from the ground to course though your joints and drive power into the ball.
Any misalignment of the joints negates the amount of potential energy you have available, so check yourself in a mirror at home to make sure your upper-body is correctly positioned over your lowerbody. In this way it will be easier to produce a one-piece take-away and also, when you’re at the top, you can more successfully initiate the start of your down-swing with your feet, driving through with your core and allowing the upper-body to follow or respond to this surge of power, creating the ‘lag’ you see from all the pros on tour.
* Next issue we’ll the discuss the flow-state of optimal performance, helping you connect technique with your inner swing of feeling-awareness, or as coaching legend Michael Hebron once said, ‘getting the inside to move the outside’.